Community Organizers for McCain/Palin!

With all the discussion these last weeks about community organizations, maybe we ought to have a little discussion about what a “community organizer” actually does.

According to Wikipedia, a Community Organizing is

a process by which people are brought together to act in common self-interest or to help others. While organizing describes any activity involving people interacting with one another in a formal manner, much community organizing is in the pursuit of a common agenda. Many groups seek populist goals and the ideal of participatory democracy. Community organizers create social movements by building a base of concerned people, mobilizing these community members to act, and developing leadership from and relationships among the people involved.

Reading that description, I think we can all say that we have all been community organizers at one time. If you belong to a church or have served on the PTA or have helped your community in one way or another, you are a community organizer.

I know because I’ve done my fair share of such activities. I don’t need to go into all the organizations I’ve been involved with or list my resume but I’ll admit, yes, I am and have been a community organizer.

So all this debate about community organizers in my mind, is irrelevant.

What really is important is the results of community organizing. Does it benefit the community? Is it really improving the quality of life for those in the community? And most importantly, in the words of John McCain, is it serving a cause greater than oneself?

The last 24 hours, people on the left have criticized Governor Sarah Palin for her comments about community organizing. They’ve even tried to define Jesus Christ as a community organizer and Pontius Pilate as a governor. To us religious right conservatives, Jesus Christ is actually the Son of God. (but that’s another discussion.)

The truth is that we are all community organizers – at least we are called to be so as Americans. In essence, Governor Sarah Palin did not demean community organizers. She already is one!

Her point was missed entirely by the liberals. The issue really is that being a community organizer alone does not qualify one to be President of the United States.

But here’s another dimension to this debate. The same Jesus Christ who liberals claim was a community organizer said:

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. (Matthew 7:16-18)

So I ask then what did the community organizer, Barack Obama really do?

According to the liberal Boston Globe,

As a state senator, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee coauthored an Illinois law creating a new pool of tax credits for developers. As a US senator, he pressed for increased federal subsidies. And as a presidential candidate, he has campaigned on a promise to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that could give developers an estimated $500 million a year.

But a Globe review found that thousands of apartments across Chicago that had been built with local, state, and federal subsidies – including several hundred in Obama’s former district – deteriorated so completely that they were no longer habitable.

Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama’s close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama’s constituents suffered. Tenants lost their homes; surrounding neighborhoods were blighted.

Barack Obama was a community organizer and if we apply the standardof the parable in Matthew, the tree he planted did not bear good fruit.

If anyone has given the title of community organizer a bad name, it is Barack Obama.

To those liberals who will dispute my assertion,  I ask you to listen to a man whose words rang clear tonight:

If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier. Because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.

Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.



  1. “The last 24 hours, people on the left have criticized Governor Sarah Palin for her comments about community organizing.”

    So much so that they cynically cancelled a photo op with Palin and McCain and Habitat for Humanity, lest they be accused of hypocrisy.

    “They’ve even tried to define Jesus Christ as a community organizer and Pontius Pilate as a governor. To us religious right conservatives, Jesus Christ is actually the Son of God. (but that’s another discussion.)”


  2. And here’s the quote:

    “PALIN: And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities.”

    “DSW: I know because I’ve done my fair share of such activities. I don’t need to go into all the organizations I’ve been involved with or list my resume but I’ll admit, yes, I am and have been a community organizer.”

    Pff. Whatever. You didn’t have any responsibilities, so stop trying to pretend you did.*

    * – Using the Palin model.

  3. Who pays the salary of a “community organizer”?

  4. Ann,

    I think it’s the same people who pay the salary of a governor.

  5. Klute,

    My point in all this is that being a community organizer is irrelevant to running for president. Everyone in the country should be volunteering and working to improve their community.

    What really matters is what you achieve and accomplish as that community organizer.

    In the case of Barack Obama, those results have been dismal.

  6. DSW,

    But that wasn’t Palin’s point, was it? I mean, not until the campaign scrambled to provide “nuance” to Palin’s words. Unfortunately, Obama’s ad team is so hamfisted they won’t show the good works done by “community organizers”, from the Salvation Army to Habitat for Humanity superimposing her words on top of it – showing how out of touch (or cravenly political) Palin is.

    I happen to agree with you on the whole everyone should volunteer their time – something both candidates (to their credit) have fronted.

    As for the Obama/housing issue, I’ll read the article. At first blush, I would say it’s probably not Obama’s fault. I mentored a poet who lives in a Habitat for Humanity home with his family. It’s a pretty crime-ridden neighborhood, unsafe really (some kid staggered up to the poet’s door and died after a drive-by, for example) – is that Carter’s fault?

  7. DSW: Why would you use an article about Senator Obama’s legislation as a State Senator to denigrate his work as a Community Organizer? There’s no logic there.

    Since you won’t actually look at his organizing career:

    “As a community organizer in the Altgeld Gardens public housing project in the mid-1980s, Obama, then 23, quickly emerged as a tireless and pragmatic advocate for the community—traits that characterize the kind of president he says he wants to be. “His work as a community organizer was really a defining moment in his life, not just his career,” his wife, Michelle, told U.S. News. It helped him decide “how he would impact the world”—assisting people in defining their mutual interests and working together to improve their lives.”

    Here’s the link to the full piece:

  8. It’s sad to see intelligent adults argue points which are in fact irrelevant. It was obvious that Palin was criticizing Senator Obama’s work. Why not focus on the positive strengths that each of us possess instead of always going into attack mode. America must get over the bickering and criticism. Senator Obama is a great candidate for President whom I support 200%. Hats off to all who volunteer and/or community organize!! Without people like Senator Obama – what would we do. The better canidate, the one who has more positive energy and who knows that it is not about him but us, will prevail. The negatives just wont work.

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