Thursday, September 04, 2008

Community Organizers: another viewpoint

I didn't watch the RNC circus last night... I sensed it would not be a good thing and that my stomach just was not going to take it well, so I opted for some mindless drivel, which was a good move. I managed to sleep well and I don't think I would have had I watched Gov. Palin speechify.

What I've read and surmised from online sources this morning... really scares me.

The quote from Dickens, A Christmas Carol, comes to mind: "Are there no workhouses; are there no prisons?". This was Scrooge's response to "community organizers" seeking donation for the poor.

Last night community organizers were equated with irresponsibility and radicalism by Gov. Palin in her speech.

Working for a faith-based nonprofit that offers (and people really know they can count on us to give them support with dignity) support and aid to individuals and families who are in tough ongoing or temporary financial situations, I consider myself to be a part of what was dismissed by Gov. Palin last night as irresponsible and radical. I worry that our sources of donations will fall not just because of having less disposable income to donate, but because of the truly irresponsible words that Gov. Palin used last night about the work that people like me, do.

I don't know that I am a community organizer per se, but as a parenting support worker I help women and families to connect with resources, as well as offer
practical resources so that kids can have the basics and parents can feel just a little bit of relief, get some contact with peers and not feel so isolated or alienated by their circumstances, whether those circumstances are temporary or ongoing. I feel that this and the grant work I've done, as well as the outreach I've done have been devalued and blown off by the RNC.

And you know...I've been very poor; I've been homeless and pregnant (and married at the time). I've watched my husband struggle to make things work when no one would hire me, a pregnant woman. I've slept in condemned houses, dodging the police who would have arrested us had they caught us sleeping in those houses- it came close a couple times. I've been on food stamps. I've experienced gratefully receiving food baskets for the holidays for our family. I've received the government commodities. We've worked our way through these things to get to where we are now in our middle age and it didn't happen because of a miracle; it happened because folks in the community cared and helped us to get education, training, etc. It also happened because of the union my husband was a member of at the time. We had motivation, yes, but we didn't do it alone.

Those to whom the words and works of Jesus- y'know that community organizer who irritated the heck out of the "Republicans" of his time- were an irritant, also attacked him and feared the strength of his message: "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me." And of course we know how that legend ended, with execution at the hands of those Jesus could have actually helped find their own power to take it back... they chose to free the thief instead of show compassion for the one who cared about them. Fools, but I guess it was only human nature, just as poor and low income folks keep voting for the Republicans.

Knowing that the RNC attacks the strengths of their enemies, I am not surprised by Palin's willingness and enthusiasm for being used to spread her/their mental unease with others' vulnerability, which they mistake for weakness. They've pulled up their idealogical drawbridge to preserve their white privilege and keep the reality of the experience of the drone classes at bay so that they won't trouble their beautiful minds. They've made clear that they use their women- who are only too willing to comply and submit- for personal gain. They see the rest of us as drones and if poverty overtakes us and we become ill and die, well, that is one less mouth to minimally nourish- all the more to keep in their pockets. They don't intend on ever allowing the drawbridge to stay down and for some of us to actually gain access- not even through hard work and education- anymore.

This really is the ACTUAL war on our culture now- it's clear (and I know for many it was clear all along) and it's blatant now. It's blatant class warfare now.

If these unethical, hypocritical people gain the White House again, I am truly frightened now about what they will do. I am not alone. I spoke to my nearly 80-year old mother this AM and her first words to me were about Sara Palin and John McCain. She is very angry, frightened and worried. She wrote a letter to the editor that she will send in probably tomorrow and she knows she may be harrassed and/or shunned because of it and she doesn't care. She's going for broke about this.

I guess I would say now, that I work motivated by my "radical" compassion for others. And I will hold my head up today and go to work, and offer my respectful service to those whose tenuous and difficult positions I am not so removed from that I don't remember walking in those shoes. And I will look up at the wall that is opposite my desk at work at the simple wooden carving of Jesus sitting at the table with hands open toward a couple of folks, offering them bread. I will remember that we are all here to feed one another in the community, however we can, by our gifts, talents, skills and other resources shared with open hands.

If this is supposedly a Christian country as so many like to profess, then the open-hearted, open-minded and open-handed spirit of Christ should be permeating all that we do. But these right-wing people want to promote Jesus as being in "WAR MODE" as I read in one of the now-scrubbed sermons from a church in Wasilla, AK. That outlook twists the point Jesus' life and twists his own words and deeds too, if one believes the Bible; if one is Bible-believing like Sara Palin professes.

I will not forget the intentions of McCain and Palin to spread that idealogical corruption to twist, devalue, dismiss and plant seeds of distrust of the role of "community organizer" and those who walk the walk of helping others. Y'know McCain probably doesn't even believe a word of it, but is willing to do ANYTHING to win.

Today I've had a radical awakening. I will be a community organizer for my candidate and continue that tradition of caring for my country, beginning in my own back yard.
Which brings to mind: "Love your neighbor as yourself".

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