Saturday, September 06, 2008

community organizing

St Vincent de Paul, community organizer.

Okay, I'm going to lay off politics soon. But since I'm still steaming about Giuliani and Palin's disrespect towards community organizers, I can't help passing on this Joe Klein article (hat tip to Kevin). Klein refers to this press release, from a group called Catholics Democrats:

Catholic Democrats is expressing surprise and shock that Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's acceptance speech tonight mocked her opponent's work in the 1980s for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. She belittled Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's experience as a community organizer in Catholic parishes on the South Side of Chicago, work he undertook instead of pursuing a lucrative career on Wall Street. In her acceptance speech, Ms. Palin said, "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities." Community organizing is at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching to end poverty and promote social justice.
Klein comments:

So here is what Giuliani and Palin didn't know: Obama was working for a group of churches that were concerned about their parishioners, many of whom had been laid off when the steel mills closed on the south side of Chicago. They hired Obama to help those stunned people recover and get the services they needed--job training, help with housing and so forth--from the local government. It was, dare I say it, the Lord's work--the sort of mission Jesus preached (as opposed to the war in Iraq, which Palin described as a "task from God.")

This is what Palin and Giuliani were mocking. They were making fun of a young man's decision "to serve a cause greater than himself," in the words of John McCain. They were, therefore, mocking one of their candidate's favorite messages. Obama served the poor for three years, then went to law school. To describe this service--the first thing he did out of college, the sort of service every college-educated American should perform, in some form or other--as anything other than noble is cheap and tawdry and cynical in the extreme.

Perhaps La Pasionaria of the Northern Slope didn't know this when she read the words they gave her. But Giuliani--a profoundly lapsed Catholic, who must have met more than a few religious folk toiling in the inner cities--should have known. ("I don't even know what that is," he sneered.") What a shameful performance.

9 comments:

Jack said...

Liam, I know you are going to hate this, but the one issue catholic voters disgust me. "Social justice"---to this point the church is saying "to hell with it", there's is only one issue. My wife has been very active for years in catholic social justice groups but our bishop's almost open endorsement of McCain is saving us gas. Jack

Jeff said...

Excellent posts, Liam. I nearly dropped my teeth when the would-be President of Florida Rudy Giuliani threw in his shot against community organizers, and was amazed to hear Palin's speechwriter pile on. Great red meat for the all stout white dittoheads and bottle-blondes at the convention, I'm sure, but a little jarring to the rest of us. Nice passages you lifted there from the CDs.

Liam said...

Thanks, Jeff. I wish more Catholics knew about this. The work that Catholic organizations do is very dear to Catholics of all ideological stripes, and those that are warming to the Palin/McCain ticket should know about this.

crystal said...

There's a post about this at America magazine's blog today. Interesting that it's by a Brit :) - Jesus was a community organizer, Pilate a governor

Liam said...

Crystal,
That's a good article. I just sent it to the pastor of my parish.

cowboyangel said...

Someone needs to tell Bill Donohoe that the Republicans are ripping on Catholic groups!

Really, why doesn't he bring up issues like this?

Liam said...

Because Bill Donahue is a semi-literate neanderthal partisan hack, perhaps?

cowboyangel said...

Good article, btw. Someone in the Obama camp should be making use of it.

I guess you are by posting it.

Anonymous said...

How dare you hijack MY saints and shit all over them. CREEP.