Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Problem with Community Organizers as Politicians

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barak Obama touted the honing of his skills as a community organizer for preparing him for the presidency. Raul Grijalva, Arizona's District 7 representative in congress likewise champions his years as a community organizer in Tucson. What is a community organizer? Byron York's research for his blog in 2008 puts it in simple terms:
"Community organizing is most identified with the left-wing Chicago activist Saul Alinsky (1909-72), who pretty much defined the profession. In his classic book, Rules for Radicals, Alinsky wrote that a successful organizer should be “an abrasive agent to rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; to fan latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expressions.” Once such hostilities were “whipped up to a fighting pitch,” Alinsky continued, the organizer steered his group toward confrontation, in the form of picketing, demonstrating, and general hell-raising. At first, the organizer tackled small stuff, like demanding the repair of streetlights in a city park; later, when the group gained confidence, the organizer could take on bigger targets. But at all times, the organizer’s goal was not to lead his people anywhere, but to encourage them to take action on their own behalf."

A better description of both Obama's and Grijalva's background would be hard to find. Both began their political careers fomenting anger among specific classes of people against the establishment; Obama for Blacks in Chicago, Grijalva for Hispanics in Tucson. There is an important role for community organizers in the community. What happens when a community organizer takes on bigger and bigger targets until they gain power over government? They either adjust their thinking (ie Robert Kennedy), or they begin making up enemies to take out their anger against.
In light of the past few days of Obama's attacks on police in Massachusetts, attacking doctors for "unnecessary surgeries," and attacks on Blue Dog Democrats in Congress make much more sense. A community organizer, whose primary weapon is fomenting anger is going to lash out when things do not go his way. Such was the case, according to Congressional leader Chuck Grassley, when Obama discovered that opposition against his debt-doubling health care bill was growing in Congress:
Grassley said. “A Democrat congressman last week told me after a conversation with the president that the president had trouble in the House of Representatives, and it wasn’t going to pass if there weren’t some changes made … and the president says, ‘You’re going to destroy my presidency.’"
This is not presidential, this is not even civil. It harkens to the days of Nixon and political bullying and thirst for power. Expect more of these type of responses when 'Community organizers' turned politicians don't get their way.

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