Sunday, September 7, 2008

Public Service and the GOP

There is a really interesting article in the Nation that completely exposes the GOP's ridicule of public service for the hypocrasy that it was.

For the first time in American history, a major political party devoted a substantial portion of its national convention to attacking grassroots organizing. Speaking Wednesday at the Republican National Convention, former New York Governor George Pataki sneered, "[Barack Obama] was a community organizer. What in God's name is a community organizer? I don't even know if that's a job."

Then former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani delivered his own snickering hit job. "He worked as a community organizer. What? Maybe this is the first problem on the résumé," mocked Giuliani." Then he said, "This is not a personal attack. It's a statement of fact. Barack Obama has never led anything. Nothing. Nada."

A few minutes later, in her acceptance speech for the GOP vice presidential nomination, Sarah Palin declared, "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities."

The party of Ronald Reagan was touting government experience over civic engagement.

At a convention whose theme was "service," GOP leaders ridiculed organizing, a vital kind of public service that involves leadership, tough decisions, and taking responsibility for the well-being of people often ignored by government.

Palin, Giuliani and Pataki denigrated not only the tens of thousands of community organizers who help everyday citizens to participate in shaping their society and the millions of Americans who volunteer as community activists but also a long American tradition of collective self-help that goes back to the Boston Tea Party.

Visiting the United States in the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville observed in his Democracy in America, how impressed he was by the outpouring of local voluntary organizations that brought Americans together to solve problems, provide a sense of community and public purpose and tame the hyper-individualism that Tocqueville considered a threat to democracy. In the same speech in which Palin ridiculed Obama's organizing work, she touted her own experiences as a PTA volunteer and "hockey mom"--the very kinds of activities that Tocqueville praised and that community organizers support.

The party of "government sucks, let the private sector do it" evidently doesn't have much use for the private sector actually doing the work that the GOP says it SHOULD be doing. So, community organizers and those doing public service suck...government sucks. Well, which way is it? Can't have it both ways.

And here is the rest of it.

1 comment:

brenda said...

I think anything to do with community work is a respectful job, and what better place to start than in your community. But I guess these big mouth Republicans like Giuliani likes to degrade people who actually cares. Sarah Palin is the same way, if it doesnt benefit them, they want no part of it.