Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin ridiculed Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama and community organizers in her speech Wednesday evening.
Reacting to legitimate questions that her political experience as the part-time Mayor in a town of only 5700 people had not equipped her to be a heart-beat away from the Presidency, she said: " I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities."
The response, which brought down the Republican house, is instructive.
First, contrary to McCain's repeated assertions last night that he would "end partisan rancor," Palin's response was a highly personal and partisan attack on Barack Obama and his experience as a community organizer.
It doesn't take a great memory to recall that George W. Bush also ran as a "uniter, not a divider. But once elected he became one of the most divisive and partisan Presidents in U.S. history.
The country is more polarized politically today than at any time in recent memory. Economic inequality, the divide between the very richest and the bottom 95 or even 99% is greater, wider, than at any time since immediately before the Great Depression.
The Republican Party and its current candidates may talk bipartisanship, but they do not walk the walk!
Sarah "Barracuda" Palin ridiculed community organizers.
Has she forgotten the contributions of Tom Paine, the Knights of Labor, the abolitionists and suffragettes, the Congress for Industrial Organization (CIO) labor organizers, the the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the United Farm Workers and more?
These organizations and the social movements they gave leadership to were not led by small town mayors, who more often than not opposed them, but by organizers like Tom Paine, Daniel Shay, A. Phillip Randolph, Nathaniel Bacon, Martin Luther King Jr. (the "non-partisan" John McCain opposed making his birthday a national holiday), Cesar Chavez, Saul Alinsky, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Paul Robeson, Father Groppi, Mother Jones, Sojourner Truth, David Walker, Jane Adams, Big Bill Haywood, and John L. Lewis.
Organizers and the social movements they led are responsible for expanding the democratic rights of citizenship from a small, elite group of wealthy white male property owners to almost all of Americans. They are responsible for winning the right to vote, regardless of race or gender, the elimination of slavery and child labor, Social Security and Medicare (opposed by the Republican Party of McCain and Palin), the Occupational Health and Safety Act, unemployment compensation, workers compensation, environmental protection, unions, and much, much more.
These social movements not only created this country, but have ensured that it live up to its promise that "all men (and women) are created equal and are endowed by their creator with the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
McCain and Palin, whose party has been in power for the last eight years and most of the last forty, have tried to position themselves as agents of change. But in attacking the real agents of change and progress, they have tipped their hand. They will do anything to protect the power of the status quo.
McCain, Palin and their party have adopted the rhetoric of change and reform because they know the American people are dissatisfied with the state of the country after eight years of Republican Party leadership.
Don't be fooled by their rhetoric. Change is nothing more than a marketing tool to McCain and Palin.
If you liked the last eight years, you will love a McCain, Palin administration!