During the Republicans’ wretched convention they launched a foolish attack against Barack Obama’s experience as a community organizer. Response to these ignorant tirades has included reactions from those who have worked their whole lives to help the less advantaged – namely community organizers. Why would the Republicans spend a whole night of their convention attacking ordinary people? With the nation watching, the Republicans mocked, dismissed, and actually laughed out loud at Americans who engage in community service and organizing.
During my Ph.D. program in Rural Sociology I studied community development (organization). During the past two decades I have worked with groups of farmers, citizens and others to organize their efforts to make improvements in environmental quality, economic development, and social justice. These are clearly the types of efforts we need to give a higher priority if we really want to improve our nation and the world. In this article I document the reaction to this attack on community organizers and explain the kinds of important work that they do. It will also be clear why Barack’s experience as a community organizer will be the key to success his of his GRASS ROOTS campaignin November.