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Web Letter

About twenty years ago in the windy city of Casper, Wyoming, I was privileged to serve among a group of "community organizers." These men and women served at the local mission, helped in latchkey school programs and we got involved in politics teaching on free enterprise and the Constitution, helped register voters and ran for precinct chairs all for the betterment of our communities. And we did it for free. Our pastors encouraged us to get off our blessed assurances and make a difference in our community. We knew what they preached and it wasn't anti-American nor did they call us white folk "prosperity pimps." My mentor was a hockey mom and I toted my Down Syndrome son around while doing these Random Acts of Kindness.

Meanwhile, in the windy city of Chicago, Barack Obama was doing his own "organizing" for a paltry $12,000 salary (coming from taxpayer subsidies)... for doing what? Serving soup? Mr. Obama has not yet answered to the public about his involvement with the far-left ACORN (Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now), Bill Ayers and those who masquerade as clergy. I guess that is why he has some skewed ideas about what service really is. I am not surprised that in the recent Service Nation Summit he promoted offering college tuition credits to students for community service. Maybe he should use the acronym IDRC for his big idea. It means: I Don't Really Care; I'm Doing it to Reduce my College tuition. Maybe he can enlist the IDRCs from liberal colleges to get more bogus voter registrations, as ACORN has in more than twelve states! I think Barack Obama owes an apology to those of us who have and continue to serve from the heart in communities all over this nation. Worse yet to use his questionable service activities and his 143 days in the US Senate as a qualification for the executive office of President.

Denise Nobs

Hibbing, MN

Sep 14 2008 - 8:35pm

Web Letter

John McCain and his right-wing campaign have reached a new level of hypocrisy and falsehood. They took a person with zero experience and compared her to one of the most talented and intelligent new leaders in the country. They will have you believe that she is more experienced and more capable than Barack Obama. The fact is that there were many more women who were more talented and experienced than Sarah Palin. It is disrespectful to them that she was chosen as VP and they were not. Let’s look at the facts. The Governor of Alaska has a BS in Journalism from the University of Idaho. Barack Obama has a BA in Political Science (specializing in International Relations) from Columbia University and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law, where he graduated magna cum laude. He was also the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. You can’t even begin to make the comparison based on education alone. I don’t know about you, but I want my President to be smarter than me! She is the governor of the biggest-sized state, but in terms of population, Alaska is number forty-seven. Is that your executive experience?

Janoo Naqvi

Durham, NC

Sep 11 2008 - 12:34am

Web Letter

Good overview. As I posted on the "We are all community organizers" group, I wish that Obama would respond by saying that his campaign is an organizing tool to build a movement for fundamental change, as he has said before, rather than as he did: "They're talking about the three years of work I did right out of college as if I'm making the leap from two or three years out of college into the presidency. So, look, I would argue that doing work in the community to try to create jobs, to try to bring people together, to try to rejuvenate communities that have fallen on hard times, to set up job training programs that have been hard hit when the steel plants closed, that's relevant only in understanding where I'm coming from, who I believe in, who I'm fighting for, and why I'm in this race."

Wade Hudson

San Francisco, CA

Sep 9 2008 - 5:43pm

Web Letter

I agree that community activists can be a force for good, and that Republicans shouldn't dismiss them out of hand. However, I do think that Barack Obama's experience in that endeavor has been overhyped by much of the mainstream media. Yes, he brought summer jobs to teenagers and expedited repairs and asbestos removal in South Side Chicago's notorious Altgeld Housing Project. I don't see how this warrants him being treated as if he were the new messiah.

This project still has a serious crime and gang problem. If three and four generations of tenants still live there, this is far from a smashing success. Obama seems to me like more charisma than substance.

Steven Kalka

East Rockaway, NY

Sep 9 2008 - 3:28pm

Web Letter

"But what they didn't understand is that their smug comments weren't simply an attack on Barack Obama but on the entire grassroots chain of change that has, for over 200 years, made America a more democratic and humane country." A more democratic & humane country is precisely what the GOP & its owners do not want. Such a country would punish their gross incompetence & corruption, and regulate their greed.

Certainly not what the GOP wants, as we've seen this past nearly eight years. Nor it would seem what the Congressional Dem leadership is particularly keen on delivering either.

R.H. Weber

Brooklyn, NY

Sep 7 2008 - 9:25am

Web Letter

After hearing Sarah Pain’s acceptance speech and her disdain for community organizers, I have to assume she feels that way about George H.W. Bush, too. If I remember correctly, his program One Thousand Points of Light celebrated community organizers and the programs they develop to address the intractable problems of this nation.

In fact, the program’s website says in its mission: “We are unleashing the power of people to solve problems and build communities. We are generating ideas, telling the story and creating new tools for change-making.”

What does Sarah Palin have against that?

Ginny Welsch

Radio Free Nashville<br />Nashville, TN

Sep 6 2008 - 5:13pm

Web Letter

The Republican speakers really weren't mocking all community organizers. After all, that would mean attacking PTA members or Neighborhood Crime Watch organizers.

No, they were really using code words understood by all of those in the convention hall to mean those "dangerous militant African-Americans" who are forming underground radical groups that are coming to firebomb your peaceful neighborhood.

Those are the "community organizers" they were alluding to and have been using codes to refer to for decades.

Albert H. Johnson

Kirkwood, MO

Sep 6 2008 - 2:16am

Web Letter

There are fewer people in the whole state of Alaska than there are in Chicago or Vermont. Governor of Alaska is like the mayor of a medium city. Twenty months as governor and she sold the jet and fired the head of the state troopers.


Caribou, ME

Sep 5 2008 - 7:48pm

Web Letter

What the GOP fails to realize is that without the people, they--or the Democrats, or any other political party or movement--are nothing. If you're going to denigrate the work of the people you're supposedly representing, fine. Just understand that you're denigrating yourself out of an election.

Zachary Bernstein

Washington, DC

Sep 5 2008 - 7:27pm

Web Letter

When the speakers at the GOP convention were outlining all of the things that government shouldn't be involved in, while at the same time saying that if their taxes were reduced they could donate to the causes they find important, who did they think they would be donating to?

Chris Schaill

Vermont, IL

Sep 5 2008 - 5:03pm

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