Palin/Giuliani et. al. provided a fantastic illustration of how out of touch the Republican Party is with the poor and marginalized in our country. To mock the work of community organizing was was almost funny if it wasn’t so sad. You see the job of a community organizer is to bridge the gap between people who have no voice or power within the political landscape in which they find themselves. Obama’s work on the southside of Chicago was to unify the voices of those out of work and devoid of influence or representation in the halls of the political machine. What Palin and Giuliani smugly mocked and what a room full of middle to upper middle class white people laughed at last night were the efforts of a well-educated upper middle-class leader (Obama) to bring these “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” (see poem below) into the process of our great country. That is nothing to be mocked. That is what brave men and women have fought and died for through out the history of our great country. The American idea is not about how we can live secure on our little “island” detached from all the worries of the world. The American idea is to be a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world. At least that’s what I thought it was supposed to be. Remember the poem on the statue of liberty?
“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”