It's a far cry from 1968, when I stayed with my grandparents down in Jackson, Minnesota, and watched the whole Republican convention on television, with my grandfather's running commentary about how Nixon was a good guy because he did not grow up rich, like those Kennedys. (My grandfather also said that "Voting for Roosevelt was the worst mistake I ever made." He would say that and then, a little later, tell us that he was going "down to the co-op for a while." When I got older, that confused me.)
It's not that I don't care about politics. Although there are many political viewpoints (and now, even religious viewpoints) in my family, and we have learned to love each other, mostly, anyway.
And it's not that I don't care who becomes President.
But I worry that, for many people, voting has become their only act of civic participation. And of course, a lot of people don't even vote.
So, I was saddened and disturbed by what I heard about the derogatory comments about community organizers last night. One of the things that community organizers do is teach people how to participate effectively in their community, for social change -- for themselves.
I know a little about organizing, as I have received some training from The Gamaliel Foundation. One thing I find refreshing is that organizing challenges both liberal and conservative orthodoxies. It's not about hand-outs, or about rescuing poor people, but about empowering people to act for their own good. And it's not about "rugged individualism" or bootstraps, but about acting together for a common cause.
I found this article by a real live organizer ting inspiring and enlightening.
I'd also like to recommend (at least to Minnesotans) the book The Citizen Solution, by Harry Boyte. It's published by Minnesota Historical Society Press. I may post more about it later.
Finally, as all of the Conventions and all of the speeches fade from our view, and we get back into the pre-election groove of hearing all of the negative advertising, I would like to direct you to this helpful non-partisan truth-o-meter. (yep, they all do it...)
Now, I think I'll head down to the co-op for a little while....