Community organizers are . . . ?

CNN has picked up the gauntlet thrown down by Sarah Palin last night.  This morning, pundits on CNN are talking about the work of community organizers.

The description these pundits are giving of community organizers sounds to me like the description of social workers.  I’ve always thought of the two as distinctly different.  Am I mistaken?  Or are the job descriptions being purposely blurred to widen the scope of who should feel victimized by Palin’s comments?

Sarah Palin quipped that being a small-town mayor was sort of like being a community organizer, except that a mayor has real responsibilities.

Social workers absolutely were not included in the punch line.  Social workers often help people with special needs, and Palin has a child with special needs.  She promised families with special needs that if the Republican Presidential ticket is elected, they’d have an advocate in the White House in the person of Sarah Palin.

Social workers often serve as case managers that help disadvantaged people do many things, like, figure out how to navigate through household budget shortfalls, obtain re-training for displaced workers, address chronic medical issues, or assist with job searches.

This morning, the pundits were describing community organizers in the same terms.  My own assumptions, which may be wrong, were that community organizers often work for non-profits that have a specified mission, a defined scope, and that they try to cobble together advocacy groups within that scope so that lobbying local and state governments for the issues within that scope becomes more effective because it adds voices from the community to the voices at the non-profit, thus swelling the ranks of those calling for government action.

I welcome input.  Feel free to enlighten me.

Giuliani, Palin, stars of the RNC

I’m glad C-Span exists.  It’s so wonderful to hear the speeches of the conventions without the pundits talking over them all.  Unlike the DNC, where few non-prime time speeches were noteworthy, I’ve really enjoyed all the speeches of the RNC, even the early ones delivered (for two days running) by U.S. Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota.

Of course, the first night of the RNC was cut short and pointed attention toward Hurricane Gustav.

The second night non-primetime speeches were about service.  These were speeches that were truly American, very much human, and not at all partisan.  Many of the speeches on service brought tears to my eyes.  I wish all Americans had a chance to hear those speeches.  There really wasn’t much partisanship in evidence until primetime, when former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, Fred Thompson, took the stage.   Thompson did a good job, in contrasting the Democrat Presidential ticket with the Republican Presidential ticket, but better speeches were to come.

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee all stirred the convention crowds with their speeches.

But the keynote speech by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was magnificent.  I was cheering line after line after line.  Giuliani struck the right note time after time after time.  His speech, to me, seemed exactly right.

Sarah Palin’s speech wasn’t as steeped in criticism of Obama’s candidacy as Giuliani’s, but Palin clearly took ownership of the spotlight.  Her speech also scolded the media, and we’ll see how that challenge unfolds, as CNN and MSNBC lost no time at all in picking up the gauntlet.  We know sports events can get ugly when the referees take sides, and this election could get uglier, as some in the media were signaling that they were taking off the black-and-white-striped referee shirts and putting on player uniforms getting ready to take to the court themselves in order to beat Palin.

If the American people get the opportunity to view the Palin speech without commentary, it’ll resonate.  The media, I predict, is going to run interference with the Palin message, and it remains to be seen whether the American people can see through the smoke and mirrors.

Clearly, though, Giuliani and Palin were masterful.