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.