Shiny and Bright Sarah Palin

On Labor Day I took a break from cleaning my house and decided to take a moment to chill out at my neighborhood park. The park was packed full of families out barbecuing, relaxing in the grass on blankets and blasting radios as their children laughed, ran and played. And there, digging in a trash barrel through the remains of a dozen barbecues was one of the homeless women that lives in my neighborhood. She stood next to a barrel, gnawing on meat bones and licking the remains of some sort of rice dish from a greasy aluminum container.

Two days later, today, my sons started yet another school year, shiny and bright with promise. It was a milestone for my youngest since he began kindergarten today. As I held back tears, thinking about how smart he is, how this is one more step towards his eventual independence, and how I have no doubt that my little boy will do great things in this world, I couldn't help but think about how that homeless woman once had a parent dropping her off at kindergarten too. All shiny and bright with the promise of great things to come.

I think about these things tonight because I watched Sarah Palin's VP acceptance speech. In particular, I watched her deride the experience and work of community organizers. I thought about how, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was, essentially, a community organizer. I thought about how many churches, synagogues, mosques and temples have leaders and members of their congregations that work as community organizers. Or maybe Sarah Palin hasn't heard about Reverend Meeks in Chicago. He's organizing families and calling attention to the unjust disparities in educational funding, but I guess that means nothing in her world.

I think about the numbers of community organizers and activists who have fought for the rights of the homeless, the mentally ill, the disabled, those who've never had or those who had and lost their grasp on that shiny and bright American dream. I think about community organizers who are trying educate people about HIV prevention. And I think about organizers who work for effective and just policing, and those that want to give health care to folks working minimum wage jobs so they don't have to come to work in pain because they can't afford private health insurance.

So many organizers work 80 hour weeks every week for less pay than the roughly $80K a year Sarah Palin earns as governor. Even if they don't give televised speeches, don't tell me those community organizers don't matter. Don't tell me they have no real responsibilities or accomplishments. Don't tell me that the issues and people they're advocating for are irrelevant. And most of all, don't act like what's going on in this country is a matter of who can give the snarkiest speech or utter the meanest, most memorable zinger.

My child's future, the future of this city, this country, this world... it is not a game. Quite frankly, that cleverly worded dig at community organizing made me want to smack Sarah Palin upside her arrogant head and shake her till her glasses crack into 18 million little pieces.

Maybe then she'd be able to remember all the community organizers who worked tirelessly to get women the right to vote.


Anonymous said…
I'm beginning to have the sneaking suspicion that she's an insidious form of evil. Everyone seems to be distracted by the fact that she's reasonably atractive and able to give a speech, and not noticing that she is saying horrible things. Maybe if this whole VP thing doesn't work out she could get a job at Fox.
Liz, her snarky comment about community organizers made me furious.

I'm going to stop since I have nothing civil to say.
Toots McGee said…
Thank you. That was beautiful.

Palin herself stated that her career in government came out of involvement with the PTA. Isn't that in essence, a community organization? The citizenry organizing in efforts to engage the powers that be?

The insidious part of it is that "community organizer" is just another code for "other" or "people not like us", ie the kind of chump who would choose to associate with poor, mentally ill, homeless, etc. The assertion is that there must be something wrong with somebody who is driven to help people instead of accumulating wealth or power.
thailandchani said…
One of the things I realized while listening to her last night (can't even believe I spent five minutes listening to her!) is that she is completely out of touch with anything outside her small sphere. Homeless people and other social issues are simply something she couldn't care less about.

She reminds me of a "type" - and if she gets elected, then that will become pop culture. Mean-spiritedness, snarkiness and a "gossip girl" mentality.

Ugh! It never ceases to disgust me.

Unknown said…

Liz, I'm with Thailandchani...I didn't even watch the speech because I had a feeling she would make me mad.

Thanks for your moving and on-point assessment. I will go home tonight and watch it on the web so I can get mad enough to "smack her" too! LOL!

Your posts are on fire ~ keep them coming! It only takes one little movement to start a charge ;0)
1969 said…

Here is a link so you can fact check the points made in her speech last night.

I am amazed at how the Republicans are touting change and shaking up Washington when THEY HAVE BEEN RUNNING THINGS FOR THE PAST 8 YEARS.

What is their platform? What are the issues? What are their plans to improve the economy? To help send my kids to school? To provide jobs? Tax breaks for working folks?

No plan because it will be another four years of the same policies. McCain is not proposing any out of the box plans. Tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations is what? More of the same failed policies.
Ian Lidster said…
Beautifully stated, Liz, and God love those who give of themselves to their community, rather than those who give of themselves purely for themselves, like Sarah. I have met many like her. They frighten the shit out of me because they represent humanity at its nastiest and most self-seeking level. May it all go wrong for her.
Mamita Umita said…
The comment that was made that Palin was somehow a newer version of Teddy Roosevelt last night made me ill. He was a reformer, fought for new ideas and in the end ended up parting ways with the Republican party. She is a waste of my time, and will do nothing to improve this country, as she has done NOTHING in Alaska.
Anonymous said…
My natural reaction to Sarah Palin was that she's Republican therefore she's not going to help ordinary people, she's going to help the well-off and big business. Having said that, I'm not sure her very brief reference to community organisers was necessarily slagging them off. What she seemed to be saying was that community organising is fine but it's rather different from running a country. Which is a fair point, except that plenty of politicians have come into power with little experience of actually running things - and often done a bloody good job.
Anonymous said…
Nick, she wasn't saying community organizing is fine at all.
1969 said…
She totally belittled community organizers several times throughout the speech.

I know she feels she is representing America's small towns but here in the Big City...the real advocates for change and helping the average American are our community organizers.

They do the day in and day out outreaching to those really in need. They see the problems with bureacracy first hand and understand what we need to do to help people.

I was insulted by her remarks an dfound most of her speech condescending and yes, smug.

She hasn't earned the right to belittle Senator Obama yet.
Shiona said…
Ugh! She didn't keep mentioning community service workers by name but after that statement she didn't have to. Thigs took off from there and her views were apparent. I love how the people on the right are talking about how the media is treating her so horribly. Welcome to the media party. As the election gets closer there's no reason for the media bias to stop. Especially if she keeps up that smug condescending attitude as other commenters mentioned. I swear I'm watching football tonight.
Liz Dwyer said…
It was surreal to watch the crowd cheering so wildly for the divisive and hateful things she was saying. Sadly, I now feel like I understand how Hitler got his start.

The comments about community organizers made me SO furious. If all they have to offer America are some snarky comments about community organizers, it's a sad day indeed.

Toots Mcgee,
THANK YOU! That's exactly what members of a PTA or any school committee/council really do if it's done well. For that matter, Jesus was the best community organizer ever!

Heck, she doesn't understand the historical, cultural significance of community organizing in the history of our current democracy. Boston Tea Party, anybody?

Is McCaain trying to appeal to blue collar union people? Who the heck do they think people who advocate for steel workers really are? Uh, duh, organizers! Her comments were totally geared toward a certain class of people and what they think community organizers look like (not white) and what they think they do (sign up people for welfare). Yeah, that speech was filled to the brim with SO much prejudice-based code language.

SO mean-spirited! I hadn't planned to watch but I decided to at the last minute. I know there are those who are cheering for her and think she's just awesome... and that she's the essence of the woman who can do it all. Our world is such that we HAVE to be unified with common purposes, despite our differences, and this speech, the messages it sends, well, it's mired in the dark ages.

The speech demonstrated an incredibly smug, short-sighted view of the world...and it was just full of blatant lies. Sure, it fired up the Republican base, but I think it's the sort of speech that also gets a lot of people who really care about seeing prosperity for all, not just some, fired up too.

I guess we're supposed to forget that little fact because George Bush didn't show at their convention. They didn't talk about any issues, because they told the media they supposedly hate that issues don't matter to people. I'm not sure what people they're talking too in small town America, but in my small town feeling neighborhood here in LA, there are "For Sale" signs around my neighborhood that say "bank owned". That's an issue that matters.

I've met a few Sarah types as well and that "Backstabbers" song comes to mind. I know there are those who say, "She's running for VP, she has to show she's tough!" but there's a big difference between toughness and cruelty. She demonstrated a real cruel streak last night.

Whoever said such a thing needs to put down the crack pipe because she's no Teddy Roosevelt. AAGH!

I think she was definitely dissing community organizers. But really, everything someone does, whether it's being a mayor or being a member of the Illinois State Legislature for 8 years, it's all different from running a country. Abraham Lincoln had no senate experience and he wasn't a governor and he did alright.

What I want to know is if a candidate has the vision and the skill set to execute that vision. Palin didn't show me vision. She showed me she knows how to give a sarcastic speech

No, she wasn't. Not at all.
Liz Dwyer said…
So ridiculous how the media's the enemy now, when half the folks uncovering her sordid past are BLOGGERS and the National Enquirer! We're not traditional media at all. And besides, you get what you give.
Anonymous said…
As always, this is fabulous. There so much about her that doesn't make any sense. I get confused just thinking about her.

Thanks for articulating that.
Fran said…
This is a brilliant post and I really loved reading it... Thailandchani referred me over here and I am so grateful that she did.

You have written well about something that needs attention.

The whole mean-spirited and cruel edge of this really made me cringe. It is a tragedy and if this pair gets elected, it will be a further tragedy.

There is no hope in their message, just anger, hate and fear.

Which is entirely antithetical to their claim of any kind of Christian or American ethic.
Anonymous said…
Los Angelista,
Which is the better album, Black Celebration, Violator or Speak and Spell? Early stuff vs later stuff.
Anonymous said…
And why is it that every time I watch her play, I just think Venus Williams is the most beautiful woman...
Lisa Johnson said…
It is so scary to me that people are falling for her so called charms. I was so angry I couldn't stop twittering through her whole speech and then I had to write a post today to get it out of my system. I can't even watch McCain tonight.
I have received two lengthy emails about Sarah Palin, written by people who live in Wasilia and have known her all their lives.

Palin cares nothing for anything but her own power, and is so vindictive that everyone within range is afraid of retaliation if they disagree with her. She tried to get the head librarian fired because the woman refused to remove books Palin, a big fan of Creationism, wanted censored. As Mayor of Wasilia, she inherited a city with zero debt and it is now $22 Million in debt, due to her extreme mismanagement. She lowered taxes for oil drilling businesses while raising them for average citizens, taxing even food, borrowed vast sums for a stadium while the city doesn't have decent schools or a sewage treatment plant. The actual running of her small city was turned over to an administrator, so she has no experience at running anything.

McCain is the oldest person ever to run for President. If he is elected, this totally inexperienced and quite vicious person will be literally a heartbeat away from running our country.

It won't be pretty. Obama needs to win not only on his own considerable merit, but because the alternatives are just too scary.
Liz Dwyer said…
There's a lot about her that is truly confusing and I think that confusion is growing because the lies and spin around her are flimsy and sophomoric.

I'm so glad you got referred to me by Thailand Chani. I have been thinking a great deal today about all of the beautiful teachings of Christ and how that speech was not reflective at all of His message. Her words don't reflect the nobility of our Declaration of Independence or our Constitution. Humanity can produce such greatness and move so quickly away from it when our own individualism and ego gets in the way.

LOL! What a question! How can you torture me by making me choose between different elements of greatness? I'll admit, I listen to a lot of stuff in the middle: BC, MFTM and Violater. I've been listening to BC and Ultra at least once a day these days. I tend to think Ultra is one of their most slept on records.

And it's because Venus is fly, talented and stacked, totally unlike these waifs bouncing around Hollywood.

I'm not watching McCain either. I find that the things I see and hear increasingly affect me physically. I think watching Sarah Palin and that crowd made me a little ill. I can't do that to myself twice in one week.
Liz Dwyer said…
I can imagine how afraid the folks you know have got to feel. All the drama with her daughter aside, it sounds like she's done some really draconian things. I hope folks can muster the courage to speak out.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for that, Heart. That's pretty sobering information, she sounds like a very nasty bit of work who should be kept well away from any serious position of power.

1969, thanks, I wasn't aware she belittled community organisers several times in her speech - I've only seen excerpts from it. That changes things completely.

And as people say, community organisers do very valuable and essential work, as we in Northern Ireland are well aware!
Anonymous said…
Community organizers are so busy and vital because they do what government fails to do and provides a safety net. It is different from running the country because it is at the boots on the ground level. No very little fluff - just filling in the gaps so fewer folks do not fall through the cracks.

The worse part of the Sarah chronicles is that she is just a distraction to keep folks from asking about the issues. I suspect that this is deliberate. The strategy being divide and conquer - while folks are grousing over the baby mama drama and the scandals - they ignore the issues - don't ask questions and the same old politics get put into place. She was picked so access to the oil in Alaska would be easier - follow the money and it is always all about money.


Jen said…
Liz, I'm way behind on my comments this week. I'm 100% with NYC on this one.

I couldn't even fathom it.

There's a great letter that I'm going to post in a day or so from someone from Ann Arbor who's had the equivalent of Palin's experience, and she lays out why anyone with this level of experience would be supremely unqualified to take on the office of VP.

Fabulous post, poignantly written.
M said…
Hey, I linked to this post on my blog. Hope that's okay. It was SUCH a great piece of writing - and so f'ing true!
Liz Dwyer said…
I think she should be kept away from any sort of powerful position as well. I can't imagine even voting her in as president of the PTA.

I find myself so grateful for all the alternative press/bloggers who are driving the hard questions about her qualifications. And not only did we see a complete blackout on real issues, her speech was a pack of lies. Why was it ok to get up on stage and just blatantly lie about things like building a pipeline, selling planes on Ebay... It's like they've forgotten that, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor," is one of the Ten Commandments! AAGH!

I'm so curious about that letter. It's really

No problem... I don't mind you linking at all. Two days after her speech I am still astounded that there are people saying they thought the speech was great and that she's wonderful. I just don't understand it.
Karen said…
Yes, her mocking and scornful tone was just one of the many, many things wrong with her speech.
Anonymous said…
What a strong, fantastic post about something that makes me so mad I can barely even be coherent. Just found your blog today... glad I did.
Anonymous said…
Palin doesn't care about organizers because all of them are voting for Obama. It was an easy, yet very shameful, way for her tp play to her base. If McCain, God forbid, becomes the next president and dies then this loon will e in charge. I'm more afraid of that than of McCain to tell you the truth...

My Dev started kindergarten last week too. Such an exciting time!
Liz Dwyer said…
One of many is an understatement! There were a lot of lies told and no one is really vocally calling them out.

I'm glad I found me as well! Welcome! I read today that McCain is now up by 10 pts in the polls so I guess Palin's community organizer diss works. It's unbelievable.

I'll bet he is rockin' the house in kindergarten! Congrats! -- And seriously, that scenario of McCain dying and Palin getting in office is just... well... I've been thinking about looking into becoming an "undocumented worker" somewhere else.

Popular Posts