10/11/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Give Community Organizers the Credit They Deserve

A politician who calls himself the agent of real change and then denigrates his opponent as a community organizer is like someone who owns five houses spitting on the carpenters and plumbers and electricians who built them.

Those were clearly racist jabs at urban America, the core of Obama's and the Democratic Party's base.

But what do you expect from a counterfeit campaign with a roster of lobbyist top advisors and a long-serving Senator who says he will bring real "change to Washington."

Perhaps they didn't count on Obama wearing those attacks on his community organizer background as a badge of honor, as any good organizer would. It's already stirring up more support and, who knows, could help his GOTV efforts come election day.

After all, it is community organizers who make REAL change -- change from the grassroots -- happen.
People who protect our basic rights, who hold crooked cops and politicians accountable, who built neighborhood watch groups, who keep our schools safe and drug-free, and are responsible for basic labor protections and other things most of us take for granted -- like the weekend.

People like Chicago's Jane Addams and Shel Trapp, people like Cesar Chavez and Lois Gibbs and those union organizers and environmental justice activists, and the organizers of protests at the School of the Americas. People like Dorothy Day and Fannie Lou Hamer and Miles Horton of the Highlander Center and those nameless neighborhood doorknockers who toil for low wages at the edges of the struggle for economic justice. Those who have organized groups like ACORN and Jobs With Justice and the Interfaith Worker Justice center and the National Organizers Alliance.

Historically, so many of the great patriots were organizers -- people like Ben Franklin (who created the first volunteer fire department in America in Philadelphia and helped organized the Continental Congress) and that insurgent Sam Adams and George Washington. People like MLK, Gandhi and Susan B. Anthony.

And the one organizer that ALL right-wing Republicans cite -- Jesus Christ -- who organized the disciples, and turned out the days-traders and commodities speculators from the temple.

Insulting community organizers is to insult everyone and anyone picked up a picket sign or spoken up for justice.

I guess that tells us what side Palin and company are on.