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Since listening to Governor Sarah Palin's and Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's Wednesday night speeches, I have been thinking a lot about heroes and community organizers.

Giuliani -- for those of you who missed it -- referred to McCain as a "hero" and to Obama as "Nada".  Very nice, Rudy...just the kind of insightful statements that will help move this country forward.

Palin said, "Our nominee for President is a true profile in courage, and people like that ARE HARD TO COME BY."  Really Governor Palin? I grew up on military bases and I was surrounded by heroes, true "profiles in courage".  They just didn't talk about it all the time. (It's what warriors do, and are still doing from the youngest enlisted man or woman to the highest-ranking officer.)  Like McCain's father, my father was also an Admiral, a fact I have never found reason to mention publicly until now.  Why?  Because though I was very proud of my father, it was his accomplishment, not mine. Unlike John McCain, it is not on MY resume. And my paternal grandmother was a of those (snicker snicker) community organizers about whom you and Rudy Giuliani are so condescending.

September 05, 2008 at 08:34 PM
Yes, the mudslinging, sarcasm is deplorable. I despise it from both camps. In response to your comments... Community organizers are not politicians and, in fact, do not desire to be politicians. Their responsibilities are tied to a specific group of people and desire to push about social change...politicians have to answer to a broad base of constituents and see that a diverse group of people have their needs met and make sure the government does not disintegrate, resulting in public chaos. Much of a community planner's social beliefs will need to be compromised to succeed in the "political world." See the following article: Are you claiming Obama to be the MLK, Jr. of the day? His community planning efforts vastly failed (with the exception of housing reform and it still hasn't maintained change). He gave up on community planning out of disillusionment. (See the above article link) Jesus Christ publicly claimed, many times, that He was the Son of God...and there's this thing called His Resurrection and defeating death...please do not define him as a Community Planner. John McCain's heroism is not only due to the fact that he served in the military, but that he was imprisoned in a POW camp, was brutally beaten on a daily basis, stood strong for the USA and his fellow soldiers, did not let the enemy beat him down into submission, and he did not give up like most of us might do. Not to say that today's military personnel would not serve in the same way, but to completely disregard the 5 year sacrifice that he made in the service of his country, under extremely hostile circumstances, is insulting to him and all that serve. I believe that a hero in that sense of the word hero would be hard to come by...not every serving military person is currently undergoing the harsh imprisonment that McCain endured. I think he earned the right to tell his story as much as he wants to.

September 05, 2008 at 10:38 PM
Krista - I don't think Jesus would mind being called a community organizer at all, from his own words I think he would find it a humble and appropriate description. As for McCain's POW years - they were a sacrifice, a heroic stance and worthy of real admiration. But they also have very little to do with the Presidency. John Kerry's service seemed not to be held in much regard by your camp during the last election. Duke Cunningham was one of the Navy's greatest Aces - a hero - and not fit to run a PTA meeting as it turns out. Strongman hero worship has its place I suppose, just not in the Oval Office. Chris

Matthew C. Scallon
September 06, 2008 at 04:46 AM
GOP criticism angers some community organizers So much for being the party of religious conservatives, since so many of them are part of community organizations.

Matthew C. Scallon
September 06, 2008 at 04:50 AM
Some local reactions from local community (& Republican) organizers: Below are the statements from Bishop Dixon and Rabbi Pesner. “As a life-long Republican, the comments I heard last night about community organizing crossed the line. It is one thing to question someone’s experience, another to demean the work of millions of hard working Americans who take time to get involved in their communities. When people come together in my church hall to improve our community, they’re building the Kingdom of God in San Diego. We see the fruits of community organizing in safer streets, new parks, and new affordable housing. It’s the spirit of democracy for people to have a say and we need more of it,” said Bishop Roy Dixon, prelate of the Southern California 4th Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ, member of the San Diego Organizing Project and former board chair of PICO National Network. “Community organizing is a calling, not a punch line. Across the country, cities and states are improving health care access, bettering their schools, and building affordable housing. There are plenty of mayors who are supporting these efforts – but let us be clear: the energy is coming from members of churches, mosques, synagogues, neighborhood groups and parent-teacher organizations who are learning how to make real change. Community organizers are teaching them how.” Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director, Just Congregations, Union for Reform Judaism, which represents 1.5 million Jews in 900 congregations.

September 06, 2008 at 11:35 AM
Hi Chris, I respectfully disagree about Jesus not minding being called a community organizer...but that's a religious conversation to be had at another time. And for the record, I have nothing against community organizers. I'm glad my point came across that McCain's time as a POW is admirable and does qualify him as a reputable hero. And I actually agree with you, just because you have served in the military doesn't automatically qualify you to be President and lead our great Nation. I'm not advocating hero worship, but having military experience can't hurt when you are the Commander-in-Chief.

September 06, 2008 at 03:07 PM
First, Candace - I don't think I' have ever seen such a distortion of reality before quite to the level you've gone. Knowing heroes and being around them does not make you one. John McCain's experience in Vietnam was real and it was his - for 5 and 1/2 yrs, and unlike John Kerry the people that served with McCain all lauded his courage, integrity, and service. You refer to your father’s military background often in your blogs, but instead of referring to it with a sense of patriotism - you seem to use it as political collateral for your views. Quite frankly, your continuous reference to your father’s service and your memories as a child in a military family doesn't give you credibility in it of itself. I've had and have relatives in the military, but that doesn't allow me to use their sacrifice and service to lend credibility to my views. I did however spend 12 yrs in the Army and the Reserves through 2001, so I do believe I have the intellectual capital, credibility, and the right to express my views on the military and the war. The first Amendment guarantees everyone's right to free speech - but that doesn't mean that what you say is valid and/or has any real value. Second, in what must be considered one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard, you deify the role of "community organizer" and strip Jesus Christ of the title of Lord and Savior of the world when you equivocate him with Barck Obama and the list of others you provided. And about your list of community organizers, it's obvious you went to Wikipedia, please take a look at the history tab and see the "surprising" amount of content added from Sep 3rd 2008 and on. If you look at line 43 in the diff section you'll find this helpful little addition "Other famous community organizers include: Jane Addams, César Chávez, Samuel Gompers, Martin Luther King, Jr., John L. Lewis, Ralph Nader, Barack Obama, Pat Robertson, and Paul Wellstone". I mean talk about irony - what are the chances that this and a large amount of other Liberal friendly content was added after Rudy and Sarah delivered their speeches. I almost forgot, Jesus Christ shows up on the 3rd as well at the bottom of the page almost miraculously in the list titled "Community Organizers", I guess this could be considered in some small measure as the second coming…...P.S. Hey Matthew, if you “were” truly a lifelong Republican from the core - Wednesday night would not have changed that, it would have brought you to your feet like it did for me.

Matthew C. Scallon
September 06, 2008 at 03:20 PM
@Bill:"Hey Matthew, if you “were” truly a lifelong Republican from the core - Wednesday night would not have changed that, it would have brought you to your feet like it did for me." There's your problem right there. I'm not a Republican. I'm a pro-life Democrat, web rabbi from Democrats for Life of America. I was quoting Bishop Dixon, a Republican and a man under whom I've had the priviledge of working in the San Diego Organizing Project. I'm not Republican and have never claimed to be a Republican.

September 06, 2008 at 05:52 PM
I apologize for the misrepresentation, I missed the reference - honest mistake. Scratch the P.S. ;-)

Matthew C. Scallon
September 06, 2008 at 07:28 PM
@Bill, apology is accepted. I figured the quotation got skimmed over, so I didn't sweat it.

Virginia Harris from Philadelphia, PA, USA
September 07, 2008 at 06:03 AM
Suffragettes were community organizers. Most people are totally in the dark about HOW the suffragettes won votes for women, and what life was REALLY like for women before they did. Suffragettes were opposed by many women who were what was known as 'anti.' The most influential 'anti' lived in the White House. First Lady Edith Wilson was a wealthy Washington widow who married President Wilson in 1915. Her role in Wilson's decision to jail and torture Alice Paul and hundreds of other suffragettes will never be fully known, but she was outraged that these women picketed her husband's White House. I'd like to share a women's history learning opportunity... "The Privilege of Voting" is a new free e-mail series that follows eight great women from 1912 - 1920 to reveal ALL that happened to set the stage for women to win the vote. It's a real-life soap opera! And it's ALL true! Powerful suffragettes Alice Paul and Emmeline Pankhurst are featured, along with TWO gorgeous presidential mistresses, First Lady Edith Wilson, Edith Wharton, Isadora Duncan and Alice Roosevelt. There are tons of heartache on the rocky road to the ballot box, but in the end, women WIN! Thanks to the suffragettes women have voices and choices! Exciting, sequential episodes are great to read on coffeebreaks, or anytime. Subscribe free at

Alma from San Diego
September 08, 2008 at 10:02 PM
Right on Candace! Thank you so much for making the point of how community organizing have accomplished so much in our nation's history. I tried to get over the Palin quote, the "actual responsibilities" and the "mayor" parts --- ok, ok she was a mayor. But it was a very small town for Pete's sake. The endless loops on the radio and hearing the laughter and enjoyment in the background got to me. Thanks too for pointing out and reminding us of the role of suffragettes. I, like Virginia from PA, am happy to revisit those chapters in our nation's history.

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