Ironically, the theme of the Republican Convention was “service”. Yet these same Republicans demonstrated no reservation when denigrating those who organize and aid communities disenfranchised from political power. A leader as “public servant” is always oxymoronic for enablers of the wealthy. Perhaps “private servant” is a more appropriate term for they who mock grassroots involvement among the least of our citizens. Perhaps service is but a naive term; a concept useful in duping middle Americans while an elite and wealthy class grabs more power. You think?

Republicans would prefer aid to poor unfortunate souls, to be enacted only in a religious frame for political effect. Top down authority, as practiced by churches, assures little upward mobility among impoverished individuals. If community workers gain power through their efforts, it is necessary they apprehend the sense of mastery their new found privilege requires; that, or risk being ostracized and constrained. It would never do to have an “uppity” advocate for the least of us, preaching populist notions of equality and civil rights. This is what the governing class means by separation of church and state. Stop your whining about life’s situation; your reward will be in the next life.

Smug attacks against community service offered by numerous Republican speakers in St. Paul at their convention must not go unanswered. Grassroots organizers have a long history defending democracy and advocating for the power poor in America. While upsetting the status quo, community organization offers an humane alternative to a ruthless business model which only rewards success at the expense of the less fortunate among ourselves.

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