Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Remember why Obama moved to Illinois?

He had just graduated from Columbia University and was looking for a job as a community organizer and a tiny-budget organization on the Southeast Side funded by some neighborhood churches was the only group that wrote him back.

Maybe we should be donating to some more community organizations to fund community organizers so we'll get the nation's best and brightest to move here.

Some overworked do-gooder living in the shadow of empty steel mills in the 10th Ward in the 1980s took the time to answer a letter from some guy with a funny name from New York City and offer him a job, for almost no pay, organizing residents to demand justice. And some parish leaders decided to kick in their funds to pay for some skinny guy to move to Chicago and. . . organize. They couldn't have had much money to spare. All the good steel mill jobs were leaving. Enough far-sighted people decided to invest their funds into a community organizer, and so Barack Obama moved to Chicago, twenty-some years ago.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dude, you are just too busy pushing your Obama t-shirts on people who don't want them. Why are you profiteering off Obama's name?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps its becasue Obama was Dan's professor. But most likely it is becasue Obama is a guy who could have sold out and gone to work for the richest most powerful interests in the world, as most Harvard Law review types do. He couls have been rich and powerful and gone to washington in the names of the corporate interests that dominate our culture and economy. Instead, the guy chose to organize the poor and underrepresented. Those exploited groups without the means or organization to make their voice heard. It is incredibly noble. And Dan doesnt profit off of anyone. The guy was intimately involved in Obama's campaign and has a vested interest in his success. So suck it.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to take this opportunity to declare how much Republicans suck: they suck a lot. From Bush's B.S. pro-corporate "tort reform," as if the profiteering insurance and health care industries are not the ones to blame for the sky-rocketing health care costs in our country. Drug compnaies, HMOs and insurance companies have scapegoated lawyers to defray scrutiny of their own shady practices. And Frist's declaration that he is going to attempt to change Senate rules to get around a fillibuster of a judicial apointee. I mean the Republicans were the first to filibuster nomoninees during the CLinto era. Their hypocrisy is incredible. Republicans suck. They ar deceptive and evil and manipulate people.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Thanks Anonymous The Second (LK?). I'm proud to have distributed (at a loss, actually) dozens and dozens of Obama blue T-shirts. When there's a candidate you support, one way to support her is to make up materials promoting the candidate by yourself, and not depend on the over-worked, under-staffed campaign to do everything for you.

Phocion said...

Yeah Anon, don't pick on DJW. Although I must admit Dan's t-shirt deal was hilarious; you didn't get Dean, but you did get Obama. And I'm sure Dan won't get kicked out of Navy Pier again for wearing an Obama shirt.

There's no doubt that community action and community organizing is vital. But did Obama do it for the noble reasons you cite? Or was his motive pure, raw ambition? He chose Illinois, but plenty of states could have used his skills, perhaps even more (Mississippi comes to mind). That he chose Illinois, especially in light of where he sits now, shows he has tremendous political judgment. It doesn't necessarily speak to his altruism, though.

I respect that DJW worked on the campaign of someone he believes in, but let's not see everything Sen. Obama's done through rose colored glasses.

Anonymous said...

"intimately involved"??? That is a joke. Peripherally perhaps.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

I was intimately involved -- just like anyone who spent a lot of time convincing friends, family and strangers to vote for Barack. There are tens of thousands of people who are intimately involved in successful campaigns, and very few of them who meet with the candidate to plan strategy. Your comment shows this odd culture of deference to the official campaign -- as if someone is only peripherally involved in a campaign if they don't draw a paycheck from the campaign. I think we all tend to put way too much emphasis on what campaign staffers do or do not do instead of getting to work on our own influencing the hundreds of people we come into regular contact with and asking them to vote for the best candidates. It's like all these people complain that they were *willing* to volunteer for John Kerry or the Democratic Party or whatever, but no one called them up. Don't wait for an invitation. Go to work! Talk to everyone you know! Make sure they vote for the right person. And that way, you'll be intimately involved with the campaign.