Friday, May 29, 2009

Code Pink Community - an example Obama should recognize

We arrived in are in Al Arish late yesterday afternoon. In a few hours we’ll heading for the border at Rafah. The news from the other delegations is good, and we’re optimistic we will be in Gaza by this afternoon.

So far it’s been a fascinating opportunity to meet some really outstanding people. The group has people from 18 states and 8 or 9 different countries. What’s was amazing in our first day together, the drive from Cairo to here, is the effort to organize all the details of this delegation.

As I read the press release about Obama’s failure to consider visiting Gaza to see the damage, I was struck by the irony of how this is really a world class example of community organizing. The planning of everything from meals to transportation and accommodations, the purchase of supplies, including the playground equipment was no small effort. That’s without the obvious added complications of organizing a trip for people from 10 countries and 18 states to go from Cairo to Gaza .

It’s work that Obama should be proudly willing to acknowledge Code Pink during his speech in Cairo next week. It’s this kind of cooperation on behalf of others that’s his early public life was all about. It’s been part of his message since the start of his campaign two years ago. How could he not publicly thank Medea Benjamin, Ann Wright, Tighe Barry, Gail Murphy and Pam Rasmussen? It would an act of political courage and a signal of real change.

What he thinks and what he’s willing and capable of saying define two separate worlds. The political gamesmanship and behind the scenes maneuvering of his stage crew couldn’t possible permit him to recognize Code Pink’s passionate work on the Gaza crisis. Maybe it’s because this is personal to me now, but if he is silent about it as I expect it’ll feel like he’s publicly betraying his own roots.

That’s politics, people say, as if it’s excusing our leaders from having to act in the interest of human rights. Politics as we allow them and attention to philosophies of life don’t mix well. It’s why people like Martin Luther King Jr. never entered that sphere of serving the public.

1 comment:

Rae said...

Thanks for posting your updates Rich! Eager to hear more. And love the points on Obama and community organizing.

by Rich in Juneau