Random Thoughts Blog

By Rinku Sen Sep 05, 2008

I’m overstimulated and can’t focus, so here are some disconnected (or maybe not) thoughts. Last night, my mother, the former Republican, asked me with that touch of mad in her voice, “did you hear how sarcastically Giuliani talked about community organizing at the Convention?” The more time that passes, the cooler my mother gets, and it was great to see her defending my former career with such passion. Yes, that would be the career she hadn’t wanted me to have. But now, she alone among her first generation immigrant friends knew just what those Republicans were talking about. When I was about to go join the Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program way back in 1987, my dad told me “this isn’t what people do for their jobs, it’s a volunteer thing.” Obama’s personal history has brought organizing into the collective consciousness, and the Republicans have made it something to fight over in public, not just when you’re a young person trying to leave home. The Accidental American launched and we had our first book reading at the 82nd Street Barnes and Noble on Broadway. My assistant Megan turned out 3 young men with whom she’d been fighting over immigration for months. Naturally, I was more persuasive to them than she was, mostly because I have some gray hair and they don’t know me. Give the book to someone you haven’t been able to convince and see what happens. Finally, last week, my friend who lives in Denver repeated an exchange with her 4-year-old son. Boy: Obama’s black, right? Mom: Yes, and…? Boy: But they don’t beat him up. Even a four year old knows that if you’re black, it’s rare that someone isn’t looking to beat you up. We have a lot of work to do.