ACORN back in review
As many of you have already heard, ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) was the community organizing group that was forced to dismantle, due to lack of funds for legal services, in defending the organization against close to 50 state, federal, and local investigations, but worst of all, the ‘Defund ACORN’ Act passed by Congress, and signed into law by President Obama.
The Defund ACORN Act was deemed an unconstitutional “Bill of Attainder.”
Because of this erroneous act by Congress, ACORN was deemed ‘guilty’ without being convicted of any wrongdoing.
I’m sure many of you are saying, “What about the ACORN video by James O’Keefe with prostitution scandal?” It was later discovered that the videotape was heavily edited; in other words, O’Keefe’s sole purpose was to bring down ACORN with scandal, even if it was all based on a lie!! This is NOT ethical journalism nor should O’Keefe hypocritically speak about truth when he exemplified none in his feeble and bogus attempt to be an investigative reporter.
Here is an excerpt from a Huffington Post article by John Atlas:
“ACORN would have survived the presidential election attacks, but for videotapes of two right wing activists who entered ten of ACORN’s offices, allegedly posing as a pimp and a prostitute. The activists with the help of conservative entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart claimed that the videos proved that ACORN’s staff was incompetent and the group was promoting prostitution.”
“The videos were shown on Fox News and cable around the clock for weeks. Every media outlet picked up the story. When the mainstream media, including the New York Times, verified the Fox tapes as factual, most of ACORN’s financial and political supporters abandoned the group. Congress defunded ACORN, further stigmatizing the group. By the end of 2009, every independent investigation–including the Congressional Research Service, a former Massachusetts Attorney General, a Brooklyn District Attorney and the California Attorney General, exonerated ACORN from all wrong-doing. It turned out the videos were doctored, edited, and misleading. Over 45 federal, state, and local investigations cleared ACORN of wrongdoing, but two investigations–one in Pennsylvania and one in Nevada– continued to drain ACORN’s resources.”
“But the damage to ACORN was done — the group had to dismantle, though Bertha Lewis, ACORN’s CEO, hoped to have a small Washington D.C. presence to give voice to the poor.”
ACORN was also accused of engaging in voter fraud during the 2008 Presidential Election, but once again they were cleared of any intentional voter fraud by federal officials.
Here is a second excerpt from John Atlas’s article:
“In less than two years after ACORN’s former ally Barack Obama was elected President, it was subject to a ferocious attack by the right wing of the Republican Party, its allies, and Fox News. In an attempt to defeat Obama, John McCain, during the third presidential debate, defamed ACORN claiming the group, whom he linked to Obama, is “now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country.”
“For months preceding the 2008 presidential debates, Republican Party and right-wing echo politicians, bloggers, columnists, editorial writers, and TV and radio talk-show hosts led an orchestrated campaign blaming ACORN for widespread voter fraud. During the week of October 6-15, CNN aired 54 segments mentioning allegations that ACORN submitted allegedly false or duplicate voter-registration applications in a number of states.”
“Not one U.S. attorney would find any evidence of an illegal vote cast and counted because of registration by ACORN and those working for it. Using TV ads, accusations by local Republican officials, and the national debate, the McCain campaign took the opportunity to link its opponent to what it called an outlaw leftist group.”
ACORN was an organization that started in the 1970′s, and was arguably considered the nations most effective anti-poverty organization. So why was ACORN the target of this political, right-wing, destruction mission? Because they dared to help minorities, the elderly, and the poor learn about their rights, guide them in the right directions to get the help they needed in regards to housing, housing rights, civil liberties, education, and the lists goes on. They taught many people the importance of becoming a part of the electoral and political process, to uplift the poor rather than disregard them as the dregs of society.
So regardless of the smears and lies disseminated by right-wing think tanks and conservative pundits, this was undoubtedly a political ‘hatchet job’ executed by the right-wing, and unfortunately completed by Congress, including democrats, and President Obama.
When will the democrats have enough balls not to give a damn what the right-wing says about them? Or to actually stand for their principles, rather than capitulate and concede like a bunch of cowering punks? If democrats would sign onto a bill that is unconstitutional, what are we to believe they are going to do when real policy challenges come their way? Particularly because they forfeited the challenge or violated the rights of ACORN, by defunding it unconstitutionally, for political expediency?
The destruction of ACORN was an injustice that many of us don’t seem to understand. Their are many implications about society in this: Political, social, class, and yes, racial. Despite the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment, which avows equal protections under the law, the ugly head of Jim Crow still exists, even in 2012…
To read John Atlas’s full article, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-atlas/acorn-closes-its-last-doo_b_778047.html
Here is a video from Democracy Now! with an interview with John Atlas about the ACORN injustice: