The ACORN story continues to develop, and Big Goverment is the locus of energy and information that threatens serious political and economic damage to the corrupt grassroots organization. As events unfold, there are lessons for movement conservative activists to observe and apply elsewhere.
Enabled by rising new media magnate Andrew Breitbart, movement conservatives James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles exposed firsthand the sordid depths of ACORN’s true nature. Their undercover videos showed organization employees advising a supposed pimp and prostitute how to launder the proceeds of an underage international human sex trafficking ring into a campaign fund for public office. It was all in a day’s work for these “community organizers.”
Caught red-handed, ACORN trotted out a tried, tested (and tired) defense: these were simply individual employees gone bad. Unfortunately, employees gave similar advice to the undercover filmmakers three separate times in three separate cities. After this latest revelation in a long line of scandalous behavior, the Census Bureau cut ties with the organization, and today the Senate voted to restrict housing program grants to the organization.
Now that the spotlight is on the organization, even more unflattering info will come to light as momentum builds and people piece together once disparate bits of information. The Senate amendment to restrict HUD grants to ACORN has yet to become law, and even if it does the group may still carry on its work (it would be interesting to determine what portion of its funding in recent years has come from the government). Nonetheless, the organization has been stunned and perhaps crippled. If things go really right it will go down completely in the months ahead (not counting on that with an Obama “Justice” Department).
This episode illustrates one way to win while not holding official government power. Some of the lessons learned:
1) First, Be Creative. Any intelligent observer knows ACORN is a far left front group for the Democrats. There are a handful of such groups and that’s legitimate in our system of government; however, this one also happened to be corrupt and soulless. O’Keefe and Giles decided to investigate and document the utter moral depravity of this group that, it seems, would do anything to expand its clout for political ends. They knew it had to be something totally shocking that even ACORN supporters could not excuse, something that would be attention-grabbing and broadly objectionable.
2) Next, Get Gutsy. O’Keefe and Giles are a smash hit right now and probably enjoyed creating and carrying out this special project. Nonetheless, it should not be overlooked that what they did was gutsy. They entered an environment probably very different than their own, and which could’ve become very hostile very quickly had their documentary subjects or associates realized what was going on. The duo climbed into the belly of the beast so as to pierce it sharply from the inside. Their may have been a thrill involved but you can bet these activists had to step outside their comfort zone to make this happen.
3) Finally, Be Persistent. Blast away and don’t stop until the target drops. That’s what Andrew Breitbart is doing over at Big Government right now. It’s what the filmmakers did by not calling it quits after just one successful undercover segment. They kept going. Anybody who has filed a complaint or made a phone call to the RNC or a public official’s office about suspicious ACORN activity is also doing their part. This organization has proven itself to be a partisan criminal enterprise (see numerous cases of voter registration fraud, etc.) and must continue to be monitored and reported on. Don’t let up.
The Van Jones incident is another example (Glenn Beck kept up the scrutiny until others joined and still more could not afford to avoid it), and there will be more. When not in power, you have to pick your (grassroots) battles; some of them may best be waged keeping in mind the lessons above.