Friday, September 18, 2009


The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn, began in Arkansas in 1970 when three men launched a campaign to help the poor get the basic necessities of life. Since then it has expanded into a national organization with over 400,000 members serving in 1,200 chapters in over 100 cities across the country, with chapters in Argentina, Mexico, Peru, and Canada as well. What do they do in all of those places and cities? The same things they did back in Arkansas in 1970, they advocate for the disadvantaged among us, those who don't have lobbyists in Washington D.C. to speak for them, those who don't contribute to political reelection campaigns, those with the least power. That's why the Republican Party hates Acorn, and those that Acorn represents. They hate them because of this annoying little statement that Thomas Jefferson placed in The Declaration of Independence in 1776, that "All men are created equal," as an argument against the prevailing political system at the time, the divine right of kings, and its implication that even the so called lowest among us have a voice in the way government works, and that voice is most heard by using the right to vote. You might say Acorn is the lobbyist for the nation's poor, and the Republicans don't want the nations poor to be heard, to vote, or even be seen.
These are the crimes that Acorn has perpetrated that has caused the Republicans to yell, stomp, scream, and cry like little babies, calling to cut off federal funds for the organization:
Acorn investigates companies that practice predatory lending practices on those who can least afford it. Not only that, but Acorn has the audacity to push for strict state laws to end such predatory lending. It has helped mortgage holders who are at risk of losing their homes. It advocates for affordable housing by urging the development of housing trusts, like the one I live in, at local, state, and federal levels. It helps homeowners repair their homes, such as in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, where they organized fundraising and organizing drives to ensure that the victims of the storms received assistance and were able to return to the affected area, where they gutted and rebuilt over 1,850 homes with the help of their volunteers, its Housing Services helped more the 2,000 homeowners affected by the hurricane and is an official planner working directly with the city in reconstruction.
Acorn has helped pass living wage legislation, where businesses that work with the government are required to pay their employees enough money that they can pay for the necessities of life, in New York, Chicago, Denver, Oakland, and eleven other cities. Acorn works with schools and teachers unions to increase their funding and for school construction, documenting the need for textbooks and structural repairs, emphasizing smaller classrooms, parent involvement, and credentialed teachers.
But what really pisses the Republicans off, what really musters their ire, and what has caused the current animosity directed toward Acorn, and has since before the last Presidential election, is Acorn's efforts at getting poor people and minorities registered to vote. During the 2008 election Acorn was responsible for getting over 1.3 million voter registration forms in 21 states. That's it! Pure and simple. That is why we're hearing all of this hoopla directed toward this organization, and all of this trumped up controversy. Poor people and minorities tend to vote democratic, and the Republicans don't want that because if these people vote they have a greater chance of losing elections. In other words the Republicans are afraid of the democratic process, and want to control elections by stifling the true voice of those who are rightfully eligible to vote in this country. Hell, I don't blame them! If I were a Republican I wouldn't want them to vote either, because if the majority of eligible voters are actually able to cast ballots, those especially hit hard economically by the policies of the Republicans, they will most likely remain out of power.
So what do you do if your the Republican Party? Why you villainize those who make it less likely you will win the election. That's how the Republicans work. They did it with Kerry with the Swift Boaters. They're trying to do it now to Obama with the tea baggers, the birthers, the tenthers, labeling Barack as a socialist, a Muslim, not eligible to be President. Next week they'll probably start calling him an space alien from the planet Tralfamadore.
Now charges have been levied against Acorn concerning voter registration fraud and these current sting videos circulating on You Tube and cable news programs, with Acorn employees being secretly recorded doing unacceptable practices and behavior, causing an uproar with the Republicans, a wave of fake outrage that unfortunately has pressured the controlling Democrats in Congress to play into Republican hands, once again, voting in the House and Senate to cut off over 50 million dollars in federal funding, which ultimately will hurt the Democratic Party in upcoming elections next year.
What I have to say about that is this; yes these tapes are appalling, and yes there are legitimate instances of voter registration fraud. But in any large organization, especially when that organization utilizes large numbers of temporary workers such as in voter registration drives, there are going to be a small percentage of bad apples, which the Republicans are currently taking advantage of. Acorn's senior management has admitted to these errors, has fired those employees responsible, and is conducting internal investigations to correct these problems.
And as far a voter registration fraud, I offer a big SO WHAT?! Any false registrations submitted and excepted won't ever make their way to the polling booth. False registrations do not equal false votes. Besides, Acorn is doing everything it can to correct these problems as well.
What I would like to know is where is the outrage for real transgressors? And there's so many to choose from I hardly know where to start. Where's the outrage for KBR? The no-bid contacts, the shell companies in the Caymens used to avoid taxes, the allegations of human trafficking, the faulty wiring that has electrocuted our own soldiers? Where is the real merited outrage for this despicable corporation? Where's the outrage for Halliburton? More no-bid contracts, more tax havens, over charging the Pentagon billions of dollars, war profiteering, serving our soldiers sewage for water. Where's the outrage? Or Blackwater? The Republicans private army, who has blatantly gunned down innocent Iraqi citizens. Where is that outrage?
I only hope our President has more sense than the Democratic Congress does and vetoes any bill that comes across his desk that would hamper Acorns continued work for the citizens of this nation who cannot stand up for themselves.
We will see.

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