ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is a scandal. This story has become breaking news lately thanks to some recent guerilla journalism. But the problems of ACORN represent a broader, and even more scandalous idea: the conventional acceptance of the left's self-righteous claims to having a monopoly on all politics, policy and lifestyles that are good.
ACORN, if you haven't heard, is a radical organization that devotes itself with laser-like intensity to the maxim that all politics is local. The group supposedly exists to find affordable housing and provide social services for low-income families. But when two undercover, enterprising young people equipped with a hidden camera walked into an ACORN office, posing as an over-the-top pimp and prostitute wanting to establish a brothel dealing in enslaved children from other countries, ACORN employees offered the two advice: how to get on welfare; how to cheat the tax system; how to get housing from the government; and how to hide the criminal profit (a tin in your back yard, natch).
In the wake of the video, the Senate -- with seven notable exceptions -- voted to bar new federal funding for ACORN. But beyond the outrageous seven and the video, this is an opportunity for deeper revelations still.
Federally aided counsel to a pimp and prostitute and pervasive allegations of voter fraud aren't the worst of it. The reaction that has greeted the furor has been the most disturbing facet of the whole sorry affair. There is a place, a time and a need for getting to the bottom of the whys and hows of social pathologies. But that time is not while watching an organization that gets federal funding offer help with the sex trafficking of children on YouTube. And yet that was the default position of some on the left to this scandal.
ACORN's chief executive Bertha Lewis would eventually surrender to the demand for atonement, and issue a statement saying, "We have all been deeply disturbed by what we've seen in some of these videos. I must say, on behalf of ACORN's Board and our Advisory Council, that we will go to whatever lengths necessary to re-establish the public trust." But that was only after being on adamant defense.