Meredith Turney

The standard for achieving shock value these days has reached an alarming level. A jaded, cynical, technologically sophisticated populous is inundated with images, behavior and language that just a generation ago would have been considered disgusting and prurient by any community’s standards. But even amidst this tide of immorality, most Americans still retain their innate sense of right and wrong.

Arguing with Idiots By Glenn Beck

That’s why videos like the ones released last week exposing ACORN’s vast corruption can still shock the average American. In the undercover videos, two young writers for Andrew Breitbart’s web site Big Government, James O’Keefe, an “activist filmmaker,” and Hannah Giles, pose as a pimp and a prostitute, respectively, and seek counsel from ACORN employees in Baltimore for government assistance in purchasing a home to be used as a brothel.

But the housing assistance meeting quickly devolved into a shocking lesson on tax evasion, operating prostitution rings and concealing sex trafficking. If the subject weren’t so serious, the videos could pass as a Saturday Night Live skit. When filling out the proper tax paperwork, the ACORN employee creatively and euphemistically refers to prostitution as a “performance art.” Another employee helpfully instructs her guests on how to avoid or escape a vindictive former pimp.

The most horrifying part of the videos is when an employee learns the pimp and prostitute intend to traffic a dozen minor El Salvadoran girls into Baltimore to work as prostitutes. Without batting an eye, the ACORN employees admonish the sex traffickers to make sure the girls keep their mouths shut—and even suggests the sex slaves be claimed as dependents for tax evasion purposes.

Such a scenario seems so outlandish and absurd that no reasonable, law-abiding person would tolerate, let alone encourage, such blatantly evil behavior. In fact, that was the goal of O’Keefe’s undercover operation.

“Instead of railing against their radicalism, it is best to bring out this type of radicalism,” explained O’Keefe in a blog. “Hannah Giles and I took advantage of ACORN’s regard for thug criminality by posing the most ridiculous criminal scenario we could think of and seeing if they would comply–which they did without hesitation.”

That is the most stunning aspect of the ACORN exposé: the utter callousness of the employees towards the blatantly criminal plans presented to them. O’Keefe noted to FOX News, “I was prepared for them to call the police, throw me out of the office and be hostile. Without hesitation, they helped me every way they could with evading taxes and setting me up with a brothel, with getting around federal tax laws — doing everything they could to help us. I was completely shocked.”

Most people would have immediately called law enforcement, but obviously we aren’t dealing with “most people” when it comes to these ACORN employees. These employees willingly, with a wink and nudge, gleefully offered advice on how to disobey laws, informing others on how to prevent government detection of heinous crimes of moral turpitude. They expressed to shame for their complicit actions. But to have shame, one must have a conscience. It’s obvious these ACORN employees’ share a seared conscience, no longer compelled to moral behavior simply because it is right or good.

When a human has a seared conscience, incapable of feeling sympathy or compassion, ignoring even a hint of compunction, they become dangerous to those around them—especially the most vulnerable. Although they may not personally engage in violent or despicable acts, they stand by idly, enabling those who do commit atrocities.

Set aside the counsel on tax evasion and hiding prostitution from authorities. These ACORN employees thought they were aiding and abetting unapologetic sex traffickers. Human trafficking is at historic highs. More people are enslaved today than throughout all of history. There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world right now; many of them underage girls brutalized in the sex slave trade. Forget voter registration fraud and the host of other alleged ACORN criminal behavior; there is nothing more despicable than aiding and abetting the repulsive sex trade.

At least ACORN’s leaders had the public relations savvy to fire the employees featured in the undercover videos; the response from law enforcement is just has alarming as the employees’ behavior. Instead of calling for an immediate investigation, the Maryland Attorney General’s office, in a Saul Alinsky attack-the-messenger tactic, assailed the manner in which the video was shot. “Upon review by this office, the video appears to be incomplete,” said the statement. “In addition, the audio portion could possibly have been obtained in violation of Maryland Law.” Talk about missing the forest for the trees. Does the Attorney General’s office not realize that the bigger issue here is the blatant crimes encouraged within the video? ACORN’s corrupt ties run deep.

Creative and courageous young people like James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, or Planned Parenthood bane Lila Rose, should be applauded for their undercover work in exposing these evil organizations by thinking outside the box. They are the intrepid investigative journalists doing the jobs that the 60 Minutes crew won’t.

If you were one of those shocked and appalled by the ACORN videos, then you are thankfully still capable of feeling shame. For where they felt no shame, we did.

Meredith Turney

Meredith Turney is a conservative political commentator, writer and new media consultant.More of her work can be found at