48 Hours

Remarkable things are happening within the community of community organizing. The chief organizer for ACORN is taking note:

Lewis said she was ordering a halt of new entrants to the liberal organization’s service programs effective immediately, a retraining of the front-line staff in its nationwide offices within 48 hours and a meeting of an advisory council that includes former Maryland lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and former housing and urban development secretary Henry G. Cisneros no later than Friday to review the system that was “called into question” by the video circulating on YouTube and conservative Web sites.

Before I get into the good stuff, allow me to say that speaking of the “system” as being “called into question” is similar to saying that Saddam Hussein is slightly under the weather these days.

Now, on to the issue at hand. The wording is unclear as to whether the training will be completed within 48 hours or simply begun in 48 hours. I tend to think that she meant done. If she had not, what’s the point in waiting 48 hours, why not just say “Starting immediately . . . “?

Regardless, within 48 hours of her announcement, ACORN will be advising its front-line staff to:

  • Not advocate that people hide money in a can in the back yard.
  • Not proposition anyone who comes looking for help (regardless of purported occupation)
  • Not encourage pimping as a means of paying for college.
  • Not state that younger prostitutes should be enrolled in school to keep up appearances.
  • Not provide encouragement for bringing illegals across a national border.
  • Not recommend that one lie to the government and claim 1/10 of one’s actual earnings.

And these are just a handful of the specific things that the staff will need to know how not to do. Beyond that, we have the big issues such as not judging by appearances and not enabling overtly illegal, felonious, sick, disgusting behavior on the part of ANYONE who drops by to chat a bit.

It would appear as though most of the ACORN staff in the videos were far older than their clients. Their ages may not be indicative of the front-line staff’s ages throughout the organization, so I’ll be careful about making generalizations. However, I would like to say that re-training the staff, if any substantial percentage of them are of the same mind as those we have already seen, would take years of deprogramming–not 48 hours.

Therein lies the big issue. Re-training, as Ms. Lewis is talking about, is going to be little more than gloss. Lipstick on the pig, if you will. And we all know what that does for the pig’s instincts, appetites, and behavior. Now, as humans, we have much greater capacity to change than does the pig. But we’ve got to want it.

Ms. Lewis doesn’t want change. She simply wants all of the noise to go away. Here’s hoping she gets real change instead.