ACORN is the nation's largest grassroots community organization of low- and moderate-income people, with over 400,000 member families across the country. For thirty years ACORN has fought for safe schools and neighborhoods, healthcare for all, living wage jobs, and decent affordable housing. They have also started some of the more exciting progressive organizing projects, like the Working Families Party.
But to hear Fox tell it, ACORN is responsible for stealing the election for Barack Obama because of minor slips in its successful effort to register hundreds of thousands of voters; bears the blame for causing the mortgage crisis and the Wall Street meltdown just by fighting for fair lending practices, and has perpetrated other unspeakable crimes associated with "community organizers" -- the latest right-wing epithet.
Fox is obsessed (literally according to Media Matters, who reports that the cable news network has mentioned the grassroots organization almost 1,500 times in October, 1,300 more than CNN). But when you find yourself being attacked and distorted by Fox News, there is a good chance that you are doing something right.
On Thursday, Fox News attacked ACORN again -- and indirectly the Working Families Party -- with a particularly odd charge. Take a look:
What was the crime? Fox attacked ACORN and Bertha Lewis, its Chief Organizer, for joining the millions of progressives voting (publicly, no less) for Barack Obama. ACORN is not a c3 non-profit. Quite the opposite -- it has long fought to engage low-income Americans in politics, and its political action committee has long endorsed candidates for president on down to dog catcher in the attempt to hold politicians accountable to working people. In New York they endorsed voting for Barack Obama on the Working Families line -- "Row E." (Click here to see the complete video).
We admit a little pride that ACORN's endorsement seems so threatening to Fox. The Working Families Party has led many of the big battles in New York over the last ten years, from raising the minimum wage to expanding healthcare covering, putting paid family leave on the map, protecting investment in public transportation, and most recently taking on Mayor Bloomberg's extremely undemocratic plan to extend term limits without a public vote.
Voting for Barack Obama on the Working Family line ("Row E") counts the same -- in New York, two parties can endorse the same candidate under a system called "fusion" so that Working Families votes for Barack Obama are added together with Democratic votes for Obama's total.
But a vote for Barack on the Working Families line also sends a powerful message: that you want more than a change of parties in the White House, you want a real progressive change -- healthcare for all, an end to the war in Iraq, an economy that works for everyone, and more.
If the polls are correct, Democrats could see a major sweep into power after Tuesday's votes are counted. For progressives, it could herald a new era in American politics.
Or so we hope. The reality is, Democrats in Congress and the White House -- and right here in New York, the WFP's backyard -- will be under tremendous pressure to play it safe and go back on the very promises that have gotten them this far.
The major issues of our time -- the healthcare crisis, the mortgage crisis, the lack of family-supporting jobs, the need for a green path to energy independence, the heartbreaking loss of life in Iraq -- each one presents huge challenges and calls for bold solutions.
Voting for Obama (and all the candidates for Congress and state legislature) on the Working Families ballot line sends a powerful message: you won't stop fighting for the real change we need, no matter which party holds power.
The irony of Fox's latest ACORN smear of course, is that paying them to run Bertha's video as an ad would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. For a much better understanding of who ACORN and Bertha Lewis really are, The Daily Show provides the essential reporting.
So to the jokers at Fox and Comedy Central, we say thanks, and to everyone else: see you at the polls!
Learn more about voting Working Families.