The Future Question on ACORN’s Demise

ACORN Citizen Wealth Community Organizing

7b8a2c81fbNew Orleans In the host of commentary on the announcement by ACORN’s national management that the organization is closing its doors tomorrow, there have been two voices that have stood out particularly in my mind, because they ask the critical question about the future for the low and moderate income members and constituency that was ACORN’s mission and core.

One was in today’s Houston Chronicle editorial where after coming down “in the middle” on much of the recent pimp/prostitute sting, the editorialist sums up this way:

“Meanwhile, what concerns us most is that ACORN’s advocacy for the poor will be orphaned by the demise of the organization.

For most of its 40 years, ACORN has performed admirably in the trenches – downtrodden neighborhoods across the land whose residents fight daily with the stresses of poverty.  As of last week universal health care is a step closer to reality.  But who will take up ACORN’s cudgel in the struggle for a livable minimum wage? And affordable housing? And decent neighborhood schools? And access to fair home loans? And on and on. The work is still important.  And there is still much to be done.  Who will step up to do it?” [link]

The nail is hit on the head there and the sound should ring across the land until it is heard and the call is answered.

Steve Cobble, an old friend and comrade dating back to shared time in Arkansas, expressed the question another way in a piece he sent me called, “Thank you, ACORN, perhaps as a rueful reminder or warning in the Huffington Post after the announcement:

Today, I just want to say thank you to ACORN, for all the great work you did on behalf of poor people over the past 4 decades.

Thanks, Wade, Maude, Steve, Bertha, Zach, Carolyn, and so many more of you who worked harder than you had to, made less than you could have, and did more than any other group to make sure voices of the dispossessed were sometimes included in public policy.

Thanks for registering so many voters, even though almost all the people you helped elect turned against you on the basis of a videotaped lie, a Swift Boat drive-by shooting, just another FOX fake hit piece.

Thanks for helping Barack Obama back when he was just an ex-organizer.  Thanks for helping Jesse Jackson twice.  Thanks for helping start the Working Families Party.

Thanks for fighting for the homes of poor people, for living wages for working people, for campaign finance reform and voting reforms for all of us.  Thanks for doing the gritty, door-to-door work that a field operation requires, and that often gets ignored.  We’ll miss you.  Actually, we’re gonna find out in November that we’ll miss you a lot. [link]

A vacuum has to be filled.