Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Right Attacks Planned Parenthood

When Acorn came under attack by the Right, I underestimated the depth and seriousness of the assault. The videos produced by young, right-wing zealots conveyed the impression (to some audiences) that ACORN was an edgy organization with a fraudulent social agenda whose employees stood ready to assist underworld-types how best to game the system. In truth, ACORN was edgy and hard-charging and and populist.

At the time the videos surfaced, I thought ACORN might get in a mild bit of trouble, but that it would matter little. ACORN, as I thought of it, was an over-the-hill organization with a stale agenda. I may have been right in some respects--that ACORN was tired (and undernourished)--but it turned out that the organization was indeed in deep trouble. And I entirely ignored the possibility that if a group working at the grassroots for affordable housing and a living wage, and against predatory lending, was erased, neither justice nor a movement that believed in justice would be well-served.

Now ACORN is gone. It took less than a year from the time the organization came under fire until it went under. And now, Planned Parenthood is under a similar attack.

When it happened to ACORN, the right did not know it could destroy a center/left organization. It took awhile for most right-wing organizations to recognize the opportunity that was presenting itself. That's not the case this time. The Right knows what is possible. The Right is mobilized. The Right has learned lessons about how to pursue and amplify the attack. The Right knew another attack was coming.

Of course, Planned Parenthood isn't ACORN. Planned Parenthood is a bigger organization with a better foundation, a larger constituency, more resources and more access to resources. All to the good, because Planned Parenthood may be facing a fight for survival here. And if there's still a Left out there, it better show up for this fight.

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