In the Bowels of Baltimore’s ACORN
The Baltimore adventure with ACORN started off as a silly idea, both absurd and incredible by all accounts. But it stuck, and quickly escalated into a full blown operation with scripts, method acting, undercover gear, scandalous outfits, fast minds, good hearts, plenty of humor and healthy homemade blueberry muffins.
When I pitched the “prostitute goes into ACORN seeking housing” idea to James O’Keefe at the beginning of the summer, I had absolutely no idea how he would respond. He came back with, “Would you be willing to portray the prostitute? And if so, when can you do this?”
Needless to say, the project had officially begun.
An idea conceived on an afternoon jog would soon birth material evidence.
Most people come up with ridiculous ideas, things that graze against societal norms. However, not all are capable of action because not all are comfortable with action. Many lack the desire for truth and justice, most don’t even know to want it. But on occasion, the previous join forces. The right people with the appropriate calling unite against a common enemy, then the sky is the limit and hell is the target. There will be no compromises, only adaptation and infiltration.
The socially unacceptable became our mode of visual operation. When visuals match content, the system will fall.
The staff we dealt with in Baltimore had no problem offering their time to James and me, not because we were two white kids undercover looking for a big story, but because of the mess we claimed to be in and wished to create.
We connected with these people on a level they were comfortable with. We came off as troubled, torn, innovative and devoted individuals who couldn’t skirt the system unless the system helped us along our journey.
Our presence screamed, as James puts it, “unique situation.” And so when we sought council in regards to tax evasion, obtaining a house for use as an underage brothel, the avoidance of an abusive pimp, and establishing illegitimate congressional campaign funds, they were ready and unfazed by the direction our conversation took.
James and I saw the ACORN Housing location in Baltimore as a target--the den of a giant corrupt lion. We wanted to get a reaction and gauge the corruption. We came armed with the things necessary to cause a reaction; we came equipped with the things necessary to capture the reaction. We expected to be successful. We weren’t overly confident but we had tested methods at our disposal and were able to calculate the lines along which the staffers would react. We didn’t go in expecting major results; we also didn’t limit what could happen seated behind closed doors. We went in knowing that if we were meant to succeed, we would. It is not as if we went in carefree and lah-dee-dah. But we were confident in our mission.