Collateral Damage

In my neck of the woods, there’s a charitable group that does some good work. They offer testing, counseling, and treatment for people affected by HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. They’ve got signs up, they collect donations from people, businesses, and communities, and in general do nice things for people in bad straits.

Recently, though, they’ve run into a bit of a challenge on the PR front. Their donations have dropped off, they’ve been the target of harassing phone calls and e-mails, and even had their donations from towns threatened. It’s as if all of a sudden a bunch of people decided they didn’t like this “A Community Resource Network” — or, as they like to abbreviate it, ACoRN.

There’s absolutely no connection between this group (based in the Upper Valley of the Connecticut River, a hunk of land running up and down the New Hampshire-Vermont border) and the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now!, the embattled group with extensive (but rapidly vanishing) ties to President Obama and a whole slew of liberal groups and causes.

Oddly enough, they were on a local talk show a little over a year ago, and I managed to call in and ask them if there was any such connection. This was when only a few of us were starting to point and holler about capital-O ACORN, and I could hear the exasperation in the representative’s voice when she gave the denial.

So, while it’s heartening to see capital-O ACORN get its nuts in the vice, let’s be careful to make sure we hit only the right targets. This lowercase-o ACoRN doesn’t deserve to suffer for simply choosing a poor (and, in my name, stupidly vague) name.

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