Jewish World Review June 28, 2004 / 9 Tamuz, 5764

Bernadette Malone

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Consumer Reports

Felons at your door, courtesy of ACT | Coming soon to your front door if you live in one of the swing states this Presidential election year could be a real life felon. That's right: a felon, dispatched by a left-wing organization called "crucial" to John Kerry's Presidential campaign, as the Associated Press puts it.

America Coming Together, or ACT, describes its mission on its Web site: "Knocking on doors and speaking the truth, ACT canvassers are laying the groundwork to defeat George W. Bush and elect Democrats in federal, state and local elections in 2004." And who's doing the knocking? Burglars, forgers, drug dealers, assailants and sex offenders, paid between $8 and $12 an hour, according to the Associated Press' shocking report.

ACT won't say how many felons it has hired to do this canvassing, in which they collect telephone numbers, driver's license numbers, partial Social Security numbers, etc. from unwitting residents of Missouri, Florida, Ohio and other states where the outcome of the presidential election could go either way. And the response from the Kerry campaign? Big whoop. "We're unaware of it and have nothing to do with it," says Kerry spokeswoman Allison Dobson. ACT, according to the AP, is a bastion of Kerry advisers and operatives.

Ninety-two million people are affected because a shady America Online employee allegedly sold their personal email addresses to Internet spammers, and still John Kerry yawns about house visits from felons on behalf of his campaign? Receiving annoying emails in your inbox is one matter; giving your Social Security number to a criminal forgerer, or opening your front door to a convicted sex offender when you're a female living alone — or worse, a child answering the doorbell — is quite another.

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Think about the risk incurred — unknowingly and involuntarily — by ordinary Americans unfortunate enough to be living in the swing states targeted by ACT. Here are felons at your doorstep, perhaps noticing how many locks you have. Whether you have a screen door. Whether there's a dog inside. Whether there's a man of the house. What an opportunity to case the joint that is your house.

We may come into contact every day with felons without knowing it, but one would hope a responsible political organization wouldn't intentionally expose us to risk by sending felons to our homes. At least four felon-employees of ACT have been returned to prison, which is not surprising, since only the most naive among us trust the prison system to rehabilitate inmates.

Think about the irony. In most states, felons are the only adults denied the right to vote, even after they've paid their debt to society by serving time. And yet this is the class of people that ACT is using to encourage citizens to vote on election day, for John Kerry's ticket, that is.

"We believe it's important to give people a second chance," said Mo Elleithee, a spokesman for ACT. Give them a second chance at your own expense, Mo; that's your choice. Employ them in your office, keep a careful eye on them, be mindful of their behavior. It's your right to practice forgiveness. But don't, for heaven's sake, make your social crusade the problem of unsuspecting American citizens opening their front doors to strangers.

No wonder John Kerry offers no condemnation of this program. His liberal ideology refuses to recognize the difference between helping people on an individual, voluntary and charitable basis in situations where there is supervision and accountability, and foisting costs and dangers on an entire group of people, some of whom may be unaware of those costs and dangers and others of whom may have perfectly good reasons for wanting to abstain from the feel-good experiments of liberals like John Kerry and Mo Elleithee.

Comment on JWR contributor Bernadette Malone's column by clicking here.


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10/20/03: And who can blame them?
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09/23/03: ‘K Street’ will reinforce American cynicism
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© 2003, Bernadette Malone