"Any group that says, 'I'm young, I'm Democratic, and I'm a socialist,' is all right with me" - ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis
McCarthyism? Jim Crow? Segregation? Japanese internment?
Child's play. ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis says the times people are living in now will "dwarf" all those stains on America's history. And she points to the Tea Party movement -- or "bowel movement," in her words -- as a harbinger of the persecution to come.
"They are coming. And they are coming after you," the embattled head of ACORN said during a talk last month to the Young Democratic Socialists, the youth branch of the Democratic Socialists, the U.S. branch of the Socialist International.
During the address, Lewis praised the group's members for calling themselves socialists, and warned that undefined forces are plotting their doom.
"Any group that says, 'I'm young, I'm Democratic, and I'm a socialist,' is all right with me. You know that's no light thing to do -- to actually say, I'm a socialist -- because you guys know right now we are living in a time which is going to dwarf the McCarthy era. It is going to dwarf the internment during World War II. We are right now in a time that is going to dwarf the era of Jim Crow and segregation," Lewis said.
Lewis went on to explain that she wasn't exaggerating -- just look at the Tea Parties, she reasoned.
"This is not rhetoric or hyperbole -- this is real," Lewis said. "This rise of this Tea Party so-called movement -- bowel movement in my estimation -- and this blatant uncovering and ripping off the mask of racism."
She urged the members to get as active as they possibly can to "build this institution."
The comments come as ACORN, once a massive, multi-million-dollar community advocacy group, is coming apart at the seams. The group has been beset by a tidal wave of bad publicity over the past year and attempts by the federal government to revoke taxpayer funding.
She told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the group is "on life support" -- shortly before a federal appeals court temporarily blocked a judge's ruling that it was unconstitutional for Congress to block funding to the group.
U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon has ruled twice that the congressional cutoff was unconstitutional, prompting the Obama administration to notify agency heads of the decision while it seeks an appeal.
But the court ruling this week grants a stay on the reversal until full arguments on the issue can be heard during the summer.
The group has long dealt with controversy over charges of embezzlement and voter registration fraud, but the tipping point came last year when undercover videos at local ACORN offices showed employees appearing to offer tax advice to a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute.