Keynote speaker for the For Action Conference in January is James O’Keefe. His job is simple. He hides a camera on himself, walks into hotbeds of corruption, and posts what he finds on YouTube. I love his work, but he has enemies because of it.
I sometimes wonder how he handles the opposition. To tell you the truth, I get somewhat emotional in the middle of the interview when I ask him about this. See, James has done more “action” than most of use can hardly imagine. He brought down corrupt executives in the most highly funded networks like Planned Parenthood, ACORN and NPR. He has uncovered voter fraud that exposed how easy it is to steel votes in America, even catching congressional family members on tape participating in direct fraud.
Currently, O’Keefe is uncovering corruption in the highly funded, supposedly apolitical implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Now three videos into a multi-video investigation, O’Keefe has exposed Obamacare navagators counseling people to evade taxes and lie on applications to receive benefits they don’t legally qualify for. His latest video exposed a political action committee director in a scheme to share private data of Obamacare recipients for political gain.
What James exposes is unethical and oftentimes illegal. He and his organization, Project Veritas, deserve support. Shamefully, he gets the exact opposite, even from those who you’d think would be supportive.
About halfway through the video, I ask James how he deals with his opposition. I even get emotional, because I’ve dealt with opposition myself.
Opposition is discouraging. I sometimes get depressed over the little opposition I get from people, but I haven’t dealt with a tenth of what James has. In his bestseller Breakthrough: Our Guerilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy, James tells of his unlawful house arrest for a crime he didn’t commit, his numerous libel suits where he spends time in court clearing his name (and he wins these cases time and time again), and his bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed venture to Washington where he anticipates support from political leaders. (He got the exact opposite.)
Does this hit home for you? It will if you are trying to make a difference in the world. Here’s where this hits home for me: I lost a significant donor in the For Action Conference just because James was our keynote speaker. My ministry is small with very little support from outside donors, so the pulling of any support hurts. Ultimately, it limits the good work that I am able to do and restricts the work of “training minds for action” that I seem to be working desperately to do.
I couldn’t feel more strongly about the message James will be sharing with the young adults at the For Action Conference. His resolve to do what’s right regardless of reputation (he touches on this in the interview, explaining how people fear their reputation more than they fear death). We need more of this resolve today. At only 29, the work James O’Keefe has done deserves a Pulitzer and a box office documentary. It takes bravery and boldness, and I stand resolved to support him.
I hope you do, too. Here’s what he’ll be sharing at the For Action Conference:
Change the World Through Cinema Verité by James O’Keefe
James O’Keefe tells his own true story of how he and his fellow guerrillas subverted and out-maneuvered a corrupt and complacent media, survived harrowing legal challenges, and shook up Washington. By using dozens of tiny cameras, creativity and courage and manpower, O’Keefe managed to break through a cultural and political firewall and reshape public opinion by showing things as they really are.
Looks awesome, doesn’t it? Check out the other speech summaries here. You’ll want to join us in January. The For Action Conference brings the idea of “training minds for action” (1 Peter 1:13) to a whole new level. You can support it by attending. You’ll want to be there:
January 2-4, 2014
Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs