Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Do Your Lawyers Know about Your Blog?"

     More than a dozen people have asked me this question, some of them more than once.
     "I know that it's a criminal offense to threaten or defame public officials," I answer.  "Have you read something in the blog posts that could be interpreted as a threat?"
     "No," they always reply.
     "Then why are you asking me?"
     "I just wonder if your lawyers have anything to say about your blog..." is the innocuous response, accompanied by raised eyebrows and pursed lips.
     So, what do they mean?  Is there another threat to my safety and well-being, aside from the looming investigation?  Are FBI agents and government prosecutors watching my moves, looking for a reason to step up their attack on my free American life?
     The days of feeling protected by our public officials are over.  How does it feel, for instance, for you to get a letter from the IRS?  Or to be pulled over by a state trooper?  Or to be audited by Medicare?  Do you feel as though you're being safeguarded by a ministry of intelligent authorities looking out for your best interests, keeping the world safe from attackers and defrauders so that you can live a calm, productive life?  Are the individuals in our public agencies concerned about protecting our rights?  Are they giving us information, helping us understand how best to meet our responsibility to society in exchange for the blessing of being American?  Or are they looking for glory, or publicity, or ways to fund their own paychecks via bonuses for proving that they can nail criminals, like me?
     I don't know how to answer these questions from the vantage point of my current life as someone under secret scrutiny by government agents who have been vested (by me? by the rest of us?) with authority to indict me and put me in prison.
     To whom are they answerable?  Isn't it us--whose taxes pay their salaries?  Does anyone know?  I wonder if I might not have paid enough attention in my high school civics class.  Did I elect the judge who told the FBI agents they didn't have to open the affidavits or otherwise explain to me why they raided my office and bank accounts?  Or did I elect the person who appointed the judge?   Was my vote somehow responsible for legislation that gave the government unprecedented power to attack its citizens without requiring sufficient cause?  Or was the legislation never formally approved, the door shut in its face...but its key elements let slide into law a year later like slime passing under the door sweep, behind which a witch's brew is always bubbling with gooey, unpalatable statutes?
     I believe I remember something like "innocent until proven guilty"--maybe it was taken out of context when I learned it?  I must have misunderstood.  In my case the punishment has preceded everything, even allegations.  I've asked my lawyers about this, and they say they don't know what to tell me.  The country has changed, apparently.  The laws have changed.
     Do my lawyers know about my blog?  
     I sent them the link a month ago, but haven't heard from either one.  I am not willing to ask them to approve every entry--think of the cost!  (I've noticed that lawyers can be slow readers.)  I refuse to be told to be quiet, which is what I expect some people would advise me to do--lay low like a possum, play dead, see if the predator will finally slink away.  Can I tell my little story or must I "shush" while the grownups decide what to do? 
     Is this America or not?  Are we free?  Are we allowed to speak?

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