I am writing this as a follow up to yesterday's post, "Rand Paul's Goons Know ~ "Curbing is NOT an Accident!" This post garnered a lot of responses and numerous questions. I started to answer them in the comments section and to direct emails but thought it best that I answer them here to reach more people.
First let me say, I have never been one to have suffered an event – physically – that has ever made me feel like the victim of something prior to this attack. Through the years I have spoken with and advocated for victims of domestic violence and rape. I watched them as they felt shame as though the attack on them was something they provoked or "asked" for.
When this occurred I must admit that I had a minuscule sense of what that is like for these people. I felt almost embarrassed as though it was my fault for not paying more attention, or for not fighting back, or for not getting a better description of who my 2 attackers were. Instead I tried to compensate and remained hidden. I remember at one point my neighbors' daughter stopped by because she was in town and wanted to say hello…and I hid. Why?
Here are some more details about this attack. It happened in Seattle, about 4 blocks from the hotel I was staying in. I was walking with a group of friends at night back to my hotel after being at a gathering where I had discussed the outcome of the 2008 presidential election and a self-published book I had written as a rant titled, "TheoPalinism: The Face of Failed Extremism" which is now out of circulation. (As a product of a rant, it screamed for the help of a professional editor so I no longer have it available. I may post it in the future as an eBook).
I wrote it in 3 weeks in response to the announcement of Sarah Palin as the VP nominee to the McCain ticket. I knew in that moment I had 2 choices. 1) turn off all media, do not read a single periodical and stay away from others who follow politics and current events, and continue with the writing of my book that was fun and humorous titled, "Splintering the Plywood Ceiling: A Woman Carpenter's View from the Inside" (a far more satisfying book to write than my current project); or – 2) clear EVERYTHING off my desk and address just how far we had finally slid off the rails in America with the courtship of Church & State unfolding before us. Clearly, I chose the latter.
Over the years I have had my share of hate and threats from bullies. When I worked as a lobbyist in Alaska on family issues such as child support, custody, welfare reform, domestic violence, and child abandonment/abuse/neglect. Some of these, as you might well imagine, were lightening rods for emotional argument. And back then (the 80s & 90s) as today, it drew the angry and hateful ones out of the bushes. I was threatened, they even called to tell me what my daughter was wearing on the pre-school playground, my home was broken into and files and computer stolen (they did take time to spread my lingerie around as an added bonus) all without a sense of consequence even though during that time my father was the head of the Alaska State Troopers. It is worthy to note that the ground zero for these folks even then was – surprise! – the Mat-Su Valley and Wasilla Area. (And I know there are sane people that live there as well, I have long time friends there…but you know who your neighbors are better than the rest of us).
This is how brazen and ignorant they are. And I use ignorant in the literal sense of the word, which means "to ignore". These people have been convinced that they are entitled to take care of things, that they are the guardians of liberty and freedom – by force if met with disagreement. Therefore they do not have to be held to the same standards as the rest of us misguided citizens, those of us who actually understand that we live in a civil society that is guided under the rule of law.
Here we are a quarter of a century later and I am back in the fray with these same like-minded extremists. But I had no choice other than to jump in the deep end, once again. When Palin was announced I knew instantly that it was to draw the religious vote, especially in light of the fact that McCain had alienated them in 2000 when he called the Religious Right the "agents of intolerance". He didn't choose her…he was handed her, and his body language showed every fiber of resentment toward her throughout the campaign. BUT…it worked…she drew them out alright! And as a bonus…she drew a carnival of extremists from every dark corner of our country, and then embarked on infusing them with an IV drip of never-ending fear and paranoia kool-aid.
I saw it coming like a storm in the distance. I was born in Alaska when it was still a territory and I am only 52. My father was active in the republican party back when it had some respect and integrity. (He no longer is). I watched the missionaries pour into Alaska from the early 60s on…some who were loving Mainline Christians with goodness in their hearts…and then those who were there for their own gains and agendas. I watched the tide of Christian Dominionism sweep over our state, gathering followers whose own faith was fragile enough to buy what they were selling. One of those was my mother when we lived out in Dillingham in 1962.
Why am I sharing all of this? It is because it speaks directly to why I HAD to write "TheoPalinism". I – in an instant! saw the future repercussions of what was about to take place. That we now had a George Bush, Jr. candidate on steroids. Amplified inexperience, amplified low intellect, amplified myopic world view…and the most frightening amplified religious zealotry ready to take us into Armageddon – a Christian Dominionist!
So I wrote my rant in 3 weeks, paid for my own advertising through radio coast to coast and accepted every opportunity to promote my message. I made up business cards with the book cover and added, "Consider This is OUR Wake Up Call!" to it. On the night of my attack, emotions were indisputably at a high in this country. It was post-2008 election and I was unabashedly enjoying that I had titled my book subtitle, "The Face of Failed Extremism" sporting Palin's mug on the cover and that I had released it on October 22nd, 2008 – certain that though things have now built to a frightening crescendo in this country, surely we were not that daft. And I was correct…this time.
In the process of sharing my message with others it brought me to a stop in Seattle where I discussed why I view Palin as not just a screeching voice of extremist ignorance, but that we need to take her seriously. It was a frustrating message in its infancy post-2008 and it continues to be a challenge to get progressives to take this seriously today. Even today I am met with scoffing and dismissals by those on the left, from friends to recognizable progressives such as Ron Reagan, Jr. only a year ago. He wouldn't even pause long enough to discuss the book as he walked by a table I had paid for to set up and promote TheoPalinism during a hosted progressive radio personality forum. He gave me a dismissive gesture and declared, "I'm not even going to discuss Palin…she's irrelevant!" I was jeered and hated by her supporters and followers and am baraged by hate mail and death threats each day.
This type of violence demonstrates how fanatical Palin's fans were from the beginning, and that fanaticism has spread like a virus without an antidote. Clearly, someone(s) did not like me criticizing their Queen (Esther) and they made sure to let me know…in the dark of night and outnumbered. This is the character of these folks who are venomously angry over what they are being fed as attempts to "expunge Christianity from America", to erode their rights, to take away their guns, to restrict their access to health care, to the fact that we have a black president, to whatever FOX and the Christian Dominionist/Corporatist salespeople convince them of.
To conclude this, I have been asked by several people what the outcome was, who these bullies were and so forth. I will tell you that I did call the Seattle Police Department and reported it. Hearing nothing, I called the Detective Division to ask to talk to someone there in light of some leads that I had about a violent Dominionist organization that is openly embraced by a local mega-church and known to engage in early 1900s' style Eastern European-type attacks. Again…I heard nothing.
As I pointed out earlier, I was raised in law enforcement and I cannot think of one officer that I have known over the years that would not have responded to this. It does not speak well of the organization and dedication to serving the community as peace officers in Seattle does it? My father would have gotten up in the middle of the night in the driving snow to respond! I witnessed that.
So the extent of my injuries were the fractured left cheek bone and dental work. In fact, I attended a "meet & greet" in Seattle at a local radio station KPTK a couple months afterwards where I spoke with progressive radio host Thom Hartmann and I gave a quick story to him about what happened because I noticed that he kept looking at my face, black eye and the broken tooth in my mouth…prompting I am certain many questions. Thank god for cosmetic dentists! I include the picture because it is worth a thousand words. It is painful for me to look at, and I am sure it is that way for many of you. But it seems that this point is made with more emphasis when we see the fruits of their acts. I am contrasting it with an image of today.
So this is where all this leaves me today. Still in constant pain in my face. My daughter made a comment recently that I am the one who looks serious. It is uncomfortable to smile…I will give her that…and I love to laugh. Even in the throws of all this insanity I always find humor in each day. You have to or it can ruin your outlook. I mean this seriously…I have spoken with researchers who have burnt out and allowed the dark side of all this to impact their health.
Seeing the video of what happened to Lauren Valle in Kentucky by the Rand Paul campaign worker brought back my experience and prompts me to ask…how many other incidences like mine – that were NOT caught on camera have occurred in these past 2 years? This is why I speak up about it now.
Where does this leave ALL of us? When law enforcement doesn't respond. When the media doesn't value this as a significant news story, and when they do pick it up (as in the Valle attack) her integrity as the victim is questioned and as happens far too often in rape cases…the victim is victimized again. We must demand to be heard. We must create our own awareness about this violence that is condoned by complicity and encouraged irresponsibly by public figures who "lead" this wave of fear and paranoia. "Don't retreat – reload" are call to action words! Words have consequence! And when these words are used to incite violence they are a weapon. It is time we hold people responsible.
Thank you for all your warm comments. And to the several that have actually had the audacity to write me and call me a "tool of propaganda" for the liberal left…that this is just another attack on conservatives? Go away! Really…please…Just go away!
Editor's Note: Leah will be talking about this on our God Discussion Radio Show tonight, Thursday, October 28, 2010.