It was mid-July and Sophie was standing in front of the window fan in her third-floor walk up. It didn’t work anymore, but it provided a barrier to get fresh air since she only had storm windows and no screens. The city was alive in a way she had never remembered it. When she was growing up, Albany was a big city, but it wasn’t New York. Now it was four times the size of the five boroughs.
When hell broke loose everyone headed north and there was no unoccupied land in upstate NY. As farmland was neglected, people started settling into RV & tent cities that reached out to the horizon. There wasn’t one halfway liveable apartment left vacant and all of the houses took on new roles as modern day longhouses when extended families that found each other and stayed together.
Sophie remembered trying frantically to get ahold of her parents and her sister to no avail. She could still hear the beeps & the robotic operator’s voice, “The person you are trying to reach is not available.” The phone lines cut off right after the fifth time she had tried. The only thing Sophie could think of was to make sure she was stocked up on necessities and stay put. If they were alive, her family would find her in the same apartment she had been living in for 5 years. That was 2 years ago.
As a strong advocate of gender equality and women’s rights, I have taken a particular interest in Reality Winner’s plight. I am one of many supporters of Reality and not only have I spoken to other advocates, but I’ve also done some independent research on different aspects of her case in order to understand more. Not quite shocking in the current political times, but the more I learn, the more I am appalled.
I’ve written about Reality’s treatment, and why we should be paying attention. I’ve written about how mainstream media continues to ignore her case, even after reporting on her initial arrest. And I’ve written about how we need to be talking to our government officials and candidates running for office in the upcoming elections about closing the gaps in whistleblower protection laws, and about the use of the Espionage Act against whistleblowers. It would seem that with a case of this magnitude, more people would be paying attention. But due to lack of media coverage, with the exception of various shout outs from big names such as actress Rosie O’Donnell, political Twitter personality Brian Krassentien, whistleblower attorney and Expose Facts founder Jesselyn Radack, and Thomas Drake, Reality and her family mainly gain supporters one tweet at a time, one Facebook post at a time, and one protest march at a time.
Just recently, a billboard appeared in Georgia, advocating for Reality. Many of her supporters thought this could be a turning point in main stream coverage because Magistrate Epps and Judge Hall weren’t happy with the billboard. Supporters took this chance to spotlight Reality’s silencing as her defense team was even being scolded about this billboard, someone else’s First Amendment Right to free speech, that they had nothing to do with. But still, there’s little media coverage, and nothing main stream.
Now that I’ve written a few pieces on Reality, I’m starting to see a bigger picture. When I look at what I have written as a whole about her case there seems to be a common denominator that keeps popping up, and I can no longer ignore it. This pattern I’m seeing is what women are currently fighting back against. A pattern that has gone on for decades, nay, centuries, of men having the upper hand. A pattern of women’s oppression & inequality. You see, sexism hides everywhere, from the darkest corners, to right under our noses. And Reality is feeling the full force of it.
As we get closer to November 2018, many people are thinking about voting out the corrupt representatives who have plagued our government. Candidates and incumbents alike are pushing campaign ads and sending postcards; some are even knocking on doors. If the committed voter numbers in November are anything like the hype we’re hearing, this will be a voter turnout for the history books. And with the political environment being what it is, we can see why.
News that Russia had hacked into our election systems rocked many Americans, and the belief that we, the people, have a patriotic duty to vote, and take our country back, is strong. The feeling of needing to rid our government of the money-hungry representatives who are only in office to line their pockets is overwhelming among any group that talks politics these days. Of course, voting corruption out should be Priority One, but then shouldn’t Priority Two be finding candidates who fit what we want and need as Americans? Are we asking our candidates, who want our votes, everything that we should be asking them? Probably not.
There’s so much going on week to week, and even day to day, that it’s hard to keep up with all the political agendas arising, that we once thought were safe. Because of how busy we are, and how much things change day to day, just because an issue deserves our attention, doesn’t always mean it will receive our attention, and that could be a big mistake in one case. If there’s one issue that deserves our attention and has been overlooked, it would have to be the one that is pertinent to identifying and alerting the proper authorities, including the general public, of illegal, immoral and corrupt activities in order to keep corruption out.
This one issue, that many don’t think about, and has gone largely unspoken, is whistleblower protections. Fraud and corruption run through our government like a snake slithering through high grass. It can be hard for the decent high-level government officials to spot, because it succeeds as it’s concealed right under their noses. Lower-level officials and private citizens, by contrast, sometimes have an advantage of seeing it from the outside, or a bird’s-eye view.
In today’s hustle & bustle of our busy lives, many people don’t take the time, or don’t have the time, to really look into things that don’t directly affect them. Because of that, many people scan the newspaper in the morning, getting the gist of what’s going on, but not knowing the particulars of its contents, let alone in its entirety. If there were a list of articles, topics & cases most widely known for a name, yet most widely unknown in their specifics, the case of Reality Winner would probably be right up there in the top 10.
With the one year anniversary of her arrest coming up in June, and the attention of the actual information (that’s currently public knowledge) that she is accused of leaking with a single document, it’s quite surprising that her case still goes widely unknown. Yes, Reality Winner has an unusual name, and one that many have focused on. But yet what’s not known is that she is a young US Air Force veteran, and ex NSA contractor. She is the whistleblower, or truth teller, that is charged under the Espionage Act for allegedly releasing a document to the online media outlet, The Intercept, showing that Russia was hacking into our US election support companies.
The last sentence of that paragraph alone would have had people up in arms, in the not so distant past. If an announcement was made that Russia was, and has been for years, meddling in our elections, and continues to do so, many people would have taken to the streets. But, with so much going on every damned day, it’s unknown whether we are becoming desensitized to the corruption in our government (on all sides,) or if people really just don’t care. Or maybe, even still, they have a hard time trying to filter through all the bullsh*t and end up buying into it.
This piece is meant to take a second and explain why Reality Winner has such devoted supporters. The thing is, there is a visible division in our country. And unfortunately, that divide is causing people that normally would be supporters of Winner to cut themselves off from the truth about what is going on with her case. From my personal experience, which is admittedly very little, most people that are Trump supporters aren’t going to want to support Winner because of the information in the document itself, and that she’s alleged to have helped expose the Russian hacking while Trump himself was on television saying he believed Putin when he said his country didn’t hack our election support companies. So then it boils down to still not believing that Russia was responsible, or the information isn’t critically thought about and is brushed off under the guise that any form of leaking is a treasonous act.
However, I implore Trump supporters to check into her case, though, because Winner’s supporters aren’t digging in their feet in based only on their political stance, whether they are resisting Donald Trump, or not. And her supporters aren’t trying to claim her innocence either. (Although now that the mainstream media has reported Russia did hack our election and there are Russian indictments in the Mueller investigation, one wonders why the document Winner is accused of releasing is still considered classified. Is it only to keep her silenced in jail?) Her supporters are saying, however, that her treatment has been unfair, and unjust, throughout the past year.
Donald Trump himself said in a tweet, when speaking of Rob Porter’s departure over allegations that he abused his past wives, that every American should be seen as innocent until proven guilty, and that every American deserves their right to a fair trial and due process. (And let’s not forget the right to a speedy trial!) Winner’s supporters agree. Yes, every American does deserve that. Every US Air Force veteran and every NSA contractor, also deserves that. So why isn’t Reality Winner receiving any of it?
It seems as though we’ve gotten used to waking up every morning and seeing some crazy or off the cuff tweet sent out by the man that is supposed to be the leader of the free world, our country. Each day, there’s a quoted tweet, or five, plastered on the television screen while Joe Scarborogh, Joy Reid or Anderson Cooper talk about what an asinine thing it was for a President of these United States to publicly announce. But has anyone sat back and thought about why this is happening?
Trump is a reality TV star first, and acts as such. He knows how to stay in the spotlight, cause drama, and irk people. No matter how much we want to call him out for being insane or not being mentally fit, he’s smart enough to know that he can control what the main stream media (MSM) will report. He even told a journalist, in a one on one interview at Mar-A-Lago, that the media needed him. That they want him to win reelection in 2020. And they’re taking the bait.
Robert Mueller is hot on the Russian investigation, and things are being reported to be spiraling out of control in the White House. Reports of Trump’s aide, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner’s security clearance being revoked, gave the week of Feb 26, 2018 a jump start in MSM. Hope Hicks’ resignation soon followed, with her telling special counsel that she has told “white lies” for Trump in the past. And then, a final report of Trump announcing higher tariffs on steel & aluminum, and potentially sending us into a trade war, made for some interesting news to be reported.
But how many people know who Reality Winner is? She happens to be pretty important in the Russia investigation. She’s the young Air Force veteran that tried to help warn American citizens of Russia’s hacking into our election support companies while Trump continued his praise of Putin saying they didn’t.
Reality Winner. An unusual name for a military veteran, but seems quite fitting somehow. Some people have heard of her, but many have not. Reality is the fit blonde, in her twenties, that allegedly released a document to the online media outlet, The Intercept, back in May 2017.
Out of the all people who know her name, there lies a division. If you believe yourself to be an ethical person, and someone with morals, yet you also believe that she broke the law so she’s where she needs to be, that Reality is guilty before her trial, or think her being charged under the Espionage Act is the appropriate, then I’ll stop you right here & have a separate message for you:
This post isn’t for you. If you choose to continue to read, please know that I will not approve any negative comments. I’m all for answering questions to the best of my ability, or at least directing you to someone who may know. And I’m always willing to engage in civil conversation with those that hold opposing views, but I do not tolerate incivility. It’s your choice whether you want to be civil. This is a personal narrative on Reality. With that said, whether you choose to continue to read or not, & whether you choose to be civil or not, is all on you. We’re all adults here, so let’s act it.
For the rest of us, I think it’s normal to feel like we want to make a difference at some point in our lives. Whether we decide to act on that desire is a decision based on three things:
How much we relate to want we think needs changing.
How emotionally connected we are to that relationship.
I grew up in the 80’s & 90’s, after the bra burners, but when my single mom watched The Golden Girls. I knew from a very young age that women were a force to be reckoned with. They could do anything they wanted. I mean, there was going to be a female teacher going into outer-space with the astronauts. But tragically, she would never make it.
As I absorbed everything around me, I never once thought that men helped women for any other reason than because they needed it at that moment, and the women would be helping the man with the same task. I thought they helped because they wanted to be a nice human being, not just to “respect females” because we are such delicate flowers. Of course, that was also at the age I thought all cats were girls & all dogs were boys.
I watched some romantic comedies, but mostly was enthralled with the Police Academy movies. I remember tuning to channel 2 every morning before school when we first got cable & received free HBO for 6 months. I’d get my fill of the jokes, pranks, and fart noises before the bus arrived in the morning. But I also got inclusion. The way my young mind wrapped around the Police Academy series was that there were all types of people, different genders, ethnicities & backgrounds, and they always worked together.
My step dad was an avid hunter and taught me how to shoot a .22 caliber rifle when I was a pre teen. That was another thing that had solidified my knowledge of gender equality, though I didn’t realize it at the time. That wouldn’t be the last time I shot a gun either. Target practice can be quite fun.