When Chuck McGee's Wife Hates You...

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Pulp Woman.jpg...You may find yourself on "the list." Is it possible that a high school grudge can result in costly and surreal political pay-back? Maybe.

Until a few days ago I had never heard of Chuck McGee or the New Hampshire phone jamming scandal for which he served prison time.

Last week a high school friend inadvertently indicated that a woman we went to school with is very likely involved in some aspect of my surveillance/harassment situation. Because my case is so epic and absurd, there were many times when I wondered if there was a personal vendetta at play. This woman, Carrie, was my then best friend's twin sister and hated me with passionate intensity. She was a right-wing and militantly pro-life Catholic, and though most of my friends were evangelical or Mormon, Carrie always seemed to have the least tolerance for my pro-choice, gay-friendly, and nearly all other views. (There were personal aspects, having to do with her sister's and my friendship, and our shared school activities, that seemed to propel her anger in ways I didn't understand.) The last few times I saw her she didn't speak to or acknowledge me. When I heard the things she said about me, I was always baffled.

I knew that her husband was a Republican big wig in New Hampshire, but that was all. During my reunion weekend in 2003 I stayed at her sister's house, where a picture of Carrie and her husband with President Bush hung on the fridge. This didn't surprise me. Such a trajectory totally made sense for her. I thought about Carrie rarely -- in the course of reflecting on my relationship with her sister, occasionally through my academic work, and the personal process of trying to  break out of conventional left/right thinking and build my own tolerance for people with very different views.

For the last month plus I've dealt with a new wave of elicitation centered around Christians, Mormons, my mother's finances, and a local ski area developer. (It's kind of a Keystone Cops situation -- I don't understand why they don't think we'll notice when multiple people attempt to get our thoughts on these topics in quick succession. Especially people who are supposed to be installing tile or kitchen cabinets rather than playing 20 Questions.) This thread is not new -- my surveillance seems to have been funded by anti-environmentalists and the religious right, as well as tax payers -- I've noticed multiple attempts to get me to malign evangelical Christians. (I think perhaps private contractors use these recored conversations for fund-raising purposes.)

It was reflecting on this most recent wave that led to my friend's inadvertent revelation about Carrie's possible involvement, which led me to find out exactly who her husband is. Who knew he would turn out to be notorious? In the course of my research, I found this summary from Chuck McGee's interview with the FBI, detailing the genesis of his plan to prevent Democrats from voting:
McGEE stated a few weeks before the election in November, 2002, his wife CARRIE showed him a flier that came into the mail from the Democratic Party. This letter gave information for voters on registration and voting procedures. It also included information on prescriptions and Medicare. McGEE stated that over the years he had decided to keep all the opposition mail that he received at his home. He remembers placing that particular
advertisement in his pocket. He remembers there was a number on the paper to be used on election day, something like 1-800-WIN- DEMOCRAT. During that same week, he remembers hearing the Democrats had hired 6,000 students to go to the polls on election day. He also heard there were several people going door-to-door the weekend before the election. McGEE said he was "torqued" by this idea and because of his military training came up with the idea that "communications is as important as beans and bullets." McGEE stated he may have talked to his wife about this idea.
Several aspects of this passage are remarkable to me. I've used the word "enemies" (in quotation marks) to describe oppositional interests. But never in a million years would I want to interfere with "the opposition's" democratic participation. Seeing fellow Americans as "the enemy" in a militaristic manner doesn't make sense. I guess I can relate to it insofar as I encouraged an anti-corporate boycott in response to the Iraq invasion, but that was because the democratic process seemed to have been so perverted, and Bush was encouraging us to shop on the eve of creating hundreds of thousands of refugees and PTSD-suffering veterans. The point was that our elected officials weren't listening to the majority of us, that we were obviously being lied to by the highest office holders. I guess what I'm saying is that it wasn't about "winning." It was about the need for truth and open debate.

"Winning" at the cost voter participation seems profoundly un-American. Given what I remember about Carrie, that Chuck may have discussed it with her (indeed, that she brought the offensive get-out-the-vote effort to his attention), and she didn't immediately squash the idea, do not surprise me. I never got the sense from her that we were free to be you and me. I wasn't simply "different," I was "the enemy." In my experience, people with this sort of win/lose with us/against us thinking project it onto others. If they were ok with a veering toward a somewhat sociopathic plan to disenfranchise people, what did they fantasize me capable of?

Living in a pluralistic society, I see those who vote differently than I do, or lead different lifestyles, as part of the mix. We're always trying to balance respective rights and liberties. This is why I always had a hard time understanding attempts to convert me to various strains of Evangelical Christianity, or a complete inability to even hear my political or philosophical point of view. I was fine with other people being Saved or speaking on tongues. Why was it not ok with them that I supported Clinton? Or didn't know which god I believed in?

It's not surprising that the Department of Justice may have delayed prosecuting McGee for political purposes. Unfortunately, it's also not surprising that a personal vendetta could have grave consequences for someone like me within an administration rooted in cronyism and devoid of accountability. Growing up during the Cold War, we were meant to love all that made us different from the Soviets: our supposed freedom from the dictates of propaganda and petty, repressive politics.

This is the United States of America. High school grudges should not contribute to the waste of millions (yes, it has to be millions by this point) in taxpayer dollars, what has amounted to wrongful imprisonment, and a complete arrogation of 4th Amendment rights. They just shouldn't. I can only hope that no one continues to cook up a way to justify it all. Enough is enough.

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Six Hours A Week Is:

A coping strategy, advocacy outlet, and form of protection. My life has been nearly destroyed by the unconstitutional practices of politically/socially-motivated private intelligence contractors and the corruption and cronyism that allow them. Apparently because I speak out in ways that prioritize the little guy and human and environmental health above gargantuan profit margins, and believe that facts are as important as PR spin, I was someone who had to be completely discredited. In 2007, after a few months of a surreal and relentless invasion of privacy and dignity, I started to spend six hours each week researching, communicating about, and advocating legal and ethical responses to assaults on our shared democratic and republican ideals. For most of that time I was writing from the perspective of someone whose life was manipulated into a constant state of terror and emergency. In 2010, many of the array of entrapment attempts seem to have failed and it seems no longer possible to get away with such excessive, obvious harassment and overt interference. As we take more practical steps to address what has been allowed to happen to my family, we do expect to see some more harassment and intimidation. But I should be able to chronicle it from a more measured perspective, rather than that of someone in constant fear. Part of me would like to go back and delete earlier posts, because even I find them hard to relate to in some ways. But this blog has been one of our only forms of protection as everyone in any official capacity ignored the truth and tried to spin and frame us into the troublemakers and perpetrators of one form or another. So I leave it up as a form of protection, a record of what has occurred, and (with luck) the account of our way back to credibility and some form of legitimate justice. All content on this site is property of Kyeann Sayer. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Kyeann published on August 14, 2008 12:21 AM.

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