Sometimes when I am writing for The Progressive I find I am learning more than I really wanted to know.
Over the last few months, a story has been developing about a twenty-one-year-old Massachusetts man named Jack Teixeira, who, it has been found, has been leaking classified documents online for some time. Teixeira is now in jail and is being charged under the Espionage Act for revealing top-secret documents that he first accessed in his work as an Air National Guard member.
This is another one of those news stories that will come and go and which won't even register with many people. Let's face it, a lot of the news is that way lately. Complicated, deals with wars far away, includes vocabulary we don't understand (in the Teixeira story, I keep getting hung up on the phrase "Discord server," which I guess is something a lot of gamers know about, but it makes me feel old to think about and not really understand or care what that is), and, oh yes, most of us are kept busy in America trying to stay employed and retain access to our health insurance (even though interacting with our health insurance companies and doctors' offices takes so long and is often so unsuccessful that it actually makes it difficult for us to focus on our jobs).
I'm not really here today to tell you why you should care about the Teixeira story. I totally get it if you don't. However, I recently did have the chance to write an op/ed on this subject, titled "For Whistleblowers, Motives Matter," that was published at The Progressive (and elsewhere; The Progressive does this really neat thing where they help train you to write op/eds and then they share them around, called "Progressive Perspectives"). This was a new experience for me; I've got lots of opinions and my partner could tell you I love to editorialize, but I had never written an op/ed. Nor had I ever co-written anything, and for this piece I had the honor of working with Lisa Ling, a military veteran and whistleblower (she was featured in the excellent Sonia Kennebeck movie National Bird, which you should watch, if you haven't yet).
It was a new experience and I learned rather more than I wanted to know, from Lisa, about today's military and what it all does and where it all is (and I was grateful to her for writing this one with me). While you're still alive, you have to learn, right?