What is reality? I could spend a day in contemplation of its esoteric definition: ‘something that exists independently of all other things and from which all other things derive.’ My tendency to over philosophize, to masticate a single word while ignoring context, often obscures rather than clarifies. My thoughts exist independently of all other things, and the reality of that can only be subjective, which should be the opposite of reality, right? Reality should be truth, which is relative to it’s author.
What👏🏼am👏🏼I👏🏼talking👏🏼about? Your guess is as good as mine. I can offer you this reality: I ignored every news story four years ago, about “Reality Winner,” thinking- if this idiot (the author, not the subject, ) can get a job writing news copy, why can’t I?
It took me some time to understand that the hoopla had nothing to do with the television show ‘Survivor.’
Reality Winner is the (unfortunate) name of a young woman. She was employed by an American military contractor, Pluribus International Corporation, as an intelligence specialist. Her job gave her access to information regarding Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. She risked her freedom to share evidence exposing the threat posed to our Democracy. Russian hackers had accessed voter registration rolls in the U.S. by email phishing. Reality was compelled by her conscience to photograph and forward documents of proof to the news organization, The Intercept.
On June 3, 2017, she was arrested. In 2018 convicted of removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet. She was given five years and three months, the longest sentence ever imposed for the unauthorized release of government information to the media.
During her time in prison, guards harassed her, she was allegedly sexually assaulted and she contracted COVID-19. This woman should have been celebrated as a hero, not persecuted as she was by the Trump administration.
Since her arrest, the outcry of injustice was persistent. When President Biden took office, new hope sparked. Disappointment came in a form letter that said the correspondence asking for clemency would be brought to the attention of the appropriate personnel.
It turns out it was not a meaningless form letter because Ms. Winner has been released, not quite free, but on her way.
Her attorney just tweeted:
Let’s philosophize the reality of truth and the risk of telling it in a country run by an autocrat. Our Democracy is fragile.