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Mike Doogan, you are a Public Ass

As you may know, I am a huge fan of The Mudflats blog, and its owner. It was through that website that I got an eyewitness albeit vicarious view into Alaskan politics, including an insider's eyeball at the wonder that is Sarah Palin. I have been a continuous reader of that blog since the VP nomination of the illustrious First Dude-ette of Alaska, and have been given an insight that I might not have had I not stumbled upon said blog, and that I have found of enormous value. Not just because I have learned more about Sarah Palin and the way that she mishandles her public duties to her current constituents (giving a fair idea of what it could have been like if that constituency suddenly grew exponentially in the lower 48), but also an idea of the trials--and the triumphs--of the Alaskan people, as they deal with their myriad harsh environments with humor, courage and tenacity.

This blog is funny, well-written, insightful, fascinating, intelligent, heartfelt, real...

And anonymous.

Until now.

Yes, the illustrious Representative of the 25th District, which includes the city of Anchorage, Mike Doogan, made the decision to stalk, hunt down and expose the true identity of the writer of The Mudflats. And in case you think that I have drunk the Obama Kool-Aid to the point that I draw all the Republicans with horns and pitchforks and all the Dems with wings and halos, I will point out to you that this despicable human being is the Democratic representative of said district.

And why did he do this?

Because she pissed him off, by calling him on his shit, and he wanted to shut her up.

And as Ms. Mudflats most eloquently points out, he had bigger fish to fry. With the energy crisis in Alaska, a runaway maverick-y moron of a governor, an exploding volcano threatening to put the state under a blanket of ash and native people literally starving right under his nose, Mr. Doogan thought that the most appropriate use of his official time, title and public influence was to track down and attempt to intimidate one of his own constituents into silence, because she dared to speak her mind about what she saw going on in the government that is supposed to represent her.

While I have written here many times about the desirability of people to be able to express themselves freely under their offline identities, the reality is that there are some exceptionally good reasons why people may not want to have their offline identities exposed, one of which is that they simply feel more secure in expressing their opinions by doing so. Even without the fear of having their personal privacy violated, or the worry that such exposure could cause them undue personal harm, the simple desire to be able to write anonymously is a well-used tradition in this country back to colonial times, and the right to do so was apparently never questioned in those days. It was an accepted practice--a way of expressing a minority opinion without the fear of being intimidated and destroyed by the majority, or by those with more power and more influence to do harm. That being the case, even the Supreme Court of the US has recognized the necessity of preserving a person's anonymity, if they desire it, as integral to the preservation of their First Amendment rights.

"Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society."


Yes, even on the internet.

And Mr. Doogan felt that it was his god-given right to trample those Constitutional rights for no other reason than because he could. He had the ample technology and the dearth of ethics to be able to accomplish it.

What a frellin' hero he is.

What a piece of work he is.

What an unscrupulous ASS he is.

It is apparent that Ms. Mudflats is reconsidering her discourses in her blog. It is apparent that she is wrestling between the idea that what she does is important and what she does is a danger, to both her and to her family. It is apparent that she is wondering whether it is all worth it--and even if it is worth it, whether or not it is far too expensive a venture for her, as an ordinary citizen, to undertake.

And I can't say that I blame her at all.

But...

If the anonymous voice in this country is silenced--can be silenced--by the voice of power and force, how much poorer we will be for that. If those who we ourselves have put in power, either by our vote, or by our voluntary subservience in the workplace, or even by the artificial elevation to celebrity via our own respect, can take away our rights not only to speak our minds but also to speak them in a way that protects our right to speak freely, then we are enslaved indeed. If we are silenced by fear, simply because those against whom we would dissent will be undissuaded by ethics to destroy our ability to speak, then soon this country--this world--will be represented by only one voice, and there is no guarantee that that voice will reflect our own.

I am more disappointed than I can say. I am more distressed than I can express. I am more outraged than mere words can tell.

But at the same time, I am compelled to let Representative Doogan know exactly how I feel about what he has done, and how he has violated one of the most basic and fundamental rights guaranteed under our Constitution.

And if you're as distressed by this as I am, I would encourage you to do the same by expressing your opinion to

Rep.Mike.Doogan@legis.state.ak.us

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
swisscelt
Mar. 28th, 2009 03:28 am (UTC)
the simple desire to be able to write anonymously is a well-used tradition in this country back to colonial times, and the right to do so was apparently never questioned in those days.

Yeah, you betcha. Ahem... seriously, not only was the right to write anonymously defended by our Founding Fathers, they frequently engaged in the practice.
moropus
Mar. 28th, 2009 11:48 am (UTC)
Let me move that to the top of my list of states not to live in.

I think they get away with so much because they are so far away.

I don't think you could do that down here. Bastard. Ass. Freak.
jasonhackwith
Mar. 28th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
I wrote him an email. Doubt he'll read it :)

You know, I choose to use my real name for my online accounts, but I wholly recognize the necessity of online anonymity. If anything, I think you understate the potential danger involved if the government takes away the right for people to be anonymous on the net.
eiredrake
Mar. 28th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
Just emailed him and read him the riot act.

Especially fun was pointing out to him that his own actions have given this story wings.

An anonymous blogger railing about a glorified crossing guard like him happens a million times a day (two million on saturday).

But said anonymous crossing guard using Rovian tactics to silence said dissent? That's going to put the story into overdrive on the net.

Poor him. Should have just hit delete and shut up like every other idiot in the government does.
browngirl
Mar. 28th, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
He is a public ass indeed.

I have two letters to write, one to him and one in support to Ms. Mudflats.

Edited at 2009-03-28 05:34 pm (UTC)
dudemungus
Mar. 28th, 2009 09:07 pm (UTC)
Sent off letters to both parties. Man that is fucking infuriating! People in power seem to have no sense of responsibility, of obligation, duty, anything. Just an overblown sense of fucking entitlement. I bet he has no idea he has done anything wrong. Worse still, he is surrounded by enough assholes and lickspittles to convince him of his continued rightness. And they wonder why people throw shoes.

FUCK!
(Anonymous)
Mar. 29th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)
re: Mike Doogan's outing
Excellent post. Thank you. This is my first trip to this website and think this is a great site. I am a regular reader of mudflats. I am heartbroken as well as incensed by Doogan's reprehensible actions.I have informed him that I will be financially contributing to the opponent most likely to whip his ass during the next election--be it dem or rep. I am a card caring dem. Thanks again for you excellent post.
Carol
ladyblue56
Mar. 29th, 2009 05:39 am (UTC)
*sigh
(Anonymous)
Mar. 30th, 2009 02:09 am (UTC)
Anonymous and Pseudonym Writers
In solidarity with all bloggers who chose not to post their birth name, I am posting once anonymously.
I too read faithfully at the Flats and really enjoyed your posting. I love all the "wrongs" people are seeing with this and I hope to God AKM sues the gonads off Doogan.
It is ironic that something SO horrible has forced AKM to realize the voice she has become and the importance of her writing. Doogan threw her one hell of a coming of age party. It is time she returned the favor. I bet I'll be able to see it from my back porch allll the way in Seattle.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 30th, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
Great post
Thanks for the well-written, thoughtful post. My first time here and I'm quite impressed with your skill. Mudflats should be happy to have you as a friend and supporter.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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