Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Victory for Angela Keaton!

The aftereffects of the resignation of The Keaton are still reverberating throughout the LP. I myself when I heard the news was shocked, saddened, and outraged at what I perceived was blatant unprofessional conduct by Mr. Eric Garris, Angela’s employer at AntiWar.com. I was wrong on that, being set straight by Angela herself, and I “manned up” and publicly apologized to Mr. Garris, and he accepted my apology.

Once the emotional WTF? ended, I thought about it a little more. Angela is a close friend, and one helluva tough woman. She won twice this past weekend.

Her first win was in getting the utterly ridiculous charges dropped against her, and she did it in style, with full outrage and anger and fully exercising her right to air it all out openly, where the charges were shown to be utterly inane, and by putting up with no bullshit from anyone. The gallery’s laughter at the charges was just a bonus, with each chuckle a nail in the coffin of her persecutors. This is what she said in a prepared statement when she presented her defense:

“My opposition to the Barr campaign and the general tenor of current Party leadership and direction is well known, though I'm certainly glad the LNC spent so much effort compiling a "Greatest Hits of Angela" for those who remain ignorant of this fact. I do often express that opposition in the form of comic invective, on the Internet and elsewhere, as is my right---and as I expect the members of the LP, many of which share my opposition and dissatisfaction, who elected me to represent them expect. My thoughts and opinions on the current direction of the LP are and were well-known to those who elected me, and such opinions, very common among the membership, deserve public representation and will continue to receive them from me. Expressing my opinions about the LP is no breach of duty to those to whom I owe a duty, the party members I was elected to represent; rather, it is exactly my duty. I do not recognize the comedic expression of opinion within a political party to be an infraction for which one deserves censure or dismissal; and this whole campaign of harassment is merely an attempt to shut out a loud and prominent voice among the party members who share my dissatisfaction and disdain with current leadership, strategies, and the presidential campaign.”

The dispute resolution committee was a compromise attempt, but that really sealed the deal for her second win.

Her second win was her resigning. This is her statement:


This is to confirm that I have resigned my position on the Libertarian National Committee.

I did not do this as a result of pressure from either Mr. Garris or the LNC. In fact, a few LNC members apologized for any part they may have played in this. However, as long as Redpath, Sullentrup and Starr remain in office, donors will continue to have serious questions about administrative competence, staff neutrality and most importantly ideological coherence.

While I won Saturday’s battle, I had no intention of sitting through yet another round of investigative nonsense only to be told that I was “unprofessional” because I dared say publicly what so many of you say in private. While I have nothing but the greatest respect for so many of you, I was the one who delivered the complaints to Redpath and his cohorts directly. I was the one who took the brunt of purge. And a brunt it was!

This is not an HR issue. Actually, Eric Garris not only defended me as my employer but he was willing to do what only a dear friend would do: Save my life.

Eric was aware, as were some of you, that my physical health had begun to deteriorate rapidly after the last three months of harassment by the proxies of the Barr and Root factions. Vomiting blood should not be the reward for pointing out the inept, incompetent and insidious. I went to San Diego to demand that these saboteurs look me in eye. I stood up to the bullies and won but it came at a price. I refuse to give up another moment of my life to these bastards.

For those of among you that I count as my friends, today is my birthday. The greatest gift you can give me is to accept that I have done all I can do to save what remains of the Libertarian Party, and that you will continue our struggle.

Angela Keaton”

The whole mess had been eating her up inside for months, and she was a very wounded person, brought on by the complete and utter bullshit of a group of vindictive persons who saw her, her personality, and her doing her job on the LNC as a threat to whatever little power trips they were playing at the expense of the Party and its membership. They inflicted on her an emotional abuse and physical harm that no person should have to endure, and far beyond what most people could endure. She won because now she is free of all of that, and she left on her terms, and not theirs, head held high, and she did it in resounding style in the way only The Keaton can do. She is now free of the chains that were holding her back, that were giving her serious issues in her life, including ulcers, and now she can heal and get back to a better place. Some of us, her closest friends, of which I am honored to be, will help her get there. Before this hit the fan in the past few days, when Angela was starting to get wound up about it, I asked her, “What can they do? If they throw you out, you’re free of it, and if you stay, they won’t try it again. No matter what, you’ve already won.” In one way I was right, because she did win. But I was also wrong, because the abuse they had heaped on her was causing a health decline, and very few knew the extent of that decline. I didn’t, and I sure wish I did, because both my wife and I would have done everything we could to have helped her cope then.

Make no mistake: the specific people she mentioned in her letter confirming her resignation are cruel and despicable, and they deserve to be run out of town on the nearest rail for what they did to her. Such behavior is emotional abuse, and is hardly the live-and-let-live attitude that the LP and libertarianism in general is supposed to have at its roots!

So what now? What happens next?

For Angela, she’s gone into a proverbial hole for now and taken the hole with her. She needs time to heal, and she is going to take it. She needs to get away, and I think it is best for all to respect her privacy until she decides to return. She's in her private Liberated Space for the moment. But I know this: she is a tough and amazing woman, and she will return, better than ever. I know I am one of many people that are damned proud of her. Whether Keaton/Shinghal ’12 happens now or not is TBD and up to them. Angela gave herself the best birthday present she could get: her own freedom.

For the LP, the damage is severe but repairable. A LNC Alternate Regional Representative, George Squyres, has resigned as well, for reasons not related to this. The faction mentioned above has already moved to stack the LNC with one of their own as a replacement for Angela, but it is being fought. They need to begone from office ASAP before they destroy the LP by either pure incompetence or sheer evil. They also may go after other LNC members not in their cadre to drive them out as well. Plans are being made to make 2010 a potential showdown on the future of the LP. The die has been cast, and the bleeding is happening, and this is not going to be pretty. A new movement has been spawned, partially by Angela, who blazed a trail in September, and by partially by me, who widened it a little this past weekend, along with a cast of many others, to bring openness and membership feedback to the LNC, which is sorely needed. I announced that at San Diego at the close of the open session, and the gallery erupted in a cheer that upstaged Wayne Allyn Root's announcement that he was running in 2012 for the LP presidential nomination the day before. Personally, that felt good.

For us, Angela’s friends, we stand by her and support her. We understand, respect, and support her decision. I do especially, because I have been in her present situation in my past elsewhere. We will await her return, and proceed together from there. In the meantime we will take up her fight and continue it as she requested.

For Angela’s detractors, critics, and enemies, I will defer to a quote by Thomas Knapp: “Go fuck yourselves.”

For the future battles in the LP, and there will be plenty of them, and bloody as hell, I don’t think “Remember The Keaton!” is a good battle cry. But it helps to keep it in mind. :)

Never, ever, piss off an engineer.

The future begins now. Time to get to work.

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