The story I’m about to tell is a sensitive issue for me for many reasons, but I hope that it encourages discussion: Here’s a story for your entertainment: I went to a homeless youth panel not too long ago, and I wrote a piece about the various organizations that represented themselves and their ethics and values at the panel. I then proceeded to write the piece as an outsider, meaning, someone who works through fringe organizations and makes a difference on the periphery, in the best way they can and are allowed to. If you know my history, you know I have been blocked in various ways, in various times, in often demeaning and belittling ways, from being of service through various organizations, and it has left its indelible mark on my confidence in myself to be able to help where I can, and it has also made me lose faith in many organizations that claim to do good. I am left to constantly feel as though these organizations just tell me what they tell me to literally get rid of me, or they do what they do to get rid of me, and it’s enough to drive a person insane after a while, especially when it happens so frequently.
I have learned to respect this role as an outsider as what I can do and how I can contribute, however, even if sometimes I feel like I’m not making a difference or doing the most I can do. Such a realization and justification did not come easy by any means, but I developed it to cope with the stress of trying to do the work that I do and not burning out and losing my faith in what I do.
Anyway, I happened to pass a Love Utah Give Utah post, asking for donations, by a specific organization that I have had much trouble with and resistance from in the past. I posted the link to the piece of necessary dissent on the post, for people to have the opportunity to educate themselves on what these organizations do and do not do so they would be informed and could make a more educated decision on who they help and why they help the way they do.
To be clear: This piece was not inflammatory by any means, it did not even mention the name of the organization, and it was not a direct attack on the organization; also, I did not affiliate with Legacy Initiative at all in the piece (the non-profit I work for), in order to be my own entity and a person making their own responsible decisions, even though I know Legacy would back me up if they ever needed to (though I wouldn’t put them in that position).
Come to find out, they deleted my link within a short amount of time.
Just pause on that for a moment and you might feel the blow I felt upon realizing this had happened, even though I somehow expected this to happen after repeated experiences of this nature.
I’m currently reading a tract by John Milton right now about freedom of the press, and why it is so important; one reason why he says it’s important is because the freedom of the press allows for the pursuit of truth and perhaps even justice. I’m also always studying the philosopher J.S. Mill about the same importance of free speech and the need for necessary dissent: He famously says that we need even unpopular opinions, because they challenge the tyranny of the majority.
So indeed, the joys of bureaucracy and corruption, and the ineffectiveness of politics and shutting others down. Because that’s what this is, of course, is it’s political. This is the same institution that has refused to let me write for them or be of service in some other non-intrusive way. The link to my blog post, the piece in which I am referring to (called The Foundation), goes into many of the details of why I work on the outside, and why this is my only choice. But that by no means makes it just and right or makes it a just manifestation of reality, and it doesn’t mean the powers that be are right to siphon me off at the edge. And just to make sure we’re on the same page: What was deleted was a blog post, in other words, someone’s opinion. I find it ironic that they would find something this inconspicuous so threatening to their cause. As my mother pointed out, it’s comical, even if it stings and it’s unnecessary rejection.
But, indeed, there was a reason why it wasn’t a straight-forward attack (the post): I’m not in the business of slander, simply exposure, and I know that organizations like the one I ran up against are doing good work in some aspects, which must be acknowledged at certain points. Nonetheless, this was a violation of free speech, which doesn’t feel right to me and would piss off many libertarians, assuming I understand the bent of the political party well enough.
The point being: This was disappointing, and it makes me mad for a number of reasons. One, because organizations like this refuse to be held accountable, because they in a sense don’t need to be (they have literal power that they exercise with impunity). If they can just discriminate on a whim and delete posts that hardly deal with them but nonetheless are necessary exposure, we’ve got a problem. Not only that, but organizations like this have been pushing me aside for years, in various and often infuriating ways (I have written extensively on this topic). I’m probably on their blacklist at this point, without any intentional effort on my part. The point being: It’s disappointing, because this hurts the population that I try to help e.g. the homeless. Because there is no accountability, there is no responsibility, and because there is no responsibility, there is no justice. I wrote that specific piece for an inquiring audience that wants to be informed, and that opportunity was shut down almost immediately. It says a lot about how these organizations run.
And the point is, it’s bigger than me: Much bigger than me: That’s why I fight. That’s why I write. That’s why I dissent. That’s what writing is for, man! I have given the facts and details as I understand them, and I hope that you will discern for yourself what is going on here: But yeah, it (the post link) was deleted from their record with no explanation. My own mother was shocked that this even happened, even though she found it funny later, because she felt it was childish. She couldn’t believe something this shallow would happen.
And to be frank, I can’t either, despite the ways in which I’ve been conditioned to expect this.
The original post that was deleted: https://stephanheard.wordpress.com/2016/02/25/the-foundation-from-the-crumbling-mansions/#respond
Another instance of what I’m referring to: https://stephanheard.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/wasted-chances/
More media describing my blocked efforts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0IIXx40SWg