This week, as a new doctor was studying the train wreck of my health situation, she asked me
And if you had it to do over, would you?
Wow. I believe every whistleblower has asked themself this question innumerable times.
Yet, it is still jarring to hear. And every time I pause. As though somehow, this time I would change the answer. But I never do. Although with each passing year, as a fresh inventory of damages and painful memories present themselves, the answer becomes more faint. With greater fatigue and deeper sadness.
Yes, I guess I would have to. Because as a human being that cares deeply about my country and other people, I really never had a choice. Not and feel in any way good about myself. A person that wants to retain any sense of integrity, or ethics, or goodness within has to try. And when they do, be willing to accept the consequences of that effort.
Every whistleblower suffers to some degree. The length of time you are subjected to abuse, and the viciousness of the wrong doer(s) in retaliation for you coming forward all play a part.
In my case the situation was about as extreme as one can imagine. To be threatened with death is one thing. To be physically attacked, and worse, see and hear of others being attacked is beyond the pale when it happens in a country that had it’s national identity and history defined by a struggle for freedom, and rule of law.
To have the mask pulled down and see an ugliness beneath is disconcerting at best, and demoralizing at worst.
Yet as in all struggles and conflict there are lessons to be learned. I have wrestled with this many a day in my seventeen years of bank fraud whistleblowing. Sifting through the raw sewage of business and political toxic waste. Searching for something, anything of value to be gained or reclaimed.
I believe, if anything, I have learned that the American spirit that brought us through one bloody fight after another still is undefeated. Though lulled into complacency, through constant marketing and common carnal temptations, Americans, when you pass beneath the veneer, are still a just people. When our rationalize tyranny is penetrated through the haze of self interest we can recognize right from wrong. And begin again, to see. To hear, and to speak of the evil in our midst.
And to unite in exposing, containing, and ultimately overcome the injustice.
Perhaps this lesson is mere wishful thinking on my part, and not really how it is at all. We may never overcome the shadows, dark money, and rotting lies that have steadily gripped the land.
But then again, we have overcome worse. I believe in the spirit of unity that binds the human race to live. To love. To heal and seek good is too strong in America to simply be captured and carried away quietly into the night.
One thing is for sure, it is a battle. That we answer the call to or ignore every day. It is a moral draft. Not a legislated one. That in a sense we are all whistleblowers even if the only person we are exposing, or situation to remedy is within our own life.