There is truth telling, and then there is truth telling. Scott McClellan’s contention that Bush manipulated the American public through discarded intelligence about Iraq’s capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction is not a revelation of truth. It might be news, and it might be true, but it is not truth telling. Truth telling is stepping up to the plate when the truth IS news and when there is a grave personal risk to do so. It involves integrity and high personal standards. I do not know what is in Scott McClellan’s heart, but it would seem reasonable to ask why he did not come forward years ago and before hundreds of thousands of lives, by conservative accounts, were lost in Iraq.
I am honored and so very lucky to know a real truth teller.
I first met Coleen Rowley several years ago when I was deciding whether to support her campaign for Congress--a campaign that was swift-boated by Karl Rove and millions in negative advertising which she had no hope of overcoming.
Congressman Jim Oberstar got us together on a cold spring afternoon in a dinky hotel meeting room in Duluth, Minnesota.
I mentioned that it was very impressive that she was on the cover of Time Magazine for her whistleblowing about FBI failures pre 9/11. Read her memo here:
"Georgianne, This upsets me. I did not deserve to be on the cover of Time Magazine for telling the truth. What is wrong with our society when speaking the truth is worthy of special consideration?"
I decided she was my personal hero right then and there and went to work for her and am proud to number her among my friends.
Rowley lost a full pension after 24 years of service to an organization she wanted to join since she was a grade schooler. The television show The Man from U.N.C.L.E. so inspired her to fight crime that she wrote a letter to the producers, asking how to join. The producers thankfully wrote back and explained to this naïve young child that U.N.C.L.E did not exist, but that there was an organization called the F.B.I. which might be of interest. The young Coleen Rowley promptly wrote to the F.B.I and was told that girls could not be F.B.I . agents. Thank god the women’s movement intervened before Coleen Rowley grew up.
Now, Rowley is sewing peace banners in the living room of her home in Apple Valley Minnesota.
She is in debt because of her hard-fought campaign, but donates her speaking fees to charity because she will not "profit" from truth-telling.
I am including a photo of myself and Rowley which is more valuable to me than a photo with any celebrity, rock star or politician. It goes with me everywhere as a reminder to, as Coleen tells me, "Always try."