Greetings, from historic New Harmony, Indianawhere seeing my words published on line, out in public like this, is heady stuff indeed. I am supposed to be resting up for attending the play http://www.usi.edu/nht/ later today, and, hopefully, I soon will do that. But, right now I am so excited about this blog that I want to tell why I started it. Which is because, several weeks ago I was asked to write a weekly opinion column for the Posey County News, our local weekly newspaper. I was contacted by Dave Pearce, the new owner and editor of the Posey County News, asking me to accept his apology for failing to report in his newspaper the simple fact of the dismissal of all charges against me, (such charges as were brought for the offense of asking questions of a financial nature at the town board meeting in February of 2008) and inviting me to write a weekly opinion column for his newspaper. Dave had bought the newspaper shortly after my arrest. An arrest, of which, the reporting of and the commenting on, had filled not only the entire front page of that newspaper but almost the entire edition at the time I was arrested, under the previous management, and which reporting and commenting I viewed askance, as to journalistic standards, since I was arrested in particular for questioning, at a town board meeting, the amount of rent that the newspaper itself was paying for it's cozy little quarters in a town government owned building. But, my beef being with the town board president and with his close political and social associate and fellow Tea Party attendee, the then newspaper owner and editor, I was at some what of a disadvantage as to press coverage locally, and compelled to take my licking and like it. Sort of, except, that I hired a good attorney and had the charges thrown out of court with copious regional press coverage from other bigger out of town, out of county newspapers, but with still nary a peep about my vindication from the Posey County News, even though it had a new owner, Dave Pearce.
So, that was why Dave contacted me, to apologize for journalistically ignoring the dropping of the charges against me, and to tell me that he had allowed the previous owner to dissuade him from reporting, even on a back page, the dropping of all charges, and that he now realized that he was lobbied in a politically partisan manner to ignore news that he should have reported, being a newspaper editor and all, and that he now apologized to me for failing to report that news of the dismissal of the charges, and would I care to write a weekly opinion column for his newspaper?
Dave and I hammered out a few details of our arrangement by Email and I agreed to write a weekly column for his paper. I wrote a couple of columns in advance, against the event of sick days or fishing trips, and I Emailed them to Dave who gushingly approved them and said that he felt that he and I would would have a long and fruitful association and grow to be better writers and better people along side one another. Then, I wrote another column or two and I Emailed them also to Dave. With a promise of more to follow.
And then, mysteriously, Dave vanished from sight on me, and has not since responded to any of my Emails or taken or returned my phone calls.
Consequently, I asked a mutual friend, who has known Dave and his family since back before the war, as it were, to visit with him and find out what the problemo was vis a vis printing my columns or even responding to my Emails or taking my phone calls. This mutual friend went to speak with Dave and reports that he, Dave, has been threatened with dire consequences if he prints my columns as he and I had agreed. Dave was , reportedly, contacted by members of the New Harmony town board and their close associates who insist that my wild eyed libertarianism should not be inflicted on the innocent public through his newspaper. Apparently, I am not amusing to the town government, since I loudly and publicaly thrashed them with the dismissal of their charges against me. Dave told our mutual friend that they (the town board et al) had threatened to destroy the newspaper's relationship with a couple of the major (automotive) advertisers who keep the whole thing afloat. So now I am not only paying taxes to bail out the auto industry but that industry in it's turn is helping to deny me employment as a writer for Dave and his newspaper. Don't you simply love New Harmony? Or is possibly like this out there in Utah and Connecticutt too?
And poor Dave is now in a quandary, I am told. He will not respond to me, and our mutual friend says that he admits to embarassment over his own lack of ......Uh? well lack of .....uh? ....resolve(!) ... in allowing himself to be bullied in such a manner.
I have quietly asked a couple of my friends to Email Dave and prod him to do the manly thing. One person forwarded me Dave's response to their courteous Email inquiring why he did not print my columns as agreed. His answer to them was that he was "under great pressure" and "undecided" about what to do. And that he had "a lot at stake" and that "his whole life" is tied up in the newspaper and other things like that. I pity Dave.
I would prefer to be me, rather than either the people who threatened Dave, or Dave himself. I still have, and intend to keep, my liberty and my ability to tell my story without referring to lot of crib notes or conferring with advisors to keep myself from becoming confused. And those blessings are soon forfeited by all parties on either side of a successful black mail.
Ron Nesler ...Posting from here in New Harmony, Indiana where the opposition to free expression and transparent politics is fierce and hateful.