About Our Guest
John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. His concern for the persecuted and oppressed led him, in 1982, to establish The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties and human rights organization whose international headquarters are located in Charlottesville, Virginia.
He serves as the Institute’s president and spokesperson, in addition to writing a weekly commentary that is posted on The Rutherford Institute’s website (www.rutherford.org), as well being distributed to several hundred newspapers, and hosting a national public service radio campaign. His aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties issues has earned him numerous accolades, including the Hungarian Medal of Freedom.
Whitehead serves as a member of the Constitution Project, which seeks to formulate bipartisan solutions to contemporary constitutional and legal issues by combining high-level scholarship and public education. He also serves as a member of the advisory board for the Innocence Commission for Virginia, a nonprofit, nongovernmental, nonpartisan project dedicated to supplementing the ongoing work in Virginia through recommendations to strengthen the reliability of its criminal justice system and to reduce the likelihood of future wrongful convictions.
He has been the subject of numerous newspaper, magazine and television profiles, ranging from Gentleman’s Quarterly to CBS’ 60 Minutes. Articles by Whitehead have been printed in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and USA Today. He has also been interviewed by the following national and international media among others: Crossfire, O’Reilly Factor, CNN Headline News, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, National Public Radio, BBC Newsnight, BBC Radio, British Sky “Tonight” and “Sunday,” TF1 (French TV) and Greek national television.
The author of numerous books on a variety of legal and social issues, as well as pamphlets and brochures providing legal information to the general public, Whitehead has also written numerous magazine and journal articles. In addition, he wrote and directed the documentary video series Grasping for the Wind, as well as its companion book, which focus on key cultural events of the 20th Century.
Whitehead has filed numerous amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has also been co-counsel in several landmark Supreme Court cases as well. His law reviews have been published in Emory Law Journal, Pepperdine Law Review, Harvard Journal on Legislation, Washington and Lee Law Review, Cumberland Law Review, Tulsa Law Journal and the Temple University Civil Rights Law Review.
Born in 1946 in Tennessee, John W. Whitehead earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas in 1969 and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1974. He served as an officer in the United States Army from 1969 to 1971.
Jan Paynter: Hello. I’m Jan Paynter and I want to welcome you once again to our program Politics Matters. We are delighted and very pleased to welcome back as our guest today John Whitehead to continue discussing his new book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. Welcome back, John.
John Whitehead: Hey, thank you.
Jan Paynter: John, speak a little bit about Citizens United ruling which is something I think about a lot. Our lawmakers are influenced by corporate interests all the time, this is obviously, as you think and I think many of us think, very dangerous because we’ve all become so inured to the idea that we don’t notice really that our government is increasingly, and our lawmakers and politicians, bought and paid for.
But there’s a prevalent attitude that there’s nothing we can do to change it and so people become very apathetic and one of the things I love about your book is you talk about what we can do to push back about this. I wondered if you would talk a little bit about increasing our participation and also at the beginning about, as I said, Citizens United and the implications.
John Whitehead: Yeah, Citizens United ¬– says that basically as you said corporations or persons of the 14th Amendment which means they have all the rights of an American citizen. That’s a number–first of all, the 14th Amendment was not written for corporations, it was written for African-Americans to give them equal rights, they were actually persons now. Under the original Constitution, as you know, they were 3/5ths of a person, very offensive. By giving corporations personhood, they have the same rights as anybody else. These are large corporate entities. What it does, it gives them special protection and they take it and run with it. The corporatization of American life is a little scary. I’m not against large corporations. People have criticized me sometimes and say, ‘You sound like you’re anti-corporate’. No, I’m not against the corporations but corporations exist for profit. Governments exist for one thing, Jefferson, Madison, they all said it, to protect our freedoms. So when those two things converge, you have a large entity that’s there to make money. Like I say, SWAT team raids, 80,000 across the country. Each year they get money for doing marijuana busts so the government’s got an incentive to make money. It’s just like a lot of communities across the country now have red light cameras. All the studies, even the congressional study shows that they increase rear end crashes but cities make millions of dollars from people doing rolling stops and things like that. So the governments are starting to become very corporate in how they view us as sort of consumers, they make money off of us and very few people realize that. To me, at a certain point, that’s going to become very dangerous and again, if you go back and look at history, what was it Hitler said, ‘Free enterprise can’t exist in a democracy’. That’s an actual quote from Adolf Hitler. He wanted free enterprise but he wanted it controlled by the corporate entities. That’s an actual quote. When I read it, I went, ‘Oh, he hit it right’. But like I said, when he was–he came into power, the industrial stepped out to the press and said, ‘We just hired Hitler’ so it’s a–we don’t want to go in that direction. If we can push that back, it’d be great. There are 25 lobbyists per Congressman, 25 lobbyists. I talked to a friend that got elected about eight or nine years ago as a Representative. I won’t say who but he said the first day–the first meeting he had up in D.C. after he got elected, they were all congratulating him. He said the room was full of about 150 people and he called me and said, ‘I’m shocked.’ He said, ‘125 of those people were lobbyists. They weren’t there to congratulate me, they were there to schmooze me, give me a trip’.
Jan Paynter: Oh, sure.
John Whitehead: There’s actually a drone caucus in the House of Representatives of about 50 guys that have already, and ladies, who already sold out to the–and they admit it, they’re part of the drone caucus, they want it. But—to give you another story, I have a friend who works for a Senator. He said when he first went up to work for him, he said, ‘It really shocked me ‘cause they kept saying they needed their afternoons off on Tuesday and Thursday’. He said, ‘I couldn’t figure out what they were doing’. And then he realized. He said, ‘It shocked me that Tuesdays and Thursdays, on a number of days, they take the whole afternoon off, the Congressmen, to connect with the corporate lobbyists and stuff’. That’s a little scary because—and again, I’m not against corporations but they’re supposed to be representing me and you, not some guy with a lot of money, that’s the point. That’s where democracy’s at, that’s where freedom’s at.
Jan Paynter: Well, you bring up lobbyists and in that connection this is a good time perhaps to talk about the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC. What is it and what is its reason for being?
John Whitehead: Yeah, ALEC is a group—a large group, I mean, John Boehner is a member of it. There are a number of politicians and large corporate entities who are a part of it. They write laws for states across the country and some local governments. A lot of the private prison problems we’re seeing today with funding
private prisons are written by groups like ALEC and it’s there to make money. For example, in a private prison if the—the ALEC groups come up and groups connected with it and say, ‘We will give you money, we’ll run your prisons, you’ll make a profit but you have to keep it 90% full’, then they have to pass some new laws. Guess who helps write the new laws to criminalize more behavior? ALEC, so they get money for it. It’s the same corporate problem. I mean, we’ve had cases where little girls want lemonade stands but there’s a law against lemonade stands now. You have to have a $400 permit. We had one lady who wanted to give away bottled water on the street, give it away, not sell it. You can sell it in Phoenix, Arizona. It was 120 degrees a couple years ago, she handed it out at a rally. She stood on a public sidewalk, the police confiscated the water. Said it was “against the law”.
Jan Paynter: So in effect it’s a Good Samaritan law.
John Whitehead: Exactly.
Jan Paynter: Yeah.
John Whitehead: Well, she was doing it. Well, it’s against the law. We threatened to sue the City of Phoenix and they changed the law allowing people to hand out bottled water to people.
Jan Paynter: What a concept.
John Whitehead: But again, we had to force a—threaten to sue them but those are laws written by groups like ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council but they’re there to make money, promote business.
Jan Paynter: Let’s talk about the iris scanner, John, and the—I know in 2014 the FBI has a plan to have a database for this nationwide. You discuss this extensively in your book. To me, it’s the ultimate metaphor for a society that’s being watched, tracked, stamped and numbered and for those of us that remember The Prisoner, it might resonate.
John Whitehead: Oh, The Prisoner is one of my favorites, yep. Patrick McGowan, yep. People should go back and watch that. In fact my wife and I, Nisha, have gone back and watched it. It’s so relevant. It’s basically about a surveillance state and the guy’s a prisoner in kind of a commune where everybody’s happy, there’s a lot of food to eat and a lot of materialism. Yeah, iris scanners are one part of the problem where they can actually study your retina. It’s even more accurate than fingerprinting. Police are already using them in some areas like when you—if you’ll—in the future obviously and again, the FBI’s going to be using them by 2014 all over the country. When you walk into a store or whatever, you’ll be identified immediately and again, if you go back and watch the movie Minority Report, as I show, they use that in Minority Report and that’s all come true. The FBI right now is trying to build a huge database but the other component to this and something we haven’t talked about is DNA. In a recent decision, the Supreme Court said they can force DNA from you now if you’re arrested even for a minor crime. In other words, they put—force a swab into your mouth and take your DNA. The FBI wants a huge DNA database so I talked to a few geneticists and said, ‘What does that mean?’ There’s a couple problems. I don’t like the forced—I mean, people should be able to consent to it but forced to give over your DNA. Geneticists tell me as far back as some of your distant relatives they can tell whether or not you have aggressive tendencies. They can actually create a map of your personality. So in the future, what one geneticist said to me, he says, ‘In the future, at a public school or schools they’ll have your genetic map’. Teachers will be alerted to you probably on their laptops or whatever technology of that time, that student, is he a rebel, was he related to John Lighthead or Jan Paynter, people like that. Does he have a tendency to be radical in the future?
Jan Paynter: That’s very scary.
John Whitehead: This is what they’re telling me because there’s a gene virtually for everything.
Jan Paynter: Well, you talk in the book about biometrics which goes to exactly what you’re talking about, all the salient characteristics that people have.
John Whitehead: But what I tell people is when you hear these things like the DNA is forcing—the Supreme Court’s forcing people to give their DNA over, what does that mean, why is that happening in America. Why does the FBI want iris scanners? Why do they want our DNA—everybody’s DNA? Well, they say it’s like fingerprints. Well, not—a fingerprint can identify me but what DNA does, it gives a profile of your entire history by the time you’re born. So they tell me that that can be used as sort of a profiling of an individual. Okay, Jan Paynter, you’re related to Thomas Payne, ah, that rebel.
Jan Paynter: Oh, I see, I see, yeah.
John Whitehead: Yeah. We may have to watch you because you may have to be controlled and we talked about drugs a little earlier. Drugs are rampant in society. I mean, prescription drugs. They’re everywhere. In these cases that we get involved where people are put into mental hospitals like the guy I talked about in the last program, Brandon Robb, a Marine who was arrested and put in the mental hospital for a Facebook post, we discovered through our research that a lot of the doctors connected in those mental institutions are representatives with the pharmaceutical industry.
Jan Paynter: Oh, not a surprise, hmm.
John Whitehead: What I’m saying is, research, know, think. I have a shirt that I wear, it just has one word across it, ‘Think’. And people say, ‘What does that mean?’ ‘Think. When things happen, think about it’.
Jan Paynter: Yeah, asking that question actually is kind of a tip off. Let’s talk a little bit about GPS technology. You touched on it in our earlier program. What are some of the greatest challenges to maintaining appropriate use of what as you have said could be a life saving technology?
John Whitehead: Oh, GPS—coming over to do your program today we had a GPS device. The problem with the GPS devices are several. One, it’s run by the military so it’s—actually it’s monitored by the military, it’s not a civilian thing, it’s not a private thing so you actually have the military scoping where you’re going. Some states are actually introducing now electronic license plates which will be tapped in not only by the GPS system but by drones so you’ll be able to watch—but we’re coming to a society that has absolutely no privacy. One of my friends is Steve Leckar who argued the Supreme Court case of Antoine Jones where the police put a GPS device on his car, underneath, without a warrant. Well, I helped him with the case. He comes down and speaks to me occasionally. But the Supreme Court’s rule, you’ve got to have a warrant to do that. But again, with all the things we’re seeing, if your car can be tracked now without even a GPS device, just from the electronic equipment on it, there is going to be no privacy. So what we’ve developed in our society is we’ve all become human goldfish kind of and that’s—when you’re talking about these technologies, that’s it, everybody’s looking in. As Orwell said, you have to live your life as if you’re always being watched or listened to and the question is, can you have a free society like that?
Jan Paynter: Oh, exactly.
John Whitehead: I always say this, if I’m doing this all the time, who’s watching me, am I really free. Google’s supposedly come out with a new software they’re going to be implementing and the president admits it—of Google, the president of the corporation—that will identify problematic phrases. So, if you’re somewhat anonymous on Google, if you utter a problematic phrase, you’re automatically reported to your boss and the government. So what’s a problematic phrase? Let’s see here. ‘The government’s gone too far.’ ‘It might be time to get out on the streets and picket.’ Those are all problematic phrases. You can come up with many more. So, the definition of privacy, you can do it under law all you want but it’s the cultural definition that’s more important because it’s how the corporation views us or how the government views us now as things that are put in files. Like I said, the—in this “A” computer in Utah that’s so powerful it actually parses the information, gives it to the agent—the FBI agent, Department of Homeland Security and groups like that so the computer is actually running the show and the computer doesn’t care about privacy.
Jan Paynter: Sure.
John Whitehead: Drones will be able to hack into WiFi networks, your cell phone and those things. If you’re driving along, you think you have privacy in your car, oh, no.
Jan Paynter: No. It’s—we’re in the land of hell.
John Whitehead: You’ve got it.
Jan Paynter: Years ago I had a friend who came here, we used to email back and forth and he said, ‘You want to be very careful about particular words. I could be deported if I say certain things’, and I thought he was being rather paranoid then.
John Whitehead: I’ll give you a really good story to illustrate this. We have a friend that lives north of Charlottesville here and there’s a lot of flyovers here, our house rattled a few times so we just emailed him. He used to do work in some Secret Service stuff. We asked him what’s going on. Well, he emailed back and said they’re doing operations in the mountains here ‘cause it’s similar to Pakistan or somewhere. It was one paragraph. The next day two NSA agents showed up at his door with their guns, told him that if he did anymore emails to Rutherford Institute on that subject they would deport him, they would take him outside the country. He was in my office the next day crying—this is a former vet—scared to death. This happened in our local community. So, are we being watched? Yes. It’s frightening. I mean, I know people who say, ‘I won’t say that and I won’t do that’ on text messages? This is America? You have to pre-censor yourself now ‘cause you’re afraid someone’s watching, you might be a little radical. Scary.
Jan Paynter: I have a friend of mine and we always play a game. We always stop and say, ‘Hi, whoever’s out there listening’, because I have a landline for precisely that reason but of course I’m on a cell so it cancels that out.
John Whitehead: I had a radio show guy just email me. He said, ‘John, I want you to be on the show, I’ve read your book, it’s really good’, he said, ‘but the Feds already know what I’m saying anyway so’, that’s how he ended the email.
Jan Paynter: Oh, yeah. A great irony I found in reading your book was the idea that security technology can also become a powerful job creator so once again, we’ve become complicit in this whole process.
John Whitehead: There’s a whole industry. The biggest employer in this country is the government so when you’re criticizing government, you’re criticizing a lot of people and some of them don’t like it. I run into them, they say, ‘Yeah, you’re—we just don’t like what you’re saying’. Then I run into good people who say, ‘We do’, so there’s a lot of them out there but yeah, it does create jobs and for contractors too. Many Americans don’t know that the—one of the biggest employers of government are private contractors. We heard about Halliburton, big huge groups like that. Some of the groups over in Iraq, they got in trouble for beating and shooting civilians, were all private contractors that we the taxpayer pay for and virtually no discipline for their activities.
Jan Paynter: John, would you speak to the increasing use of the so-called “non-lethal weapons” which you talk a lot about in the book and how they can slip through our observational radar and thus avoid citizen outcry.
John Whitehead: Yeah, one thing people have to—people say, ‘Where did we get off—what happened to us?’ and as I’ve written in a number of my other books, all the war technology, actually starting in World War II, is tested overseas and is brought home. One was tasers. Tasers were used first in Iraq and Afghanistan, then they came home to local police. Drones, as we all know, have been tested overseas, now they’re coming home. So what we’re seeing is all these things come back. One is the non-lethal weapons; pepper spray, tasers, rubber bullets, sound canons which can smash your eardrums by the way. I’ve actually seen—was it 2009 Pittsburgh they used sound canons against American citizens there at a protest. People scatter ‘cause they pierce your eardrums and some people go deaf because of it. There’s—even Rumsfeld’s ray gun—this is another really weird devise—that actually shoots an electromagnetic beam at you and it makes your skin heat up. In test subjects, they tell people that have zippers or anything metal ‘cause those things light up and burn you.
Jan Paynter: That’s incredible.
John Whitehead: Used against American citizens though out on the street, you’re not going to be able to—you might have your keys in your pocket. Zoo-bah! You’re going to have a burned leg. These are all available and they are now in the possession of government agents in our country. Hopefully they’ll not be used but I wouldn’t count on it if people get radical such as the Occupy. Remember, 2011 the Occupy people were brutally put down. I show pictures of Dorli Rainey, I think it was Seattle or Oakland, the 80 year old woman. She’s walking along with pepper spray dripping down her face. The fellow at Berkeley, the policeman who pepper sprayed students who were sitting down bent over. So there you go. It can be very, very dangerous but first we have to remember, it’s tested overseas and guess who makes the money off of that, the corporate interests that make these things.
Jan Paynter: It’s interesting, you bring out in the book too that people are a bit lulled into a false sense of security because this technology of non-lethal weaponry seems to be less offensive to people than say what happened to Rodney King ‘cause you don’t see what’s occurring.
John Whitehead: Yeah, but I show in my book little old ladies in their front yard are getting tasered. There was a, what, a five year old kid about a month ago somewhere got tasered. I read about it. He got tasered by a policeman and one was pepper sprayed. These are children and older ladies.
Jan Paynter: John, I wanted to circle back. In the first program we talked about—you talked about drone technology which is—figures prominently in the book. What would constitute appropriate use of drones in your view?
John Whitehead: Oh, drones can be again for rescues, a number of things; putting out border fires, they can put the right kind of implements on them. That’s why—they need to be regulated ‘cause the biggest fear I have of drones is they’ll put free speech protestors down and let me explain. It’s the miniature drones we have to worry about, the hummingbird drones. Go on YouTube, I tell people, and watch the hummingbird drone. It’s—looks like a hummingbird, you can’t tell the difference between it. It can come up to your window and film you, listen to you. There’s a new prototype mosquito drone which they say will be used to extract DNA from you. It’ll land on you—you won’t be able to see it—but we all know what mosquitoes do, they inject. So again, I go back to a protest. If you want to put down a protest really silently and everybody got drunk or went away, you just send in some mosquito drones. They actually have dragonfly drones that fly in unison. They’re coming down the street with weapons, what are you going to do? It’s not like it used to be where the police would walk up and say, ‘What are you out here for? What authority? You have to move on’. When people see dragonfly drones and they know what they are, they’re going to run and hide.
Jan Paynter: Well, and again, what you brought out earlier which is the potential use by non-military, non-governmental corporations, companies, marketing to individuals is chilling.
John Whitehead: I had a student study with me last summer. He said, ‘I’ve got something to show you, Mr. Whitehead’. I went out—a brilliant kid, John Hopkins—pulls his drone out, unfolded it and flew it around the office. So people are already using drones under FAA airspace.
Jan Paynter: I know another thing, John, that people are concerned about is President Obama signing off on roughly a third of all the drone strikes and that this sets troubling presidential precedent for years to come. Can we ever hope, John, do you feel, that the courts will be able to keep pace with drone technology?
John Whitehead: No, I don’t think they will. I’ve been a lawyer for 40 years. Arguing in the courts now has become much more difficult. The courts themselves, they’re human beings. The judges are not any different than you or I. Some may be less intelligent, I don’t know. I’ve talked to judges that don’t seem to understand the Constitution. We want to argue in the courts but I don’t think the courts are going to be the ultimate answer. I always say the American people, we the people, are going to be the ultimate answer but it’s going to be—as we’ve seen with recent Supreme Court decisions in Kentucky vs. King, if a SWAT team arrives at your door and it’s the wrong address and they have no warrant, if they think you’re doing something illegal, they can go through your door? Eight to one decision of the Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it was the end of the 4th Amendment. They think you’re doing something illegal they can go through your door? Well, people get shot and killed in those raids so—There’s been even worse Supreme Court decisions than that recently. I don’t—the age of the Warren Court that I revered. The Miranda warning—they don’t even have to give you Miranda warnings now with a recent Supreme Court case if you’re taken into custody but not arrested. That’s awful. If you stand on the 5th Amendment, the Supreme Court now upheld an opinion saying, ‘If you stand on your right to not be incriminated, that’s evidence of guilt, that can be seen as evidence of guilt’.
Jan Paynter: John, I wanted just to ask you about the 9th Amendment which happens to be a favorite of mine and in doing research for a prior program on the Constitution, what I discovered is that certain members of the Supreme Court abhor the 9th Amendment and I wonder why you think that is.
John Whitehead: I think they abhor both the 9th and the 10th Amendment which basically coalesce into one thing saying that we the people have all these rights, we retain them, and state and local bodies are basically under the principle of federalism. When I say federalism a lot of times people go, ‘What’s that?’ What federalism says is there’s—America is not a national government, it wasn’t intended to be. It’s a conglomerate of national, county, state, towns and they all have this political power and then you have ‘We the People’. We have—any rights not mentioned in the Bill of Rights we still retain so it gives a great amount of power to local communities and the people. If you want a large national government that’s going to intrude in everybody’s life, you’re not going to like the 9th and 10th Amendments. In fact, you’re going to be a little disdainful of the Bill of Rights, which I see all the time. I talk to—I’ve talked to a few policemen who are just like, they growl at you when you mention the 4th Amendment. They shouldn’t, they should reach out and give me a hug and say, ‘Well, at least you know what it means’. So— The way things change in America, positively, are not top down, it’s from bottom up.
Jan Paynter: Oh, very much so.
John Whitehead: I always tell people this. What’s the three most beautiful words in the English language? We the people. That’s how the Constitution begins. If we’re going to change the things, it’s up to us to do it. Look in the mirror and if you’re not participating, go out and participate and look in that mirror and congratulate yourself.
Jan Paynter: I want to leave people with some positive solutions because that’s how you end your book and that’s what we believe on this program so let’s discuss some positive solutions that we can take. You describe Martin Luther King and the example of non-violence which I know is extremely important to you.
John Whitehead: Yes.
Jan Paynter: What primacy going forward can we give to education and understanding so that we can familiarize ourselves with the Bill of Rights which you enumerate in the closing pages of the book?
John Whitehead: Yeah, the schools, as I say, the civics education is not well taught these days. I think you can do it at home, though. I mean, numerous groups like Rutherford Institute—we have Bill of Rights pamphlets you can teach your kids at school. I think people need to organize locally, if you believe in freedom and you want freedom. It’s like we did in Charlottesville, we passed a drone law regulating drones. You can do that but you have to get involved. That means getting out of your house, sometimes skipping a trip to the mall to take a trip down to your local governmental body. You can do those things. I tell people to—we all have this technology now—get hooked up electronically to groups. You’ll be watched but if you’re non-violent and legal, you get in trouble, you call people like the Rutherford Institute and other groups who might want to help. I think in the end though and I talk a lot about Martin Luther King especially in the end of the book, he said he reached the point of no return, was he going to take action or sit back and watch and he just decided he was going to take action and what happened? The Civil Rights acts, we got that; we got African-Americans into the culture where they were crammed in places—unsavory places in the south and otherwise—and he changed the face of the nation but he did it through non-violence. I hear a lot of people talking about violence these days. Violence does not work. All the great thinkers from Tolstoy who was a great advocate of non-violence and a great writer; Gandhi, you go down the list; the principle of Jesus in the New Testament; all non-violent. There are people I run into today that are stockpiling weapons, bombs, guns and what I tell them is, ‘In the end, that’s not going to be it. You may shoot somebody but you’re not going to change things that way. You’re thinking like the people in the Soviet Union thought who took over government. We don’t want violent revolution.’ All revolution means is a turning over. I want to see a revolution but I want to see a revolution of peace and where we treat people with dignity and where we promote freedom. People say we sound like a salesman. I sure am. I’m a salesman of freedom.
Jan Paynter: John, thank you very much for spending such a considerable and worthwhile amount of time with us today and for doing two programs. I think it’s so important that people hear what you have to say.
John Whitehead: Thanks for your good work, too.
Jan Paynter: Thank you very much. Blind obedience to power is just that, blind. In my view, this is a distortion of what the Statue of Blind Lady Justice was designed to convey. These days, her statue may serve as a powerful, double-edge metaphor for guarding against unintended consequences of the abuse of law in our democratic republic. As I wrote in the mission statement for this program four years ago, people are their principles. Most particularly at this time in our nation’s history, how and what we collectively decide will define what is meant by the word American. Perhaps then, it is worth seriously considering the idea of living up to the ideals of our best selves as our founders envisioned it and seek to fully engage, become informed and participate in our democracy, even if, at times, that becomes uncomfortable. John’s wonderfully well-researched and insightful book, which we have been discussing today, is a noteworthy call to action in the service of preserving our founder’s ideals for a fully free and representative democracy. Thank you again, John, for doing this today.
John Whitehead: Thank you.
Jan Paynter: Thank you at home for joining our conversation. If you would like more information concerning the issues under discussion today, we invite you to take a look at our website at politicsmatters.org. We will be posting a number of books, articles and relevant links on many of the issues under discussion today there for you. You will also find a complete archive of all prior Politics Matters programs which you may watch in their entirety at any time. We will also be posting extended versions of the interviews online as well on our new site and we will continue to be adding more content. As always, we are very interested in hearing from you with any questions, ideas and concerns for future programs. We encourage you to email us at email@example.com. We air on PBS WVPT on the last Sunday of every month at 11:30 am. Thank you again and until next we meet, I’m Jan Paynter and this is Politics Matters.