Monday, May 28, 2012

Speak your mind

One of my favorite Norman Rockwell paintings, Freedom of Speech, is shown below.

It was one of the paintings in his Four Freedoms series, which he produced in 1943. His inspiration for the series was Franklin Roosevelt, who discussed the four freedoms in his State of the Union speech on January 6, 1941,

If you move forward about 70 years, you’ll discover that there are a LOT more ways to utilize that freedom of speech today.

One of the groups that I get mail from on a regular basis is One of their recent memos contained the following phrase: “ You know that old saying, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain?. Personally, I’d go one step further and say it’s not enough to just vote once every two years. People gotta speak out.”

We’ve all got opinions on a variety of topics, and usually express them by phone, email, Twitter, or on Facebook. (Congratulations, by the way, to the bride and groom). A few of us like to appeal to a broader audience, and use online forums or blogs to reach more people.

If you’re a talented musician, you may decide to write a protest song. The song below, released by Buffalo Springfield in January 1967, still seems appropriate today (it includes the phrase “young people speaking their minds”)

For What It's Worth

If you truly want to change something like you don’t like in politics, though, you have to do a lot more than simply casting your vote. During the reigns of Richard I and Richard II in Chicago, even dead people got to cast their votes, but those days are now long gone.

Since moving to Arizona, I’ve written NUMEROUS letters to various members of the legislature. On at least one occasion, I wrote to EVERYBODY in the House and the Senate, and my input helped to kill three absolutely foolish gun bills (SB 1474, HB 2719 and HB 2729). I’ve discovered that quite a few of the folks in the legislature are actually interested in my opinion, and I’ve received personal letters of support from a number of them.

I recently became aware of the fact that the Arizona Secretary of State, Ken Bennett, is also co-chairman for electing Mitt Romney for President. Since that seemed to be a huge conflict of interest, I sent the letter below directly to Mr. Bennett. For good measure, I also sent copies to Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States, Governor Jan Brewer, one of the columnists for the Arizona Republic, and one of the members of the Arizona House of Representatives.

Listed below is my attempt at “speaking out”:


May 26, 2012

Mr. Ken Bennett

Arizona Secretary of State

1700 W. Washington Street

Phoenix, AZ 85007

Mr. Bennett:

Until I read E.J. Montini’s column in the Arizona Republic last Tuesday morning, I was not aware of the fact that you were the co-chairman for the presidential campaign for Mitt Romney. Since you are the chief election officer of the state, that’s an obvious conflict of interest, especially in view of the fact that you threatened to keep President Obama’s name off the ballot in November, in spite of the fact that Governor Brewer had already received all the verification that she needed several years ago from the State of Hawaii.

By serving in the dual role of chief election officer in the state, as well as co-chairman of the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, you are in violation of article 38-503.B of the Arizona state legislature statutes.

Although I voted for George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004, I have since discovered that he actually STOLE both of his elections. In 2004, Ohio became the state that determined the outcome of the election. The Republican Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, served as both the chief elections officer (as do most Secretaries of State) and the co-chair to re-elect George W. Bush.

If John Kerry had won Ohio, he would have won the Presidency.

I’m in full agreement with House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, who also felt that your dual role was a conflict of interest.

Since a large number of Arizona voters (including me) no longer feel that you can be an impartial judge in the November Presidential election, your only recourse, at this point in time, is to either submit to Federal oversight of the election process in Arizona, or resign your position of Secretary of State IMMEDIATLEY.

Thank you.


Thomas M .Brennan




Cc: Eric Holder - U.S Attorney General

Jan Brewer - Governor of Arizona

E.J. Montini - Arizona Republic

Chad Campbell - Arizona Representative


I don’t expect to receive a personal response from Mr. Bennett, but it’s going to be very interesting to see how this story plays out in the newspapers of our country.


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      Thank you for your kind words.

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      Merry Christmas.

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