America-loving Regular Folks Are the New Radicals

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Posted: Oct 13, 2021 9:27 AM

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In the late 1960s, my oldest brother brought our entire family to the attention of the FBI. He ran an underground newspaper in Flint, Michigan, that questioned authority and advocated for legalizing Marijuana and ending the Vietnam War. 

Unlike some radicals of the time, my brother was a veteran who loved America and shunned communism. But exercising free speech and questioning authority can bring trouble. As a little girl I was aware that my big brother was under scrutiny for criticism of government officials. My parents may not have agreed with all of his views, but they didn’t shield me from them.

In 1979, my parents received a letter from the FBI with notification that our family had been under surveillance during those tumultuous years. It offered a bureaucratic backhanded apology. I remember the moment my dad read the letter at our dining room table. I’m not sure what shocked him more—my brother’s political views or the FBI’s apology. My dad was a

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