This post was written for and originally posted at TEDx Cherry Creek’s website.
Three years ago, in the dark of night, we drove away with two sleeping babies from our home for the very last time. Our vehicles were sandwiched between armed security as we escaped the only life we knew, and one we loved. Survival mode became a way of life for me and my family.
The headlines from that time have passed but the memory remains. The wider impact on families, communities, and individuals has been residual but, for those of us caught in the maelstrom, it is anything but ephemeral. I am the embodiment of what happens when we don’t value truth, fact, and science. When we allow “fake news” to perpetuate.
I was unknowingly ensnared in a national inquisition, the result of fabricated reporting by bogus scientists who accessed the organization I worked for by underhanded means to obtain an undercover video they then distorted to create a fictitious narrative. A fictitious narrative promoted as “fact”. A fictitious narrative that placed me before a congressional committee, pleading my innocence. A fictitious narrative that ultimately led to a terrorist attack at one of my clinics that left three people dead.
Three years have passed but the harm persists. I believe in a meaningful exchange of ideas — ideas which are based on fact and science. I believe there must be a way to bridge the ever-increasing divide between the polarized sides of our belief systems, one that does not subject individuals and their families to displacement, doxing, and death threats. I believe in protesting causes, not individuals. I also believe in a meaningful existence. By sharing my story I hope to encourage dialogue instead of divisive rhetoric, to put a face to the damage done, and in doing so encourage others to think critically about institutions and systems.