According to The Post, former Athens County Democratic Party chairwoman Susan Gwinn has threatened an Ohio University student with the possibility of a libel lawsuit. Her beef? A letter to the editor published in the Athens NEWS on Jan. 18, in which that student wrote the following:
Certainly the cleanup has begun with Gwinn, but Susan Gwinn has been mucking up the Athens County government and spreading the corruption around for a long time.
In her letter demanding a notarized correction, Gwinn declares that the above statement is “untrue and libelous.” For those who are not familiar with the back story, Gwinn was recently convicted of two misdemeanor charges related to falsifying campaign finance reports in her failed 2008 bid for Athens County prosecutor. Gwinn subsequently resigned as chairwoman of the Athens County Democratic Party, but is now seeking reelection to the county party’s central committee.
Now that the back story’s out of the way, here’s the upshot: I am the student that Gwinn has threatened with a libel lawsuit.
As I told The Post, I have absolutely no intention of retracting or “correcting” anything I said in my Jan. 18 letter to the editor published in the Athens NEWS. I don’t know why Susan Gwinn has chosen to single me out, of all the many people who have written and spoken about her. What I can tell you is that she picked the wrong person.
I believe that I have a First Amendment right to speak my mind about the job that my supposed public servants are doing. As a former county party chairwoman and current announced candidate for the county party’s central committee, Gwinn certainly falls into that category. I will not be silenced by her or any other politician because they don’t like what I have to say. If Gwinn didn’t know that about me before she sent me a letter demanding a notarized correction, she should have done her Google homework a little better. This blog would have been a good start.
I write because I believe that the written word makes a difference. I believe that it can change minds, move hearts, and, when necessary, cause the political equivalent of earthquakes and tsunamis to bring change to our government for the sake of the people of this country and, in this case, the people of this county. I believe I have a talent for this, however small compared to that of others, and I will never stop writing to take back this country — from an obscure, heavily Democrat county in Southeastern Ohio all the way up to the White House.
I will fight for my First Amendment right to use my God-given talent for the written word to make a difference in the world. Although I would prefer not to, I will take that fight to court if Ms. Gwinn decides that’s necessary. But I will not retract, I will not “correct,” and I will not be intimidated into silence. I will not back down.
But I do think I touched a nerve. Don’t you?