I often get asked about — or sometimes criticized for — my choice of “Professional Troublemaker” as a brand for my civil rights advocacy. The name is commentary on what it is like to petition your government for redress here in the 21st century United States. The very first government response to my very first court filing, which merely asked a judge to rule on the constitutionality of the TSA’s body scanners, came along with this gem written by an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice:
While plaintiff assures us that he means no harm to any airplane, a would-be terrorist would make the same assurances.
Since then, I’ve dealt with gag orders preventing me from talking about — well, I can’t say, actually. I’ve dealt with courts asking me to file my documents in a garbage bag. I’ve dealt with government officials threatening the media for talking to me. I’ve been threatened with arrest for refusing to allow a blue-gloved man touch my genitals. I’ve… you get the idea.
In short, the government has done everything it can to dissuade me from asking for change by trying to make me feel like a “troublemaker.” So, I’m claiming the word as my own. If the mere act of requesting my constitutional rights is troublemaking, then a troublemaker I am, and I shall do so proudly and with style.