Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 4

Readers Respond Dear Michael Lerner, We have never met, yet you played an indirect role in my life through a meeting you may not even remember. I’m the daughter of the FBI agent who questioned you after you were involved in a student protest at the University of Washington in the early days of 1971. Until recently I didn’t know your name; in the past month, it has come to my attention in three distinct contexts. Allow me to explain. My brother Craig and I grew up in Laurelhurst in Seattle in the 50s and 60s, chil- dren of a lawyer who had joined the FBI during World War II and his homemaker wife, both born and raised in Iowa. My father hated many things about working for the Bureau under Hoover, but had cut a deal with them to take over their division of bank robbery and extortion for the Pacific Northwest in exchange for not being transferred to a new field office every couple of years. His motivation was to provide stability for my brother, who was born in 1943 and strug- gling in school due to undiagnosed learning disabilities. As a Christian A NOTE ON LETTERS TO THE EDITOR who played an active role in the University Congregational Church (a We welcome your responses to our hotbed of liberalism then and now), my dad had a strong moral com- articles. Send letters to the editor to pass, a deep love of history and classical music, and a remarkably gentle letters@tikkun.org. Please remember, nature for a man of 6 feet, 2 inches with a 50-inch chest. He was intel- however, not to attribute to Tikkun ligent, loyal, principled, and compassionate: still my role model though views other than those expressed in he’s been dead since 2000. our editorials. We email, post, and Last month my brother and I were visiting an old family friend in Rancho Santa Fe, reminiscing about our shared childhoods, when she what makes Tikkun a location for a true reminded us of the time my father quit the Bureau suddenly and un- diversity of ideas. Tikkun reserves the expectedly. I still remember Dad telling me about it afterwards—how right to edit your letters to fit available he had been assigned one day to question a young man who had been space in the magazine. detained during a protest at the UW while they drove from campus down to the federal building in Seattle. He described the young man as intelligent and well-educated, respectful, articulate and sincere. They discussed the Vietnam war, which Dad opposed, the Nixon government and the student protest movement. During their conversation, my dad began to question not only what his passenger was doing in that car, but what he was doing there as well. To this day I can still hear the emotion in his voice when he would recall that encounter, saying “That young man could have been my son.” print many articles with which we have strong disagreements because that is My dad, Dean Conrad Rolston, handed in his retirement from the FBI within a week of that meeting. He had been with the Bureau for 29 years, holding on during the last few in order to gain the pension boost he would have earned at 30 years of service. Despite loathing to go to work every morning in a repressive and punitive environ- ment, he was determined to get his kids through college and provide for his family. 4 W W W .T I K K U N . O R G WINTER 2019