top of page

12: Where'd everyone go?

Well, I was doxed immediately by our local news, standing in front of my house, before I even got home from D.C. My prior post talks about the logistical nightmare of the days following Jan 6. This post is about the people in my life.

I called my mom and my siblings once I heard about being on the news. They are all local in Chicago, so I knew the spit would hit, if you know what I mean. I had to tell them that, not only had I been in D.C., and not only was I arrested and handcuffed, but that the news networks were going to be splattering my image and my life all over the place. Some of these individuals have a deep hatred of all things Trump, and we had a rocky relationship for many months because of it. This only made the exercise of making the calls more strenuous. But, this was triage, and they needed to know, so they can deal with their own fallout, and that of their own children. My last name isn't Smith. There's no place to hide.

There were reporters at my office, again, before I even got home, bothering the bewildered receptionist and leadership that was there. My business website, and pictures, include that of some key employees, were shown across the land. This was so far beyond acceptable from any reputable journalist. These employees now became targets. My business partner was told that suspending me wasn't enough - I needed to be gone. All of us received hate-emails and voicemails. Were these paid operatives? Who treats people this way? Especially innocent employees doing their job?

If the objective is to destroy relationships completely, they hit their mark. I've worked with many of them for 10+ years, had lived through challenges, joys, successes, and failures in our work and personal lives. These people were an important part of my life. I tried to reach out. To this day, it's fair to say that, except for my business partner, I have not heard from any of them. I've reached out, but, sad to say, have heard nothing back. This is one of the biggest sources of pain for me. I thought at some point there would be some healing. However, the impression I have is that theirs is a righteous anger that has sought to dehumanize me so that they don't have to deal with me or it. It seems like quite the managed response, as in, it was agreed that I would be dealt with that way. My business partner, however, is a close friend, and we are still good friends.

Over the next week, one of my relatives who believes every hoax that has been perpetuated on Trump would tell me that they were considering calling the FBI on me at the end of December. Because I didn't want to attend a function she was at. Given what those of us with eyes wide open see, I could not imagine what would have happened. Some readers here may have been through that, and it is awful.

Over time (like, weeks and months), I would hear from industry friends and acquaintances, who would wish me well, even a few with completely different points of view. I had a college friend who I'd lost touch with over the past many years, write me a postcard, since he didn't know how else to find me. I called him right away.

I have a few, very close friends. As I went through my legal process, the local papers would drum up the same pictures, rehash everything that's happened to me, and then add their own commentary. They need to show that Jan 6 is the worst thing that ever happened, and that it was a "threat to democracy."

What that phrase means, for those who may be uninitiated, is that the political class is threatened by any action that gets in their way. This includes democrats, and most republicans in office. It's not about democracy as in voting. No. It's as in taking their power away. That is what they are really afraid of.

Anyway, back to my close friends. Prior to Jan 6, I had played piano at a memorial service for a good friend's mom. His mom was a mom to all of us, and I am close to their family. After Jan 6, I was uninvited to a birthday party for his dad because I'd become too controversial. Sometime mid summer, another close friend, the kind we've vacationed with, told me he may never talk to me again. And he's been true to his word.

I am fortunate that I've had a pastor who has been very close to me. We had lunch weekly, and he sent me daily bible verses to help with healing. I also have a good friend who, like me, could not understand how people who have known me my whole life could completely absorb what the media portrays, and forget the man they've known for decades. No, I was an insurrectionist.

I also am blessed with the most supportive wife in the world. It is not an exaggeration to say that I would likely not be here right now without her. I'll get to that later. But day in, day out, sitting with me, talking things through, crying together, adjusting together, she's never sat in judgement. At least out loud. And that matters.

There is one person who sat me down and attempted to shame me. Literally telling me that my father, who passed away over 10 years ago, would be disappointed. That I've shamed the family name. And this person cannot understand why I don't want to spend time with them, and I don't.

It is difficult for us people, social animals, to pivot away from a group of individuals who have been such a large part of my life, and be ok. This has made me a harder person in some ways. I assumed that some of these people would come back. That they may realize that I've never stopped being me. If this is what the introduction of fascism does to people and relationships, we will never recover. The politicians, the media, big tech, and antifa work together to create a narrative that is impossible to combat. They are out to eliminate anyone who has any dissent. And recall, all that the Jan 6 protesters wanted was a delay to make sure the states has a chance to look into the election results.

I was the loneliest I'd ever been. I actually started to believe that I'd done something terrible, rather than maintain a healthy perspective. Couldn't people rise above politics? I would drive for hours among my 50 mile boundary. I had never felt so depressed in my life at moments. And I'm a sensitive musician-type. There was a time I wanted to kill myself. I have the medications to do so. I actually tried to convince my wife that it was really the best thing. Enough of this shit. And, as of this writing, there have been three suicides by Jan 6 defendants. Luckily for me, I had prayer warriors I did not know about at the time. I promised my wife I would not bring it up again. My Christian faith saved me. If you are in this situation, it will get better. Keep fighting - there's people that need you to fight. And some will fight with you.

I am immensely thankful for the people that did provide consistent support from afar. Their strength was my strength. They are all remembered in my heart one by one. Those who have given up on me, or demand that I renounce Trump or whatever, I am sad for them. I would hope that they may reach out again at some point, but it does not seem likely.

It was important for me to find new relationships and to figure out how I was going to rebuild. A tale for another day.


bottom of page