There are days and events that change a man’s life forever. I’ve had a few of those. Some of those milestones are the result of either good or bad decisions. Others are simple accidents. Right place, right time. Wrong place, wrong time. Etc.
One such day, for me, was January 9, 1980. At only 19 years old, I’d decided to leave school and accept an invitation to join an internationally touring music group. I stepped off a plane that evening in San Diego, CA and boarded their tour bus. A year and a half later I was standing on a sound stage with that band in Moscow’s giant Soviet Central Television complex before a 500 member studio audience of Moscow’s political and cultural elite. To say that day and subsequent journey forever changed my life would be an understatement of epic proportions. From that point forward my life would always be a tug-of-war, variously pulled between my need to play music and constant desire to write down and comment on my thoughts about politics and world events. At such a young age I’d seen things, done things, learned things about how the machinery of government and religion really works, and I desperately wanted to know more. Over the ensuing decades music paid my bills, (most of the time), and the newspaper headlines endlessly distracted me from my chosen vocation.
There were other life-altering days and events. A marriage, two children, successes and failures in both business and personal relationships, including my failure in that marriage. (Thankfully, all is forgiven and we are now great friends. I even exchanged Christmas presents with my ex’s new husband. Life can sometimes be very strange in the most wonderful kind of way.)
Then, there is the moment I call “The Big Lie.” The most instantaneously transformative moment in my life, where a single question asked of me sparked an immediate flash of awareness in which almost every belief I’d managed to retain from my fundamentalist religious upbringing was crushed by the gravity of previously unrevealed, pure, irrefutable truth. I’d been living and participating in someone else’s deception for over 30 years. It’s a deeply personal story, which requires one more soul to slip from this mortal coil before I unleash the caustic bitterness of my pen upon those involved. (For now, I simply bide my time.)
The coming of the COVID-19 crisis — real, to some extent, and politically manufactured to a greater extent — has certainly been a transformative experience for many of us. Not immediately, but in a slow, grinding, unsettled, out-of-my-control kind of way. For me, someone I never voted for determined that I earned my living in a “non-essential” industry, then told me I needed to sit on the sidelines of life for a few weeks while they got this virus under control. “15 days to flatten the curve” ultimately led to 10s-of-thousands of business failures as lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have now been extended for months on end. In my state of North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper has again extended his lockdown orders through the end of February, effectively denying me my livelihood for an entire year. Then, for how much longer, given the specter of new COVID variants and mutations? It doesn’t appear this crisis is going away anytime soon. Even our new President — after promising to kill the disease — has admitted “there’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.” (Translation: “There’s nothing we WILL do to change the trajectory of the pandemic so long as we’re consolidating our power and the willful submission of the American people to our non-legislative whims and dictates.”)
You know what else didn’t go away this past year, and isn’t going away anytime soon? Neither my personal bills or ongoing business expenses. I’ve managed thus far, but my music corporation will soon be forced into bankruptcy, as is the case with so many thousands of others. Even if entertainment venues are allowed to open after February, the economics of my industry have been altered long into the future. Both pubic and private event venues will be forced to operate under punitive capacity restrictions for an indeterminate amount of time, and quite possibly a federally-mandated $15 minimum wage for their entry-level service jobs. As a result, thousands more will fail to reopen and be permanently shuttered. Performing artists will have a smaller resource pool of available opportunities and will be forced to work at greatly reduced incomes. The big multi-nationals — LiveNation, TicketMaster, and a few others — will survive, and buy up the distressed properties. The oligarchs will eventually own, control, or set the rules, for all. (Sound familiar?)
I came to all those realizations — and have written about them extensively — early on in this “crisis not to be wasted,” so began making moves to expand the reach of The Pragmatic Constitutionalist. And, for the first time, began making attempts to monetize that which had previously been my hobby. That was in April/May of 2020. By October/November, it was becoming apparent that I was being forced into a reinvention of my life. Maybe even a career change. No . . . I wasn’t going to learn to “code,” (Cuomo), and I’m not going to “build solar panels.” (John Kerry) It just seemed logical, because some folks seem to think what I have to say and write is worthy of a larger audience, that I needed to throw all available time and resources into that endeavor.
Time has been abundant. Resources, not so much, as I continue to bleed personal savings to keep my primary business viable should the day come we are allowed back to work. Still, some generous TPC followers helped us acquire professional gear for podcasts and other media needs, and cover the expenses of setting up all the new platforms in which you can now find TPC outside of its original, solitary, 11-year home on Facebook.
Buttressed and encouraged by that support, we made plans to put me on the road for several weeks, doing meet-ups with TPC readers and followers — from Florida to Wisconsin — leaving the day after Thanksgiving and returning home on New Year’s Eve. Concurrent to what I dubbed “TPC Road Trip 2020,” an election happened on November 3rd. According to the NY Times, Mark Zuckerberg had 9-months prior commissioned his programmers to design a “kill switch,” of sorts, so that in the event of a contested election certain voices could be either significantly throttled, if not deplatformed altogether. Within three weeks of the election, and just before embarking upon the road trip, Facebook had restricted our reach to a tiny fraction of our pre-election reach. We went from having anywhere from 50,000 to 150,000 people PER DAY seeing our content, to only an average of 50,000, total, PER MONTH. (You do the math.) Then, Facebook deactivated our ad account, preventing us from boosting posts or buying ads to reach the 35,000 Followers who’d ostensibly said they WANTED to see our posts. We live in an unfortunate cyber reality: “Out of sight, out of mind.” Big Tech’s algorithms determine for us what we should and shouldn’t see. Subsequently, after 11 years of never having a single “community violation” warning, we somehow triggered a succession of fact-checker opinions claiming my opinions differed from the acceptable post-election narrative, and have now been shadow-banned and throttled out of our own followers’ daily newsfeeds. This has left us struggling to let everyone know where we are retrenching and rebuilding.
After the 2020 road trip concluded, I got home long enough to do some laundry, pay some bills, and prepare for a quick, one-day trip up to our nation’s Capitol for the somewhat impromptu January 6th rally announced by Trump, himself, and poorly organized by Women for American First. I announced on all our social media feeds that I’d be going to “observe and report” on whatever was suppose to be “wild,” (as Trump had tweeted). I left Raleigh for DC on the afternoon of the 5th . . . and I’ve not been home since.
My life’s direction was again altered that day. Forced to take an unexpected detour that may even have put me on a new path for the remainder of my time on this planet. I’ve detailed everything I saw and experienced that day in a 9,400 word story on this blog page. There are multiple videos and interviews available on YouTube, Rumble, and all major podcast platforms. (I don’t need to cover that ground, here, again. If you’ve not yet read or seen the story, it’s easy to find.)
It wasn’t only my life that changed that day. The world shifted. Deeply. Tectonically.
There was no Kraken unleashed that day before the gathered throng. Trump had never signed the Insurrection Act. There will be no military coup displacing the Biden Administration. The temple pillars of the Deep State were not pushed down by the deeply-flawed, Samson-archetype named Donald J. Trump. But, something else happened. The new Biden team, along with the entire progressive, neo-Marxist left were handed their greatest PR victory since the Great Depression.
If you were at any of the TPC Road Trip 2020 meet-ups you heard me say, “If you think 2020 was bad, just wait for 2021.” I knew they weren’t done with #CommieVirus2020, but I didn’t foresee the 6th, nor its immediate aftermath. At least not in the form, shape and timing in which it manifested. Following the so-called insurrection at Capitol Hill, CongressCreeps and MSM mouthpieces have suggested the need for “deprogramming” half our nation’s citizenry. Deplatforming and cancellation of conservative and libertarian voices has escalated, with promises of far more restrictions to come, on not just social media speech, but in all areas of public discourse. Many of those who attended the rally in Washington — but took no part in the Capitol violence or “breach” — are being publicly shamed, doxxed, and losing their jobs.
Congress is now considering a bill that will set up task forces through Homeland Security and the FBI aimed at seeking out these new “domestic terrorists.” 100% of the language in the proposed bill focuses on “far right wing violent extremist groups,” “white supremacists,” “White Nationalists,” “neo-Nazis,” and “anti-abortionists.” No mention is made in that bill of “left-wing” groups, “Antifa,” or “Marxist BLM” groups who burnt down and looted numerous American cities last year, and who even now continue their destructive activities. (I’ve already read the entire bill, twice. That’s a FACT.)
I’ve no desire to be a “riot” or “war” correspondent. But I will not be quiet about what I saw, what I now know, and about the anti-liberty darkness now descending upon our nation. I can’t possibly know the full extent of what’s coming, or how quickly, I just know I have to be there — wherever “there” is — using words for as long as possible to convey the truth of what’s happening on the ground. Truth in words is a powerful weapon. It’s why they want to take it from us and are initiating that action at such a frightening pace. We need to use our speech for as long as possible, and as loudly as possible. Indeed, the “soap box” must first be exhausted before we move on to the third phase of Frederick Douglas’s admonition: “A man’s rights rest in three boxes. The ballot box, jury box and the cartridge box.”
While big changes in life are often unavoidable and unpredictable, there has always been one constant thread running through my own minor turns, course corrections, forks in the road, and tectonic shifts. Namely . . . liberty. I have always been a man who must be free of tyranny and out from under the thumb of those who deem themselves more qualified in planning and organizing my thoughts and my labor. (“My body, my choice” has always been a cute little deceit of the left.)
On December 11th, while on that first TPC road trip and somewhere in southern Oklahoma, I heard Joseph Williams’ new song, “Liberty Man.” (Joseph is a brilliant songwriter, the son of famed movie soundtrack composer John Williams, and the lead singer of Toto.)
I am a man who has to be free
To pull up the anchor and set out to sea
To ride the beckoning waves and follow the stars
It’s difficult reinventing one’s self, at any age. At mine, the task is daunting. The unknowns are both frightening and exciting. The only thing that hasn’t changed is that “I am a man who has to be free.” So . . . I’ve pulled up the anchor.
Who among you will sail with me?