September 7, 2023, marks my eighth year as a writer for PolitiChicks. It has been an interesting journey writing for this great site, created by some very remarkable women. Upon reflection, I realize with humble pleasure
that my path as a writer has been greatly determined by women throughout my life.
My Mother was my earliest and greatest fan. She encouraged my writing. After she passed in March of 2018, I discovered that she had saved a great deal of not only my articles but various notes from me. Mother, herself, was a great sender of cards and notes and my Uncle Dennis recently recounted that
she had shared all of my PolitiChicks articles with him, too. Mom paid me the ultimate compliment when she stated in our last visit in October 2017 that I had worked hard to become an apt musician, and I was. But she added that my writing talent was “God given.”
My creative writing teacher in High School, Margaret Smith, was a great recognizer and encourager of my
efforts as both a writer and a reader. After my mother, Ms. Smith was the first person to recognize my addiction to the written word. She published many works of mine in school periodicals. She was also a Blues fan and encouraged my early efforts as a Blues singer/guitarist.
The path to PolitiChicks started in the Summer of 2013, towards the very reflective first anniversary of the Benghazi attacks that killed my nephew, Sean Smith, Ambassador Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. That’s when I connected with another mentor, Ginni Lamp Thomas. Ginni is a lawyer, a brilliant writer, and best friend (and wife) to Justice Clarence Thomas. I value my friendship with Ginni Lamp Thomas; she is an outstanding person who has always told me the truth.
Ginni and another wonderful patriot, Connie Hair, organized a Benghazi Memorial Committee to acknowledge
the first anniversary of the attacks. With no doubt considered, Ginni is not only a charming person, but an astute activist. In addition to myself, some of the members that were on that Benghazi Committee were heavy hitters such as Allen West, Dan Bongino, and Tom Fitton. I was honored to be in their company. I appreciated their humanity.
During that period, I mentioned to Ginny in a casual conversation that I had written several music journalism pieces throughout the years. It was this simple revelation that led her to suggest, “You should write an op-ed about Benghazi and how there is no accountability!” Ginni was working as a journalist for the Daily Caller, so through her contacts she connected me with the Opinion Editorial department. I wrote a half dozen or so articles for the Daily Caller; they are still out there, all Benghazi-related.
During this period in 2013, I was working closely with Congressman Frank Wolf, (Republican, VA-10). I
supported his efforts to establish a bipartisan select committee to investigate Benghazi and part of that
process was sending letters of support to Congressman Wolf. He would sometimes read letters like mine as part of a “Dear Colleague” reading that he did on the House floor. I remain honored to be part of the United States Congressional record, even if Congress does not always behave honorably.
A copy of one of my letters to Congressman Wolf was given to then-FOX News journalist, Catherine Herridge.
Catherine has been a serious advocate for accountability about Benghazi and for me, by this time writing for the
Daily Caller had grown stale.
Sensing my frustration, Catherine Herridge connected me with FOX News Opinion Editor, Lynne Jordal Martin. Lynne was another great mentor to me when I wrote for FOX. She helped to make me a better writer. But her greatest gift to me was getting me to open up and write about my brother George’s suicide. That act of kindness was the first step in my writing several articles about the subject of suicide, including several later pieces that are in my archives here at PolitiChicks.
In turn, many people have reached out to me because of those articles, asking for advice or solace in
the aftermath of the suicide of a loved one. I take that as an honor and a Christian responsibility to aid
those who suffer as I once suffered.
The last article that I wrote for FOX was a May 2015 tribute to the then-recently deceased Bluesman,
B.B. King. It was titled, “Remembering B.B. King: A Healer and a Gentlemen.” This article was a
blueprint for my future aspirations as a writer and citizen journalist.
In my mind’s eye, I was not just an angry Benghazi family member writing articles that railed against the
corrupt Obama empire. At the time those words needed to be written and read, especially considering the Obama administration had very little “truth” behind their many scandals. But I also wanted to use my longtime experience as both a musician and a music historian to a greater effect in my writing. Was it possible to do both?
If my memory serves me well, it was around late July in the summer of 2015 that I became aware of PolitiChicks owner/editor Ann-Marie Murrell and the writers at PolitiChicks after reading a Benghazi article by one of their writers. My wife felt that PolitiChicks would be a good, solid platform for me to write for. As citizen journalism is not profit driven, comfortability with the editorial policy of a platform is necessary. For me the bottom-line is to get the truth out, especially since the mainstream media stopped being a sanctuary for the truth decades ago. I also noticed that the site had an entertainment section. (Hmmm, this might be a good fit..)
I sent an email to Ann-Marie expressing my desire to write for the site. I received a response the next day and I was off and running. I immediately liked Ann-Marie; she and PolitiChicks were (and continue to be) serious activists for accountability about Benghazi since it happened.
My first article for PolitiChicks was published September 7, 2015, titled “Benghazi Family Member 3 Years Later: Unanswered Questions, Unanswered Prayers.”
I felt I had found part of my ‘home’ with that first article, but it was my third PolitiChicks piece that sealed the deal when they published my posthumous tribute to Bluesman B.B. King entitled, “Happy Birthday B.B. King: An Appreciation”. It was an acknowledged on what would have been B.B.’s 90th birthday.
Ann-Marie is a huge music fan and has always been open to my music pieces. The past eight years have
led me to write extensive profiles and tributes to musicians such as Duane and Gregg Allman, The Band, Jeff Beck, Joanna Connor, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Donna Herula, Eddie Hinton, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson, Nathan Pope, Elvis Presley, Charlie Watts, and Howlin’ Wolf, among my favorites. And I am presently working on a heartfelt tribute to recently deceased musician Robbie Robertson; he was a great influence on this author.
I have always felt that the best influence America has bestowed upon the world has been our music, especially the roots of our music such as Blues. As a music historian and devout musician, I will continue to be a guardian of the best of America’s music in my articles on this site, while ignoring the false and the plastic.
I will also continue to write political pieces because we need to expose those that are corrupt, evil, fraudulent or enamored with themselves without any real accomplishments to their name (such as Biden). We Citizen Journalists, Soldiers for Christ, and Digital Warriors need to continue to be well-armed with facts and hard research in our continuous struggle against the active tyranny that inflicts us all.
Lately the area in which I believe I have found my individual voice as a PolitiChicks writer is with my Christian and social issue pieces. Articles such as the recently republished June 2019 article, “Hard Boiled Christianity,” feed my faith. This specific article and others like it revealed my grateful belief that Jesus Christ is my Savior. These days my eye is on eternity and experience teaches the best creative works are created within the will of God.
The editorial policy of PolitiChicks has allowed me to write candidly about the disease of suicide and my own brother’s completion of the act. Truth is not always beautiful, nor does it always come with a pretty silk ribbon. But PolitiChicks has always published well-researched articles that shine a consistent light on the truth. Sometimes those are hard truths and that takes courage. I have consistently referred to Ann-Marie Murrell on social media as “Mother Courage”. More important than titles, Ann-Marie has become and remains, my friend.
I consider many of the PolitiChicks contributors, past and present, to be friends, mentors and influences. The
inspiration and counsel that I have received from my fellow writers is part of my path. I value the inspiration and the interactions I have had with PolitiChicks contributors J.P. Sloane, Sonya Sasser, Lainie Sloane, Dr. Fredric Eichelman, Becky Noble, Katherine Daigle, and Daniel Greenfield, among many, colleagues all.
But the most courageous woman in this story is my wife. She always provides me with the truth–sometimes a hard truth–but ultimately delightful, in that she has been a consistent Editor and contributor to my written work. She is the best editor I know, and with the exception of the majority of my music pieces she has astutely edited and added to my work. I count myself lucky and I am eternally grateful for her contributions and her love. She continues to provide me with a wealth of inspiration and information.
The litany of literary women in my life have informed my intensity and my wisdom as a writer and all the aforementioned have my eternal thanks.
I’m looking forward to 2024 and, God willing, I am looking at producing a collection of some of my best PolitiChicks articles. The broad lessons of this life are to be embraced–in word and in deed.