I’ve met a lot of whistleblowers, in both the public and private sector. Many end up broke, living in hotels, defamed, (often) divorced, and lucky if they have any kind of job. One I knew got turned down for a waitressing job because her previous employer wouldn’t vouch for her. She had little kids.

The common thread in whistleblower stories is loneliness. Typically the employer has direct control over their ability to pursue another job in their profession. Many end up reviled as traitors, thieves, and liars. They often discover after going public that their loved ones have a limited appetite for sharing the ignominy. In virtually all cases, they end up having to start over, both personally and professionally…

Actual whistleblowers are alone. The Ukraine complaint seems to be the work of a group of people, supported by significant institutional power, not only in the intelligence community, but in the Democratic Party and the commercial press.

In this century we’ve lived through a president lying to get us into a war (that caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and the loss of trillions in public treasure), the deployment of a vast illegal surveillance program, a drone assassination campaign, rendition, torture, extralegal detention, and other offenses, many of them mass human rights violations.

We had whistleblowers telling us about nearly all of these things. When they came forward, they desperately needed society’s help. They didn’t get it. Our government didn’t just tweet threats at them, but proceeded straight to punishment.