Transparency

In a previous post I asked the question, am I a journalist? From reading that, you will know that my answer is yes, under a couple of conditions:

  • That I will be transparent about my worldview and associations.
  • That I will hold to the commitments and habits of a journalist, including retaining a healthy skepticism, relying on verifiable facts and evidence, and remaining fair-minded.

In this post, I try to be as transparent as possible about various items that I think are relevant to understanding my journalistic work and writing. Here they are.

I was born and raised in the Midwest, and I’m damn proud of it. I lived in Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois for almost my entire life before moving to Singapore. (Yeah, that was a bit of a change.)

I self-identify as a secular humanist, and yup, that means I’m an atheist. (I was raised as a Roman Catholic.) I believe a secular society is best. Otherwise, we risk endless religious war.

I was a mainstream journalist for a little while, but then I had to move on. I cover that here.

I spent several years working in the un-paid economy as a stay-at-home dad, raising two boys.

Thanks to my hard-working spouse, we’re doing pretty well. (Based on where she works, don’t expect any poignant commentary or hard-hitting exposés on the construction equipment or mining industries.) We’re in the top roughly two percent of earners and top ten percent of wealth in the US – which is pretty darn good, of course, and ridiculously wealthy on a global scale.

That said, given the shape of the income and wealth distribution, I find it much easier to identify with the 99%. Let’s put it this way: I’m not attending Davos.

I believe in the traditional western liberal values of freedom and individuality, including freedom of expression, free enterprise, and free and fair elections – using the American interpretation of these rights as my baseline.

Even though I identify as a journalist, I reserve the traditional rights of citizenship. I will vote and support candidates and issues I believe are in the best interests of my country and the world.

I have traditionally voted for Democrats because they tend to be in line with my positions. That said, I think party partisanship makes people stupid. I refuse to self-identify as a Democrat and do not consider myself a member of the Democratic party.

In 2016, I voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. And for what it’s worth, I would have voted for John Kasich over Hillary Clinton, but alas, Republican primary voters didn’t give me that choice. I have contributed money to individual Democratic candidates from time to time.

I once briefly helped a Democratic candidate for the US House and have phone-banked for Democratic candidates once. I decided I didn’t like to do either one of those things.

I’ve lobbied Illinois state politicians in opposition to fracking and on behalf of a more equitable tax system.

Based on my reading of the evidence and upon reflection, I believe the following are important to human well-being: a comprehensive welfare state; clean, democratic politics; and strict gun control.

I believe everyone should have the basic stuff of life. We can argue about how to get there, but I really can’t see why not to do this.

I’ve contributed to the groups the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Common Cause, the ACLU, Illinois People’s Action, and Drinking Liberally – sometimes with time, sometimes with money, and sometime with both. I am not an NRA member (surprise!), nor do I own a gun.

I oppose an unlimited right to abortion and the identity politics of in-born traits.

I tried to come up with a pithy summary for my political-economic worldview, and I came up with “socialist for conservative reasons”. I also like “decidedly, but not strictly, left-wing”. Pick your fave.

I’m fascinated by China and Chinese culture.

I hate professional sports, but I love tennis, so I’ll watch those folks.

I enjoy the occasional rainy day.

For more insight on where I’m coming from, please follow me on my blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Medium.

I reserve the right to change my mind.

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