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.