There’s a lot to say, but I don’t know how much I’d like to reveal.
I am a father of three, hopefully more in the future. I’ve never disliked children, but becoming a father has really changed how I view the world, and which things I choose to put my time into. I see how difficult it is to function “at 100%” when there are children to play with, feed, and tuck in, and that has given me a better perspective on selfishness and its prevalence in the world. I like to teach my children, so we go on a lot of outings and have a lot of “deep” conversation, at least at their level. I can honestly say I know my children, and I hope that won’t change as they grow older. My kids are my life, and I know a person can’t really understand fully what that simple phrase means unless they are a parent too.
I am a husband. I’ve had a difficult marriage, but I’m proud to say I’m still married to the same person I was married to when I first got married. I know that I would not have survived the least of these trials without the perspective I have of where my life is headed and why. I’m not the best husband by any means, but I know where I’m lacking and work to better those areas.
I am a regular, faithful churchgoer. I’m pretty strict in keeping the Sabbath. Sometimes I might be a little overboard in my enthusiasm for religion. That wasn’t always the case: I spent over fifteen years of my young adulthood searching for the mystical “truth” out in the world. I was earnest in my search (investigating several Christian denominations, some pagan groups/practices, and a handful of Eastern religions) and I took good notes. After I gave up my search, I took a hedonistic approach to life, and hit “rock bottom”. While I crawled around in my dark self-pity, several things in my environment changed, and when I lifted up my head, it was not possible for me to shake of the “coincidences” that pointed me in the direction that put me back together. It hurts me when I hear people, puffed up in their own understanding, attack the religious as “superstitious” or “judgmental”, because I know if they could step down from their soapbox and give it a sincere try, their view would be different.
I was a Boy Scout. I earned my Eagle Scout award while in the program, and later helped out with the Cub Scout program. Thanks to the Boy Scouts of America, I have a deep appreciation for nature, self-reliance, and being prepared. Despite the bad press the organization has received, both through attacks by people who seek to erase “Boy” from the organization, as well as from the isolated incidents of abuse that have been magnified in the media, I feel that BSA is an essential character-builder. In addition to learning order and citizenship, it helps young men investigate a variety of activities and skills, helping them at an early age find a direction they may wish to pursue in life.
I am an amateur radio operator. It may seem kind of nerdy to some, but I’d wanted to get my FCC license since I was a kid, and in studying for the exams I’ve learned a lot about communication. I volunteer with some “emergency nets” in our area, and feel that having an understanding of amateur radio is an essential part of emergency preparedness, as well as a protection of our right to free speech.
I am a member of the NRA. While that doesn’t mean I whole-heartedly agree with every bit of propaganda I’m given, membership does allow me to see the under-reported side of the issue of gun control and our second amendment rights. I grew up with firearms, having hunter’s education when I was in the 8th grade, and know that there is a lot of truth to the “guns don’t kill people – people kill people” argument. (Can the same be said of a pit bull?) I used firearms infrequently when living in major metropolitan areas on both coasts, mainly because firearms were unpopular (that is an under-statement!), and there weren’t a lot of places to shoot. When I moved to my current location, I found public land in abundance, and a community of firearms-friendly citizens, so I got back into the sport. I hunt (somewhat unsuccessfully), practice marksmanship frequently (quite successfully), and am a trained concealed weapons permit holder.
I am a registered voter. While I’ve never voted strictly along party lines, a little more than half the politicians I have voted for have been republican, and I am beginning to favor some Libertarians. I prefer to investigate (in depth!) the issues and those politicians who both claim a particular stance favorable to my beliefs and have the record to back up their claim. For this particular reason I did not vote for Obama in the most recent election. For other reasons (if you read my blog you’ll begin to understand), I am anxious for his term to be up so we can elect someone who can do a good job as president and who can salvage the US Constitution.
I am not racist. While I understand to a degree the idea that race provides a “richness” of experiences, I believe this “richness” is no more than a little spice sprinkled on the actual substantiative portion of a person’s existence: how that person behaves in society, how that person behaves spiritually, how that person behaves in private. I think that the overwhelming majority of the time “race” should have absolutely no bearing on anything whatsoever. I strongly believe that racism exists not only in the past as whites subverting blacks and other minorities, but that it exists in the present, among all colors, any time a person is assumed to behave one way or another because of their outward appearance. A black college professor accusing a white policeman of “racial profiling” is as racist as a white person suspecting a black of being “up to no good”. It’s wrong all around.
I believe in Native American rights. A portion of my ancestry were native peoples on this continent, and I would not be who I am without any part of my background. While I don’t buy into all the stereotyping of Native American “Wise Elders” that Whites like to portray in film (meaning I don’t worship NA’s, have a dream catcher in my Prius or wear howling-wolf t-shirts), The rights of the earliest people on this continent have been routinely abused and taken, partly because of some tricky wording in our constitution, and partly because of a hundred-year-old media campaign that has effected ignorance in modern generations.
I support midwifery and natural birth. My wife is a little more militant about her views when compared to my own, but my stance is that women have been giving birth “naturally” since Eve, and modern medicine only began taking over the moment in the 1930’s. Modern medicine is actively trying to eliminate midwifery from our country (it’s more protected in a handful of European nations), and does its best to promote an image of midwifery as being dirty and dangerous, with hospitals being clean and safe. The truth is far from that – but the best I can do is point to the actual infant and mother mortality rates: they are the same. So while modern medicine treats birth (which is as natural as getting pregnant in the first place!) as a “medical emergency”, natural births are perfectly safe, excepting a very, very small number of extreme complications (which are nearly as dangerous in a hospital anyway). A lot of the things a hospital does actually increase the danger to a mother – using drugs to ‘relieve pain’ (so you can’t push as well, so your body can’t feel when something is wrong, so your baby comes out drunk instead of awake and ready for life), inventing deadlines (nature takes its time!) and cutting the baby out or injecting drugs to ‘speed it up’ when those deadlines aren’t met, etc. I’m not anti-hospital, or anti-western medicine … I only wish they’d quit trying to squeeze out their competition so that the public could make informed decisions about their care.
Moving away from the “big city” life I had before has made me more “country” or “traditional” in the same way that overseas travel has made me more “American”. I’m more aware of the differences between urban and rural living, and those differences are political, social, economic, spiritual and truly ‘cultural’. This ‘simplicity’ or ‘traditional living’ is similar to the ‘back to basics’ movements of the 60’s and 70’s, and is certainly a large movement right now partly because of the economy, partly because of the “wake up call” of recent natural disasters and terrorism. My interest in the lifestyle is mostly rooted in the ‘survivalist’ angle – we store food, have a garden, read a lot of ‘how to’ books, hunt, and (probably a surprise to my wife) are working toward “coming off the grid” and “living green” as much as possible, though mostly for the cost and self-sufficiency reasons rather than political or ‘tree-hugger’ ideologies.
There are a lot of other issues I could include here, but I think that’s what the rest of the blog are for.