Patriotism and the NFL

I wasn’t sure I was going to write about this topic, especially so early on in my blog. Part of my reasoning is that it was an older-ish news story and, even though this “scandal” was one of the reasons I decided to start this site, I wanted to try and stay more current. Luckily, I suppose, our president took care of that for me over the long weekend, though:

Another reason is that I don’t know how accurately I can write about this because I don’t personally know what it’s like to be black in the United States. I can’t truly understand what it is to experience racism like they have. I don’t want to come off as obnoxious, disingenuous, or self-righteous trying to explain my understanding of it when you, reading this, don’t know me or my sense of humor very well yet.

Colin Kaepernick
Photo by aukirk / CC BY 2.0

My last reason is that I strongly believe that, while average citizens might truly be angry, the outrage coming from the president and the conservative media pundits is inauthentic. They aren’t truly angry, but they know they can rile up their audience if they pretend they are. It’s largely meant to be a distraction for us in two ways. The first is keeping our minds off of other, more important things, like the CBO’s analysis of the tax bill, for example. The second is to avoid discussing the real issue that these guys are kneeling because of, which is a lot harder than berating them for disrespecting troops and the country that gives them millions of dollars to entertain it. But I find myself wanting to write about that real issue.

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Why Am I Progressive?

This is a question I’ve given a lot of thought to over the years. As I mentioned before, there are plenty of reasons I shouldn’t be. So what is it? Is it just a phase I’m going through? Is it a secret desire to sit around my house all day living off of government handouts? Was I brainwashed by my public school teachers? Is it rebellion against my relatively conservative, religious upbringing? No…none of those sound quite right.

Photo by geralt / CC BY 1.0

Some people think it’s biological – that brain chemistry can help determine it. Studies have shown that there’s some truth to that related to a positive correlation in the size of the amygdala and how aggressively someone responds to a perceived threat biologically. There are pretty clear social signs of that being true in things like the arguments for and against the USA taking in refugees from Syria or other Middle Eastern countries, for example. That may be a part of it for me. I believe that the ability to easily empathize with others is an important part of someone becoming progressive, and I think brain chemistry likely plays a pretty big role in that. Even so, it’s definitely environmental for me, too. I’ll come back to empathy later.

Continue reading “Why Am I Progressive?”

Hello, and Welcome.

Hello! You can call me Malcolm.

I want to start off by giving you as clear of a picture of myself as I can. I’m hoping that information on my current life and my background will give you insight and context into where I am coming from as you read through my thoughts and ideas.

I am a 29 year old man, which puts me in roughly the oldest quarter of millennials. I currently live in the wonderful city of Madison, Wisconsin in the United States. I’m a pretty standard nerd, interested in comic books, video games, and science fiction novels. I have been married to an amazing woman named Sarah for the past seven years. We have two young children, Simon and Jane. Our oldest will be starting kindergarten in the very near future. I am a software engineer with a Master’s degree and my wife works in healthcare at one of the hospitals here in town. Together, we are fortunate enough to earn a combined salary that puts us in the top 5% of income earners in this country.

I was raised on a farm in the rural Midwest.  My parents weren’t particularly political, at least not openly, but our household was religious and most of the role models I had in our community and at church were conservative. That meant I was, too, for most of my formative years. That started to shift as I hit 15 or 16 years old. I started questioning a lot of what I had believed without a second thought up until that point. By the time I turned 20, I was what I am today.

I am unequivocally, unapologetically, proverbially progressive.

I plan to go into why I think that’s the case in my next post because there are a lot of reasons I shouldn’t be, a handful of which are above. I’m not positive what I want this to become yet, or even necessarily that I want it to become anything. I’m not sure if I want it to be read by a million people, or just my mother. What I want now, today, is a place where I can put my beliefs down on paper and process the thoughts and reasoning behind them. I suppose it’s an avenue for me to vent and process frustration with the state of the country that I live in and love, and argue my case for the changes I would like to see happen in it.

The site is still under construction, but I’ll finish polishing it and start posting my beliefs and ideas regularly soon. Thanks for reading.