It was my hope to post this in January, utilizing the momentum of the new year. The reality of living abroad during a pandemic with a team that is located in several different time zones is that things sometimes run slow, and the renovation was actually a lot more work than we originally expected.
The blog has been revamped with new colors, privacy policies, monetization (not at the reader’s expense) and more importantly, an entirely new focus. For those of you familiar with the site, you will see that the menus have changed, new pages have been added, and atop the search bar ‘Policy’ is front and center.
I would like to invite you into why the focus of this blog is shifting.
As was the case for many people, the pandemic that struck the globe in 2020 deeply affected our own household. Nearly the entire year was spent adjusting to new engagement restrictions, whether it be masks, social distancing, travel bans, or business closures. Five of the twelve months we spent under strict lockdown here in Germany.
In the midst of all of this, I watched as the country I love and to which I belong appeared to unravel during an election year.
If the news wasn’t bad enough, my social media feeds were flooded with hopelessness, misinformation, anger, rage, and confusion. It was enough for any sane person to want to throw their hands to the sky in defeat, resigning their fight for the wellbeing of their neighbors to the will of chaos, confusion, and social media’s loudest mouth or highest bidder.
I wanted to quit.
I wanted to quit the blog and social media and frankly, giving a damn at all.
I wanted to quit because I was so thirsty.
I was thirsty for knowledge. For something other than articles from biased writers whose pockets are lined by framing the truth in accordance with the political stances of the news organizations by whom they are employed. For strong blogging content from intellectuals and academics to help me make greater sense of the world.
I was tired of misinformation and of pretty and unchallenging content that sold, but didn’t feed my intellectual curiosities or challenge the parts of society with which I no longer desire to coexist; the parts of society that have left people ignored, hungry, marginalized, and underserved.
I was done with messages that promoted spending and consumption and waste and status competition, creating groups of have’s and have-not’s as I was watching my compatriots loss their jobs by the millions.
I was ready for content that treated me like I was smart and capable and gave a damn about the truly important things in life.
‘I can’t be the only one who is tired,’ I thought to myself.
In this tiredness, I went on an internet expedition, taking inventory of all of the policy bloggers on the internet that I could find.
I wasn’t looking for political bloggers who aligned with a particular political party. I wanted to read from writers whose sole allegiance was in better understanding the world around them and working to make the world a place where self-determination is possible for as many people as possible. I wanted to read from writers who talked not of politics, but of policy, systems, and foreign affairs with understanding and conviction as a means to be able to better engage and serve this world.
I was disappointed to find that the search was not fruitful. There exist a number of well-known op-ed writers for major news sources, and a handful of truly excellent policy-focused publications, but the blogging world is rather void of this particular focus.
At one point, I found a page with fifty links to policy bloggers. Going down the list I found that half of the links were dead, the active websites were atrociously organized making information almost impossible to navigate or read easily, and most of the writers I could find were white, middle-class men.
‘This can’t be it,’ I thought to myself.
Thus, this blog was reborn.
This election year, amidst a global crisis, cast a light on the desperate need for deeper understanding of not only our fellow country-person, but of the policies that shape and affect our local and global world. Without understanding the role of policy, it is impossible to challenge broken systems with conviction, or treat our neighbor like an ally instead of the enemy. A collective and lasting approach to problems requires understanding of interaction between people and systems. It is this understanding which allows us to make more informed decisions and better engage our systems, governments, and our world.
For this reason, policy will be the new primary focus of this blog. I believe in your fundamental right to self-determination. I believe self-determination is freedom. I believe that we as people and as a nation are made better by knowledge and understanding. I believe freedom is most possible when knowledge and understanding are at the forefront of our engagement with one another, and the systems in which we exist. It is my hope that this may serve to help us all better engage our government, help us better understand our compatriots, and help to preserve the freedom and democracy so dear to my beloved country.
Admittedly, I feel underqualified for what this blog is about to undertake, but I can’t find anyone else out there doing it, so I guess I’d better just start. Standing up against information tycoons dedicated to view counts and sales and engagement rather than truth and understanding feels like a blogger suicide mission, but I believe it is time we begin. I am tired. And I know you are too.
I want to be perfectly clear about two things in particular.
The first is that I am an imperfect writer with deeply held beliefs which will emerge as evident biases in my work. I write what I believe to be true, as a service to the public good, and do my best to identify my partialities, but make limited attempts to leave them out of my work. I urge you to fill your reading cue with other writers and sources of information.
The second is that I reserve the right to grow and change as a writer. Changing is often a sign of growth, and as I continue to do research for the purposes of this blog, my thoughts and opinions may change along the way. I invite you into this process, and hope that we may grow and change together, because now, more than ever, our world needs this.
For those of you who have been a part of my journey for the last five years, thank you. I cannot express the deep gratitude I feel for bringing me into your home and day-to-day life. You have been through a number of growth periods with me as I have moved around the world, changed jobs, suffered broken hearts, stood upon very high soap boxes, found joy, and discovered my own voice. The personal pieces you have grown to know and love will remain a part of this platform, as it gives life and nuance to the policy pieces I am excited to bring to the platform. You will even find that in many ways, despite the change in blog focus, the personal portion of the blog is also growing and expanding.
I thank you for remaining part of my journey, for years to come.
My Deepest Respects,