In this time of intense political divisiveness, it seems as though we need more civility, and especially more civics, as we navigate our battle-weary political landscape. I’m not actually a moderate myself, but we are a nation of tribes, and if I only offer my own biases, then I will only connect with those with whom I already agree.
I appreciate alternative viewpoints, and I have been swayed by fact-based, intelligent reasoning that corrects my own biases. So my intent is to present a fact-based, balanced perspective that either side can stand to read, whether or not they share my conclusions.
While you can guess that Leaning Blue reflects my Democratic party affiliation, it actually has several meanings for me. I grew up in what I like to call an “artistic blue collar” household; my Dad was an art teacher in Piscataway, New Jersey. It came home to me at a young age, when his school system went on strike and he sat down to craft a host of colorful and clever protest signs, that Union labor was putting food on our table. So while I’ve spent most of my career as a software executive, I never lost that blue collar perspective.
In fact, I worked my way through college at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) as a state certified auto mechanic, and eventually opened an auto repair shop, Zen Engineering, on Main Street in Ann Arbor. In grad school at Michigan I was proud to join the Graduate Student Teaching Assistant (GSTA) union. And for yet another meaning of blue, I also served as a union steward in the Michigan Association of Police (UofM campus), where I was part of the team that negotiated the union’s first contract with the University.
My blue-leaning interest in politics began early, in high school, when I enrolled in the Institute for Political and Legal Education (IPLE) and interned with congressman Frank Thompson (D-NJ). But with a career first in academia and later in high tech, it was only under the Obama administration that I decided to consider public service. In 2015 I was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve on the IRS Oversight Board, a White House appointment focused as much on technology initiatives within the Department of Treasury as on serving the US public and its taxpayers.
I felt immensely proud when President Obama said, “I am grateful that these talented and dedicated individuals have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years.” Regrettably, the Senate refused to schedule most of these Obama-appointee confirmation hearings, and without enough members to achieve a quorum, the IRS Oversight Board was forced to suspend operations.
So after two years of vetting and FBI background checks and White House pre-clearances (which, unlike Jared Kushner, I did complete), I never got the chance to serve. (That would give anyone the blues.) LeaningBlue is now my outlet for positive social change, and I hope you stick with me as I find my voice and tackle my mission. Please feel free to comment, disagree, correct, and share these posts.