Joe Biden: Role Model

As a man who rejects many of my culture’s toxic ideas about masculinity, it’s sometimes difficult to find positive examples of men worth emulating. Growing up and seeing many examples of the damage men have done in patriarchal society makes it feel like a growing list of things not to be and do.

Joe Biden is a rare, glowing exception. He is an example of how principled, strong, loving men can be a force to improve the lives of their family members and work colleagues, as well as fight for people who don’t yet have the same opportunities to succeed that are afforded to men of privilege.

The world needs more men like Joe Biden. I always am more successful when I can strive for positive, proactive improvement. So I’m thankful for Vice President Biden’s living example.

My highlight from President Obama’s farewell address

So regardless of the station we occupy; we have to try harder; to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.

None of this is easy. For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. The rise of naked partisanship, increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste – all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there.

This trend represents a third threat to our democracy. Politics is a battle of ideas; in the course of a healthy debate, we’ll prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. But without some common baseline of facts; without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent is making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, we’ll keep talking past each other, making common ground and compromise impossible.

(Full text of the speech)

Since the election, I’ve been thinking about algorithmic feeds again. This isn’t a new issue: it’s the filter bubble dilemma all over again, just after a disturbing wake-up call involving propaganda, disinformation, and hate groups that are more empowered than ever before. Proprietary networks are always going to reward people for posting media directly, rather than linking from a competitor or, god forbid, a self-published site.

I write on my main blog for my own enjoyment. I don’t care if that stuff doesn’t get seen. I’m on social networks for the connections to people close and far. I don’t want to lose that by self-publishing. But now that algorithmic content feeds have proven to have a devastating effect on the mass consciousness, I’m no longer comfortable committing anything of consequence to places like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’m going back to microblogging – I’ll post stuff I want to share about here, and will link to it on the proprietary networks. Yes, algorithms will give it a lower priority. I’d rather have that happen throw more fuel into an immoral machine.

(If we’re connected on Facebook or Twitter, you can modify your settings for how you follow me to prioritize me or deliver notifications for my posts)