Personal Manifesto

1.    First, I am strongly pro-beer.  I love the fact that beer is an ancient beverage with 11,000 years of culture, tradition, rituals, and recipes that have been handed down through generations and across continents.  Beer makes people happy.  Beer is an agricultural product, reflecting locally available ingredients.  Beer is a living thing, the yeast is alive.  It's good for you, in moderation.  The variety possible in beer is limitless, and pairing beer and food is great fun.  I love drinking, brewing, and cooking with beer, talking to beer people, and learning about beer culture.  One of my favorite brewers is Sam Calagione, because he is passionate about bringing the history and pleasure of all kinds of beer to appreciative people. I have tasted over 1800 different beers 70 styles from 200 brewers in 40 states or 20 countries (and counting!).

2.    I am pro-family.  Despite my divorce, I still believe in the institution of marriage.  I chose to get married in a church in front of God and everybody.  I took my vows seriously.  My marriage fell apart, unfortunately, but I am not bitter about the institution itself.  I would like to get married again, someday.  There are a few things I would do differently.  One reason I would like to get married again, beyond my basic desire to have and be a loving companion, is that I would like to model a strong, positive relationship for my daughters while they are still impressionable.

3.    I belong to a progressive Christian church, the United Church of Christ.  My parents raised me Baptist and we have agreed to grow on different but related branches.  Over the years, religion has been used to close the gap between what we know and what we want to believe.  It's human nature to think of the spirit world and an Ultimate Being.  Belief in the supernatural is consistent in every culture through time.  But I do not hold that the Bible is to be taken literally on every word.  If there is a conflict between science and the Bible, I trust science.  Darwin and God can be compatible even if Darwin and the Bible are not.  One God, many paths.

4.    I like to travel.  I suppose joining the Army was a way for me to see the world that I knew existed beyond my home state of Nebraska. When it came time to select a university, Notre Dame's Rome Studies Program was powerfully alluring to me.  I have visited (a day or more) 43 states and 38 countries.  I have lived (a month or more) in 9 states and 7 countries.  These numbers do not include states and countries I have merely passed through, like Connecticut and North Korea, Portugal, Andorra, and American Samoa.  I have visited 14 of 58 National Parks. I want to visit Alaska by RV, Maine by motorcycle, and Kenya by Land Rover.  I took my girls to England in August 2009.  I hope they pick up my love of travel and respect for culture.

5.    My political leanings are not for public disclosure as long as I am in uniform. (Military officers are not allowed to be "political," since we serve the Commander in Chief without reservation.  We can vote, but not campaign or protest.)  My friends might describe me as socially liberal and fiscally conservative.  In other words, people should help people, but it doesn't take a big government.  I am a bit of a hawk.  Nothing pisses me off more than some complete idiot who believes peace will solve everything.  I do not glorify war as an end unto itself, but from a practical perspective, to live in peace requires the capacity for that most enduring of human pastimes, warfare.  "Other than slavery, Fascism, and Nazism, war has never solved anything." --Lyle C. Brown, Captain, USN, Retired.

6.    I like the words, "useful," "relevant," and "contextual."  I am not sure I ascribe to the notion of a Purpose Driven Life, but I do believe that there was a reason I walked away from the accident that totaled my first motorcycle, walked out of the Pentagon on 9/11, came home from Baghdad unscathed, and seem to be surviving divorce and cancer.  My work here is not done.  I want to understand the (social, cultural, political, economic) context of my life, and do things within that context that are useful to others and relevant for the times.  I am a decision analyst and a knowledge architect.  I make math models of processes and help decision-makers align people to projects, projects to processes, and processes to strategic outcomes. 

7.    Freedom is important to me.  Personal freedoms such as freedom of choice, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement are part of what makes life worth living.  Whether I am riding my motorcycle, peddling my bike, paddling a kayak, or sailing on my sailboard or my friend's 30' Pearson, the wind of motion makes me feel free.  With personal freedom comes personal responsibility: doing the right thing.  The two go hand in glove and I believe in MORE of BOTH for ALL who can HANDLE IT.  Instead of gun locks, how about safe gun handling classes, marksmanship training, peer pressure, and serious sanctions against the incompetent or unfit? I would have no trouble with a government that made and enforced rules to protect people without limiting them. Drugs, abortion, guns, should be legal and rare. I believe in compassion for the unable and discipline for the unwilling so the vast majority can live FREE.

ver 4, updated Jan 27, 2012