After 30 years living in Washington, DC, I’ve moved to New York, have accepted a job with the United Nations, and am leaving blogging.
Three decades in the nation’s capital is a long time for a Chicago boy who swore he’d get out of dodge long ago. My exit was a long time coming, but what finally pushed me into action was a perfect storm of success, necessity and luck.
We’ve won. The civil rights of gays are now an inevitability in America.
Now, that doesn’t mean that eternal vigilance is no longer needed. It is.
It also doesn’t mean that the fight for civil rights is over. It’s not.
But the war is over, in the sense that the bad guys, and the issue overall, have passed a cultural tipping point from which they will, and can, never recover. We, our civil and human rights, are now an inevitability (in America, at least). And trans rights are finally breaking into the open to an unprecedented degree, which will someday lead to their inevitability as well.
We have achieved successes that few of us expected to see in our lifetime, let alone by as early as 2015. And to be sure, problems still exist. And there will continue to be setbacks, some quite serious. So I appreciate those who say it isn’t over. But from the standpoint of history — and social, cultural and political inevitability — it really is.
Ever since the economy crashed in 2008, blogging has been a difficult business to keep afloat financially. I spent $50,000 of my own now-gone savings keeping AMERICAblog afloat over the past six years. You can only do that for so long.
The viability of blogs as a sustainable business model has been in question for a while. I gave it the college try for six years after the crash, but due to a variety of reasons it never came back sufficiently to be able put enough food on the table, and more importantly, ensure that there would be more than cat-food on the menu when I retire many years hence.
I decided after doing last year’s taxes that something had to change. I love blogging and writing and politics, but I really do feel as if I accomplished what I set out to over 20 years ago that I joined Sen Kennedy’s office as a fellow hell-bent on finding a way to set my people free.
I stayed in DC, a town I never particularly liked, for three decades because I felt this was the best location for me to affect the most positive change. I turned down several high paying jobs over the years at, for example, the Fed and Booz-Allen, because I wanted to do good, not just do well. And I feel, in retrospect, that after 25 years working in Washington that good/goal was accomplished.
So, I decided last year to set myself a new challenge — shifting my domestic advocacy more globally, and going back to my roots in international affairs.
I came to Washington in 1985 to study law and foreign service at Georgetown. Having been raised the child of Greek immigrants (mom and my grandparents on both sides are from Greece, dad was born in Chicago), I was always into languages and foreign cultures (I studied four foreign languages simultaneously in college). I even took, and passed, the US Foreign Service exam in 1989 (the required test for becoming an American diplomat). I’d wanted to become a diplomat since I was in high school, but on receiving my acceptance letter I told the State Department “no” because I knew I was gay, and I knew that (at the time) gays weren’t permitted to serve our country. It was my one dream, and it was gone.
Then a funny thing happened a quarter of a century later. I applied for a job with the United Nations headquarters in New York City, and I got it. It seems the early reports of the death of my dream had been grossly exaggerated.
So last week, I picked up and moved to New York. I’ve been offered an amazing position at the UN where I’ll be using the Internet to help people all over the world. It’s the proverbial offer you can’t refuse.
I’m excited about the new job, rather nervous about the move to NY, surprisingly ambivalent about leaving DC (though I’ll miss my friends), and all the while missing my dog who has taken up temporary residence at mom’s. (I actually caught myself talking to the dog recently and referring to my parents as her yiayia and papou — Greek for grandma and grandpa!)
So that’s my story.
At age 51, I’m reinventing myself yet again, and beginning my boldest adventure yet. I really do believe that we live life best when we are challenged; and I’m looking forward to the challenge that now lies ahead.
AMERICAblog will continue under the editorial leadership of our very own Jon Green, and the business leadership of my nephew Anthony Katsivalis, who has long worked in the field of online marketing. Jon and Anthony will continue to manage and nurture AMERICAblog, and I hope you’ll join them for the adventure.
Thank you all for all of your support over the years. We set out to change the course of politics in America and the world. And I really believe that in our own small way we did. I can’t think of leaving on a better note than that.