About Chris Crain and Citizen Crain
"One of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." — Charles Austin Beard
— Charles Austin Beard
I launched this blog in October 2006 after almost a decade editing gay and lesbian publications for five U.S. cities: the Washington Blade; Southern Voice and David Magazine in Atlanta; the New York Blade; Express Gay News and 411 Magazine in Fort Lauderdale; and the Houston Voice. I am extremely proud of the journalism record we set during that time, and I value more than I can say the dedicated colleagues I worked with at each of these publications. Leaving, as I've written, was very bittersweet.
"I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world." — Socrates
Before that, I was a Southern boy, growing up in Little Rock, Ark., and Memphis, Tenn., attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville and then Harvard Law School in Boston. Like everyone else in my family, I was for many years a conservative Christian, unfailingly loyal to the GOP.
Coming out and returning to journalism shook all those old loyalties, and I have for some time considered myself independent and free-thinking in all things, as hokey as that might sound. If you’re interested, I wrote in my farewell Blade editorial about how the curves in life’s path have taken their toll on pretty much all the pre-conceived notions I had about things.
"There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure." — Dwight D. Eisenhower
As of October 2006, I’ve gone solo again, but not really. I moved from Washington to Rio De Janeiro to be with my partner after two years very long distance. His unconditional love and support has changed my life, and so I am happy to change more of it to be with him. Since he is Brazilian, we have not been able to obtain a visa to bring him to the U.S., and my country does not allow gay citizens to sponsor foreign same-sex partners for citizenship here. His country does. So for the time being, we’ll (finally) be together in Brazil, a place I have loved from the first time I stepped foot there.
At the same time, living in Brazil on a tourist visa means I can't stay longer than 90 days per visit or 180 days per year, so I return often to the U.S., and we even moved to Buenos Aires for the last months of 2007 after I maxed on Brazil time for that year.
"The citizen who criticizes his country is paying it an implied tribute." — J. William Fulbright
“Citizen Crain” was a nickname I picked up from friends in college, after my ambitious campaign to be editor of the student magazine immediately after finishing up a year as editor of the student newspaper. It was, of course, a not-so-complimentary take-off on “Citizen Kane” that followed me in recent years, what with the multiple publications owned by Window Media, the company I co-founded in 1997.
These days, the idea of “citizenship” has intruded into my life in unwelcome ways, as I’ve described. Even still, I believe in the concept of a “good citizen,” whether it knows national boundaries or not.
I also like the sound of it because it captures how I view my role: as one citizen in a community with others, doing what I can to make the world a better place. That may sound corny, but 15 years immersed in politics, law and journalism — and even a decade in Washington, D.C. — haven’t robbed me of that idealism. I hope you haven’t lost it, either.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." — Margaret Mead
Those who are familiar with the publications I edited know not to expect this to be a “rah-rah” blog with an ideologically-driven “Amen corner” of any stripe. I seek out those who make me question my own views, and I try to be similarly provocative to others. If you’re looking for validation and reassurance about any particular world view, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you believe we can all gain from an honest, direct, no-holds-barred dialogue, then welcome, and please contribute your thoughts.
Thanks for reading!
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