Welcome to Politics By Ecce Homo
Ecce Homo is first and foremost a bilingual pun. In Latin, the phrase means, more or less, Behold the Man. Being gay, I use it to mean Behold the Homo.
I use the phrase more as Nietzsche did and less as Pilate did. Pilate meant “just a man” – as in, not a god. But Behold is a glorious verb, so I use Behold the Man to imply that Man is a glorious thing worthy of Beholding, not less when Man is a Homo, or when Homo is a Man.
I grew up in very conservative Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I’ve been a politics junkie pretty much since I watched the 1968 Republican national convention with my conservative grandmother, who said Nelson Rockefeller was no good because he was divorced and Ronald Reagan was good but not ready yet. In my home town, Nixon was the one.
As I approached what used to be called the age of reason, my politics began to moderate. A big part of it was probably that, as a gay kid growing up in the middle of nowhere, I began to identify with underdogs and outsiders. I remember being assigned to the “anti” point of view in an eighth grade debate on the Equal Rights Amendment, and by the time we were done I had all the zeal of an ERA convert. As a high school sophomore, I joined a student group for George McGovern, and I’ve never looked back.
My philosophy is liberal, but I welcome engagement from all points of view. A conservative argument that is fact-based and well reasoned is interesting to me precisely because I am a liberal. Thinking analytically about why I disagree with conservative conclusions gives me a more satisfying understanding of my own liberal convictions and a more confident commitment to those convictions.
Conversely, a liberal argument that predictably and blandly covers well-trodden ground is not interesting to me, however much I might agree with its conclusions. There is nothing to learn from the unquestioning restatement of what you already believe.
For years I used a pseudonym for all of my public writing, because my day job was in government management, where I was employed “at will.” My position was not protected from adverse action based on my expression of my opinions. But I’m retired now, after 33 years in the civil service, so there’s no more need for a pseudonym.
My real name is Chuck Fraser, born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, educated at Harvard College and Columbia Law School, employed for 35 years as a New York lawyer, and now a blogger.