Why I Podcast

Politics and Non-Profits: Are We Killing Charity?

I can’t really remember where everything began, but I remember a teacher telling me I had a “voice for radio”. Then at a later point in life I remember hearing that one of my sister’s ex-boyfriends had said that I’m the type of guy who, when I speak, “people listen”. His words, not mine.

I’ve never liked how I sounded when recorded, but I guess it’s a rarity to meet anyone who actually enjoys the sound of their own voice.

I’ve always believed that words hold incredible power. I was raised in a family that placed a high value on reading and learning, and I was fortunate enough to have parents who cared enough to be engaged with me and my siblings.

I’ve always had opinions on things. I’ve always had a comment to make about just about any topic you can think of. In fact, if someone presents an issue to me, my first impulse is to banter and search for the truth, or the most efficient way to address the topic at hand. I remember getting report cards back from teachers saying that I was a nice kid, but that I should “socialize less”.

I remember being profoundly disturbed at the state of the world at a young age, struggling desperately to reconcile it with the religious belief I’d been instructed in, and finding incredible disparity between the idea that the world was a product of a just, loving deity, and facing the harsh realities of life. The Columbine shooting was the earliest recollection that I have of this sort of inner conflict.

We live in an incredible period of time in regard to technology. Access to creating alternative media through a variety of platforms, and the relatively low cost of purchasing a basic audio setup, makes it pretty easy for the “Average Joe” to create their own slice of life on this world wide web. It’s really unprecedented, even when factoring in the controversies pertaining to corporations and censorship which have caused turbulence on many social sites, the amount of influence one can actually have. An unintended result of this accessibility, however, is the sheer amount of noise, filler, and mundane content which bombards internet users on a daily basis.

That’s both the wonder and downfall of both capitalism and the (relatively) free markets we have at our disposal. Lots of people can say lots of things about nothing at all. This is a struggle I’ve had my entire life, and I ask myself on a regular basis if my legacy will reveal (if anything) a contribution to something profound, or if it’ll just be white noise in the greater conversation that’s taking place. This question is the catalyst for my action, and it’s the engine which continually drives me forward, even though, very often, I’m only seeing a couple feet in front of me at a time.

Speculating about politics and social trends isn’t always popular, especially if your views run contrary to the predominant narratives. It’s only been in recent years that I’ve embraced the idea of being a natural contrarian, prior to that it was a very difficult experience contributing to feelings of isolation. My perspective changed on this when I had children. Suddenly my hoped for legacy wasn’t simply something I would pass on to faceless strangers, but a real, tangible, and very personal gift I desired to give to my children. I want my children to inherit a better world than I did. Sounds cheesy, I know, but its the goddamn truth. In a talk, which I recently hosted on my YouTube channel, some good friends of mine and I addressed this topic.

That, in a nutshell, is my reason for podcasting.

It’s my belief that you can have an incredible desire to affect great change without having a personal stake in the game like kids. My friends at Red Light Rebellion and DonorSee are doing a great job demonstrating this fact. I’d always been drawn to causes in the past, but it took me longer to genuinely commit to something, to knuckle down and strive to be effective in one particular endeavor. For me, my children were the spark that made the rest fall into place, so I have a great admiration for those who aren’t as slow as I was when it comes to getting serious about setting the world right.

I have one parting thought I’ll leave you with, now that you have the “why” I do what I do, and it pertains to the “how” I go about doing it.

I’ve learned, throughout this process, that we are all individuals bound by the transcendent power of story. Everyone has a story. Their story has shaped their opinions and view of the world, and the reason that our culture has become increasingly polarized is because we lose track of this simple fact in our disagreements. Conflict is inevitable when it comes to human beings because everyone has a different take on how the world works. The most effective way to construct a productive dialogue is to get at the “why” behind the issues.

Our culture places a high emphasis on consensus. If you agree with me on the “right” issues then we can be friends and if you don’t, well, you’re just beyond reasoning with. Blocked. End of discussion. This separation is capitalized on in much of our entertainment/news industry, and it’s to our detriment as a whole that they profit off this separation.

I don’t have much use for provocateurs. I’m not interested in conflict for conflict’s sake, as many in the media are. Maybe that isn’t a good “business strategy” but I’d much rather create a show that inspires a better dialogue, than a show that’s simply a circus. It’s why I titled the podcast “The Resistance Podcast” (pre-Keith Olbermann’s schtick). It’s easy to get swept up in group identity and the politics that accompany it, that’s why resistance is so vital.

My hope is to contribute to the counter current to our toxic media environment in the States.

Others do this well, the Rogans, the Harris’ and others like them, and watching them gives me hope that the wheels have yet to completely come off…until then I’m resolved to resist, and create content that elevates importance of dialogue and sharing of stories.

 

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About the Author

Josh Carter
Josh Carter is the host of The Resistance Podcast, an independent, Wisconsin-based media project. He is a working class husband, father of two and a student of history and political and revolutionary theory.