Being a Father Heightens My Sense of Urgency – Paul Jay

As part of a series, Paul Jay answers questions about the critical issues we take on at The Real News. In this segment, Paul gets personal about being a father.

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Story Transcript

TITLE CARD: What has being a father done to the way you look at the world?

PAUL JAY: It’s a very complicated question, or complicated answer, but off the top of my head, it roots me more in the real world of daily life. You know, as a journalist, if you’re getting paid and you’re kind of doing okay, although at The Real News it’s a little different because we’re always fighting for survival because we depend on donations, it’s not like working at some corporate place. And, you know, working at The Real News also means- don’t have a pension to speak of, which I guess is also a consideration when one’s thinking about one’s little kids. Because I don’t know if people know, we’ve got two five-year-olds.

But it roots, it roots me in the city. It roots me in the issues, for example, of public education in a way I never would have been. It roots me in all the problems that face, you know, working parents with kids. And you know, otherwise as a journalist, especially one who works in online journalism, but I’ve been in mainstream newsrooms, I’ve worked in mainstream television. If you don’t have kids it’s very easy to be in a bubble, and not connected to just how difficult things are for people. And in Baltimore, the difficulty of finding a good school. And you know, we got lucky in finding a pretty good school. But mostly-. We go to a, kids go to a public school. But mostly I have mobility. Drive around, look at schools. We had, you know, sort of the cultural background in order to figure out this is a good school, this isn’t. We get to talk to all kinds of people that have a good knowledge of what good schools are. And you know, for most, a lot of people living in many neighborhoods, you know, you’d have to take buses for hours to try to go to different schools just to figure out which one to go to. In Baltimore. There is the possibility of going to schools outside your zone.

So. So in a bigger picture, yeah, it makes me think about, I guess, my own mortality in a different way. But it makes me think, you know, what kind of world my kids grow up in. And it just boggles my mind when I think about the elites who have children and don’t think about that they’re handing off a world that is apocalyptic to their kids and grandkids. And you know, I had a recent interview with Rana Foroohar, who writes for Financial Times, and knows some of the wealthiest people on Wall Street. And I asked her exactly this question. They got kids, they got grandkids. They got to know what’s coming. What are they thinking? And she says they’re, they’re, got their escape plans ready.

And I mean, for me, I don’t want to live that kind of life, or looking for an escape plan. We better deal with this. So I, and I want my kids to live a meaningful life. It’s more important to me than they go to university, it’s more important to me than they make money. I want them to learn that they’ll be happy if they live a meaningful life. So these, all these are things that are considerations for me when I look at the world, when I do the journalism, or decide, you know, where I’m going to be.