An Interview With Navy Veteran Randy Leer

One of the things that I’ve most enjoyed about the Everyday Citizen blog site has been reading the various blogs from people across the nation. One of the most interesting bloggers is Randy Leer. Randy Leer was born and raised in Hays, Kansas and he served five years in the U. S. Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. After his time in the navy, Randy studied Political Science/Pre-Law and Geography at Fort Hays State University. He was a member of FHSU Democrats, Pre-Law Society, and Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society and he wrote a regular political column in the university paper. He moved to San Diego with his wife while she was in the Navy and when she finished her time in the Navy they decided to stay in San Diego. Randy has studied some business courses at DeVry and continues to have a diverse educational path. He is looking toward a career in Public Administration as he begins a job at the Department of Veteran Affairs, after a long period of struggling to find employment.

Thank you very much Randy for doing this interview. You were raised in Hays, Kansas. What was it like growing up in Kansas? How did Hays, Kansas, influence you as a person?

Growing up in Hays, Kansas was not a bad experience. I always felt I did not fit in with the culture and felt like things were too slow and boring. I think I was always a bit awkward there. I grew up with assistance from special education programs in school. I was challenged by what was attributed as Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder; all the while having testing that showed me as having a significantly above average IQ. I’ve always had an inherent instinct to challenge authority, especially when I thought they were wrong. In rural culture of western Kansas, challenging authority will have you viewed as a trouble maker.

I lacked interest in much of what I was told I “needed” to learn and saw no significant need for it. I was told by faculty that I was a very rational person because I could seem to know the minimum amount of homework that I had to do to pass courses and I would walk that fine line and pay little regard to those who told me that was not good enough. Yet, in high school I became engaged in a teen group that was a sort of parallel group to a preexisting version that was made up of community leaders from many walks of life geared toward resolving community challenges. So there I was, this slightly misbehaved teen, going to meetings with leaders such as the District Attorney, Educators and other leaders, including the County Sheriff whom became a sort of mentor to me which I still have a great deal of respect for.

I remember that as part of this group I had the opportunity to meet a motivational speaker named Rolfe Carawan. He talks of character as a goal and basis for determining who a person is. His philosophy, of not judging ourselves or others by comparison to each other, but rather by what we have done with what we’ve been given; laid a deep value in my mind that still remains.

For those that don’t know, rural western Kansas is mostly conservative, and when I say conservative I mean extremely conservative individuals. I was involved in politics, though I didn’t realize it, and I had little interest in politics as I left Hays in 2001 to join the Navy. Just the same, I would say I was just right of center on the political spectrum. I had pro-gun, anti-abortion, and anti-drug beliefs; as most do there.

What was your experience like in the navy as a medic? Did your travels expand your viewpoint on various issues?

More than all my years in K-12 education; the Navy shaped me and taught me many lessons and brought me experiences that I have cherished and regretted, but found very valuable. In the Navy I spent my first year in training spread over Great Lakes, IL and Jacksonville, NC.

I remember seeing “Pearl Harbor” in the theatre when it came out summer 2001. I remember how shocked I was by watching the attack on Pearl Harbor. I was talking with a friend after that movie and I was making some comment about the movie made me feel like attacking Japan again. I remember that because of how much my opinion would change about it later.

That September 11th we were attacked. I was on leave and between duty stations when that happened. I remember the pride I felt to wear my uniform on that day. Donald Rumsfeld was on TV telling us to be out of uniform and to keep a low profile. I thought to myself, “The American people don’t want to see their heroes hiding.” I put my uniform on and wore it to church with a great sense of pride and I refused to show anything but courage. After September 11th all of us young guys in the military were talking really big about the brutal things we were going to do to the people who committed this act. All of us in this country were so blinded with rage; there were even pictures of Bin Laden taped inside the urinals at one of the airports I passed through.

After all my training I ended up going to Okinawa, Japan. I started out working in the Emergency Medicine Department. As I spent my days there and learned more about the people and the culture and became immersed in it, I remembered what I said about wanting to attack Japan again, now it was different though. These people were just like us; they did the same type of professions and hobbies. Actually, I thought they were even more civilized than we are in some regards. They have a very tempered and peaceful way about them.

I heard many things about how the local Japanese citizens were irritated by our presence there and what occurrences had happened. One of the big problems is that some of our troops conduct themselves very poorly there, especially when consuming large quantities of alcohol. I shared their displeasure for this behavior while working in the Emergency Medicine Department because we often times were the “drunk tank” or cleaning up after their bad choices. I could understand why the Okinawans would be bothered by these actions. I didn’t like these fools coming in to my workplace and causing issues and I could only imagine how much more bothersome it would be to have it in my neighborhood and around my children.

After my time working in the Emergency Medicine Department, I started working as a supervisor in the medical supply side of the hospital. There I had Okinawan citizens that I worked with daily. They quickly became some of my favorite coworkers that I’ve ever had. I almost preferred working with them, and when I had off time I tried to stay away from the bases and the common spots that our troops hang out. It was an eye-opening experience and I really felt like Okinawa was more of a home to me than Hays, KS when I was on leave. So these people that I had held with hatred and ignorance were now like my kin.

Aside from the enriching experience of Okinawa, I found myself becoming increasingly conservative, I think because I was surrounded by it so much and so many of my supervisors and mentors were. Everywhere I went I saw FOX News and that became much of my news source. When it was time for the U.S. to go to Iraq, I was rearing and ready to go, though I was never sent. I was cheering it on and arguing in favor of it against anyone who thought it was wrong. I even voted for George W. Bush for reelection.

You did many blogs in 2008 supporting Obama for the Presidency. What has been your opinion of the Obama presidency? What have been his major accomplishments and disappointments?

I believe President Obama was a great choice and could have done much. I think two very disastrous things have happened since November 2008. The first disaster is what we see all the time with the people of this nation; a short sighted view and a short attention span. President Obama said, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” This was in reference to the large number of people with a large amount of energy that were ready to get to work. By the end of Obama’s first year the sleeping giant of an electorate that had awoken and put him in office had gone back to sleep. He needed our grass roots energy and participation. We abandoned him.

The second blow was the bottomless source of money and propaganda thrown against him. He had little choice but to go to the right to try to accomplish something. Obama, by his actions, resembles Ronald Reagan more than any Democratic hero. Yet, the right still calls him too liberal and a socialist. I sort of wish Hillary would have won, for the simple fact that she would have had a bit more support, a bit less hatred thrown at her and she would have been white, which I believe, sadly, would have made a big difference.

I believe President Obama forced us to take some serious steps towards real healthcare reform. Obamacare is probably not the answer, but it is progress and we can build on it as we go to perfect it. I think he has done pretty well rebuilding the economy and pulling us out of the nosedive that our country was in when he took over.

Unfortunately, I believe he allowed himself to be intimidated too easily though. He has chastised his base and bailed on too many ideals that we were promised and that we needed. I believe his support of the Patriot Act and NDAA has made him look like somewhat of a traitor to many of us, including me. I believe he sold out on the prosecution of Wall Street, which he would have overwhelming grass roots support for. After all, Wall Street did more damage to this country, and the civilized world, than any terrorists could dream of doing. I think when Obama’s grass roots support network abandoned him in the first year he lost his back bone.

On December 16, 2008, you wrote a powerful blog for Everyday Citizen against California’s Proposition 8. What are your thoughts of the evolution of this country’s attitudes from the time that you wrote that blog to the time of the recent Supreme Court ruling invalidating Proposition 8?

I think we, as a people, have started to realize that it is, at the very least, none of our business. I think that is probably the first lesson that many Gay Rights opponents need to learn. I think we have also started to learn that we have all known gay people that have been afraid to be themselves for too long. This is starting to make us ashamed and that is what tends to make us act to bring equal rights to an oppressed people, much like the African American Rights battles of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s gained its greatest momentum with the people seeing their peaceful demonstrations being met with violence.

Something I’m actually ashamed of is my own past bigotry towards the LGBT community. When I was in the Navy I had a gay roommate and he was a bad roommate, completely separate of his sexual orientation. I saw him in bed with another guy one morning on my way to work and I reported him. I had plenty of reasons to be unhappy with having him as a roommate but I chose to use the DADT rules of the military to attack him. I actually got to know the guy that he was in bed with, later on. I ended up becoming friends with him and my opinion of gays took a blow. I started feeling ashamed about what I did. As this battle has been coming to a peak and I’ve evolved on my views, I have felt terribly ashamed of my actions and my past beliefs. I don’t know whatever happened to my old roommate but I’d be happy to apologize to him and admit I was wrong, without hesitation. As a person, I didn’t care for him but to attack him on something that was beyond his choice and none of my business was wrong.

I admire a series of posts you did on April 16 and 18, 2011 on the voices of the middle and lower classes. It was insightful, with lots of facts to back up your arguments defending the middle class and the poor from the criticisms of the wealthy elite. You give a rich variety of Biblical quotes to support your contention that the Bible strongly supports social justice for the poor. Your blogs show a deep understanding of how conservatives think and the blogs debate conservatives on their own terms. Do you still have conservative friends and family members that you engage with political debates on? What insights have you gained from these relationships and conversations?

I still have deeply conservative friends and family. I have stopped debating with them, for the most part. I like to have intellectual debates with supported points. Too many of them resort to an attitude of “I’m right and you’re wrong because I say so.”

I have a friend that was trying to convince me that President Obama was going to change the US Constitution to remain President. I tried to explain to him the complex requirements for amending the Constitution, despite my explanation he remained set on his view. I was tempted to ask the waiter for a pen and a piece of scratch paper so I could sketch out the continental US and show him the electoral break down; I decided that it was a waste of time though. I think for me I have become so angry and frustrated with so many of these people that I’ve decided that there is nothing to be accomplished and the situation is much like Mark Twain’s quote; “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

The far right has demonized knowledge and education and intellect, so how can you try to persuade or debate against that kind of philosophy.

You’ve done blogs on April 9, 2011, May 3, 2011, January 14, 2012, and September 14, 2012 that has shown great empathy for the problems of military veterans and their families. Your blog on September 14 is especially poignant in describing the problems of returning veterans and the lack of resources of the Veterans Affairs Administration to try to address those problems. Since you wrote that article, how has the situation been for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan?

I think most telling is the suicide rate for Veterans. Forbes had an article that said the rate for Veteran suicides jumped to 22 a day on average. We are losing more of our troops to suicide than combat now. Some of these are unlikely to be prevented, but in many cases the Veteran is unable to get care in a timely manner. To be fair, there are good and bad quality staff at the VA, but no one is good enough to provide quality care to all the Veterans they interact with when they are caught in a tidal wave of need. The VA is growing to meet the need but they started way too late. We currently have a VA system that could be on pace, had it been this size two years ago. The VA is playing catch up in a race that seems nearly over while the VA is still at the starting line.

There is a medical principle that is pretty much a given for any condition; the sooner the proper care is rendered for a particular ailment, the faster the patient will experience improvement. I can vouch for this with my back. If I have a back spasm and I can get chiropractic and physical therapy care for it within a few days, I will be dramatically better by the end of the week. If I have to wait a couple weeks to start the treatments, then it will take me weeks to start seeing real improvement once the treatment does start. These services are buried with need right now. It can take a month before a Veteran can get in to Physical Therapy. Imagine having a terrible back spasm, bad enough that you can barely walk or stand up, and you have to wait a whole month to get the proper care. The main form of treatment then becomes pills; such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, cyclobenzaprine, diazepam. These are all highly addictive. In my case, these drugs are needed for a few days to loosen up my muscles enough to walk and then I have to suffer through the pain after that, because these drugs exacerbate my depression. This is a common side effect.

So I ask you to consider this; a combat wounded Veteran. You can expect him to have PTSD, insomnia, chronic pain, bad knees, a bad back and various other problems. Now in this VA system that is over tasked, we are giving said wounded Veteran lots of muscle relaxers, perhaps sleeping pills, perhaps narcotic pain pills. All of those can cause depression and addiction, even if it isn’t already present. Now picture this guy taking these every day and waiting a month to get in to Physical Therapy and a similar amount of time to get in to see a Mental Health provider. In a month’s time of popping depression causing pills, while dealing with mental health problems, chronic pain and difficulties adjusting back to normal life, we could be writing this Veteran off. He’ll feel abandoned and helpless. He won’t know what to do, especially when the entity that is there to help him can’t get to him for a whole month. By the way; don’t forget the high unemployment rate for returning Veterans. Yes, I completely understand how they choose to take their own life.

Another example of how the returning Veteran is being met with complications is receiving their needed benefits. For those who don’t know, there is a monthly pay known as Compensation, or as disability to most Veterans. It more or less exists to provide monthly pay to Veterans who are no longer in a healthy state after their service. It is awarded in a percentage equivalent to the percentage that the Veteran is determined to be disabled by a board. There have been claims open for years. Until recently, the typical time table I was hearing from Veterans waiting for their claims to be decided was two years from the time of claim till the time of decision. If this Veteran isn’t adapting and isn’t able to find a job, they really need this money to help them. Two years of hopelessly struggling to survive could very much cause a person to lose faith and hope.

It is easy to blame the VA for this. I think some things could be done more timely and more efficiently. I especially think their needs to be congressional action to grow the VA, much faster than it is growing right now, in order to meet the rapidly growing needs. The VA is improving, let me be clear with that, but it has such a very long way to go.

One of my favorite blog of your is one on May 22, 2011 where you take on some assumptions of the Christian Right. I especially admire your perspective as a liberal Catholic on issues like the message of compassion and love found in the Bible and I was impressed by your knowledge of the Bible. What has your religious journey been like? What are your thoughts on Pope Francis?

I have a very skeptical view of the church. I had little hope that the new Pope would change anything. However, I remember watching or reading some prophecy that this Pope was to be assassinated, I only think of this because of how radically different Pope Francis has been so far. I could see some fanatic declaring him the antichrist and shooting him because he is deviating from the wrong headed views that the church has been pushing for so long. I thought this was so ironic.

As far as my journey, I have come from being a Catholic to something quite unique. I have faith in God and Jesus Christ. I believe in many of the old traditions; such as wearing blessed medals and using rosaries. However, I have increasingly grown suspicious of the church, and I mean all the Christian churches. I see in my mind the emphasis of modesty and poverty in relation to material things being shown to us by God. Then I see the church showing us grand architectures and adornments of precious metals and stones. I see the words telling us that what we do to the least of Gods people, we do unto him. Then I see a church that chastises a group of Nuns who neglect the gay-bashing agenda to help the poor. I see church leaders defraud their followers and teach hate unto one another. I see a church condemning how we choose to love one another while ignoring the desperation and pain of children being abused by members of the church, and I see that same church hide the truth.

That same church has been comfortable with horrific actions and leaders. I see that church hosted Adolf Hitler and invests in capitalist investments, while the teachings say to speak for those without a voice and to never take interest on a loan. I see the history of that church being to hide knowledge from the people and to manipulate teachings to have wealth poured unto its leaders and to ignore and exploit the poor. I question how I can trust the Bible at times, because these same villains are responsible for the translation of the Bible; these same villains that launched crusades that murdered innocent people. One crusade in to Jerusalem is described in history as a mass killing of everyone living there, Christian and Muslim alike. The belief was that God would “know his-own”. It is described as being so bloody that the crusaders waded through knee deep pools of blood. Today, the most religious of people are the most hateful and judgmental it seems. I find it sad that I, and many like me, see the Christian symbols and assume the person bearing it will likely be a source of undeserved condemnation. What should symbolize a safe haven, now symbolizes a warning to steer clear.

I don’t understand the myopathy of many of the vocal Christians today. They carry a belief that only their way is right and everyone else is going to hell. I find this so blasphemous. They are basically saying that God, the great creator that imagined and created all that is, was not forward thinking or creative enough to have more than one right answer and could not have created all that which we call science. To think that billions of Buddhists are going to hell because they don’t believe in Christ, despite lives of poverty, peace and selflessness; well I find that to be a slap in the face to God.

I actually find Christianity to be so tainted and distorted that I have turned to Zen Buddhism to learn more and find a greater sense of peace. I have never heard of Buddhists invading any countries to force Buddhism on to people. Perhaps it has happened but it certainly isn’t as notorious as Christian imperialism. Many question how I can do this. How I can “worship a false idol while being a Christian.” It is easy to explain. I believe Buddha was sent as another teacher to teach the people how to live. Buddha never claimed to be a god or a son of a god. He was a man who found enlightenment and peace through human means; many of which match teachings from Christ.

In your Everyday Citizen profile, you mention that you are a proud Democratic Socialist. How did you evolve from being a conservative person who watched Fox News to becoming a Democratic Socialist? Was there a particular experience or a book or class that changed your political point of view?

After I left the Navy, I found myself having more time to read. I watched FOX News still and when they brought up issues I would research them. I was raised Catholic and I try to live by the values I’d been taught about empathy and compassion. I kept finding my personal values colliding with the portrayal of the news on FOX. I remember one example; I was watching O’Reilly Factor and he was ranting about how an illegal alien had killed a U.S. citizen while driving under the influence of alcohol. He was so passionately talking about the need to crack down on immigrants because of things like this. I couldn’t understand the link. The problem here was the DUI. The status of residency was completely irrelevant to this immigrant’s actions. There are natural born U.S. citizens that get drunk and get behind the wheel every day. As I did more reading and saw more examples of FOX showing exceptionally biased reporting that was clearly geared toward an agenda and leaving out stories that did not fall in line with their objectives, I stopped watching.

I also found it troubling to see them continue to rally for the war in Iraq and for G.W. Bush when the truth was so apparent. I was so humbled and furious that I had been fooled in to supporting this war of profiteering. Innocent people were dying in Iraq and I had lent my support to a crime that sent thousands of my brothers and sisters to their unnecessary deaths.

In college I was taught two principles that have served to be exceptionally important in my forming of positions on issues. The first is that; a person cannot consider themself to be knowledgeable about an issue until they know it well enough to make the argument in favor of a position that is opposite to their own. That came from a successful attorney on the prelaw/political science side of my education. The second is that; a person does not know anything unless they can prove it. Specifically, cite it from a reputable source, study or data set, and preferably from more than one independently confirmed source that can support the claim. This lesson comes from a great Professor, who actually does some work at NASA, on the Geography side of my education. This principle is also a sound principle in the science community.

When I analyze and verify information related to the issues, the liberal side tends to win out more often. I actually don’t really claim any kind of party affiliation anymore. I’m registered Democrat because I want to vote in their primaries and because, between the two major parties, I find them easier to tolerate. I’m really tired of both parties and I think they are both hypocrites. Take regulation for example; both parties are against personal regulation, except for abortion with Republicans and except for guns with Democrats.

My personal views are most easily summed up as favoring the poor over the rich and the individual over the corporation. I believe that government should provide services and protection to its citizens and, other than collecting the necessary taxation, should not interfere with their rights. I believe the Patriot Act and National Defense Authorization Act are grotesquely wrong and unconstitutional. When we give away our rights over fear, we deserve, neither, liberty or security. I believe in the “Second Bill of Rights” written by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I have chosen some interesting people/entities/causes to stand behind. My support is for right over wrong, truth over deception, peace over war. As I see those I support coalescing around the ideas I believe in, and against that which I oppose, I am reassured that I am choosing the just.

Your blogs show a strong antipathy for the excesses of corporate power over our political system. Were you supportive of the Occupy Wall Street movement? What are some ways that you think ordinary citizens can fight corporate power in the political system?

I believe we are at an exceptionally dangerous time. We no longer run this country, not because we can’t but because we won’t. The last election saw a voter turnout of 57.5% of eligible voters. I think it would be fair to use that same percentage to break that down to show voter involvement. I believe that of the voters who turned out, about half actually knew about the candidates and the issues and follow the news somewhat regularly. Of that half, I believe only about half of them are seriously informed and check the information they are given and do further research from the stories they read. It is then reasonable to assume that only about half of them are active in grass roots movements like campaigning for candidates or issues and petitioning and protesting. That is about 6% that really get engaged to the level our Founding Fathers would have wanted to see from us.

I believe that we need to look at ourselves first. We hate these politicians but we elect them and we allow them to commit reckless acts on our nation. We allow them to game the system against us and we follow like sheep when they point at the other side and tell us to blame them. Occupy Wall Street was great, and that’s why so little was shown on the mainstream news. Most people think it was just a bunch of dirty, lazy, hippies hanging out at a park. Most don’t know it was a global movement.

I find it really interesting how we always try to build progressive measures, similar to other industrialized nations, to help our people and we always face the critics. The critics always have the same arguments that amount to calling the system we are admiring socialism and defective. They say we don’t need it because we are America and we are greater, more powerful and superior in every way. If America is so exceptional, why can’t we take that system and make it better?

I am skeptical of where our country is headed because of silly arguments like that being the mainstream discourse that is making the decisions. The wealthy have successfully taken the most disenfranchised Americans, those that need education the most to do better for themselves and their families, and taught them that anyone with intellect and education is bad and they are better because they are ignorant. They’ve brainwashed an entire social subset to refuse what they need most. It reminds me of those stories about kidnappers holding children captive for years and convincing them that they are safer with their captors and that the police will only hurt them if they catch them. Is this Stockholm Syndrome; I’m not sure but it seems similar. The key that would unlock their salvation is viewed by them as poison. The corporations and the wealthy have really done well with that tactic. I don’t know how we fix something like that.

As a person who likes to travel, I like to learn about the various places from people I’ve interviewed. What advice would you give to someone who is visiting San Diego for the first time? What are some places that you’d recommend visiting in your area?

I think what has impressed me most, as far as sites, has been the Harbor Seals and California Sea Lions. In the area called La Jolla, one can go to a manmade beach that has a sea wall to shield it from the waves. The Harbor Seals are there from evening till morning. Unfortunately, there is a battle going on between those that want the beach to be open to the public and those that want to close it to protect the seals. They are so hostile to each other that it takes away from the experience of being able to see these wonderful animals up close. About 150 meters north of that location are sets of rocks that the sea lions like to lay on.

San Diego County is so unique that you can visit a beach, a marsh, a national forest, mountains, deserts, canyons and rivers all in one day. I like Laguna Mountain, especially in the winter months, to see the contrast of a cool lush environment of a mountain top forest looking out over a desert. The Pacific Crest Trail actually runs across the Laguna Mountain area.

During the right seasons one can see Grey Whale migrations, sometimes from the shore, and take boat tours to see Blue Whale migrations during their seasons. Regardless of the season, one can always see several dolphins. In the last year or so there was actually a mega-pod of dolphins. This is an extremely rare occurrence and involved thousands of dolphins over several miles converging from numerous pods in to one area and a few lucky tour boats happened to be out in the midst of it; unfortunately I was on one of them.

Cabrillo National Monument is a small park but a rare gem. Cabrillo sits atop a cliff that overlooks the entrance to the harbor. It is a vertical peninsula and use to be completely military back in WWII. It was a critical lookout point and still has a historical Army barracks and lighthouse. Today the Coast Guard still has an operating lighthouse on there. There is also a National Veterans Cemetery. The Department of the Interior has sort of scooped out the center and made it a park. The military is still scattered up both of the sides. At this location you can see historical items that go back to the Spanish conquistadors landing here. Below there are tidal pools that have natural wonders. On top you can get a bird’s eye view of North Island Naval Air Station, the birth place of US Naval Air Warfare. Here you can watch “Jayhawk” Helicopters, F-18A Hornets, and other aircraft take off and land. Look down over the other side and you can see the Navy Submarine Base. It isn’t unusual to see US Navy Subs, Aircraft Carriers and other Navy ships coming and going past this point.

I prefer natural wonders so I won’t refer you to many city locations. However, there is an unimaginable variety of different cultural foods in the downtown Gas Lamp District. In Old Town, one can see much of the culture that comes from the Spanish settlement of this area and the blending with the Mexican culture that is just about 20 minutes south of there on I-5.

Here are more interviews that I did for Everyday Citizen

An Interview With Cartoonist Scott Stantis
An Interview With Cartoonist Peter Evans
An Interview With Progressive Christian George Koukouris
An Interview With Cartoonist Gustavo Rodriguez
An Interview With Children’s Book Illustrator Lea Lyon
An Interview With Democrat Nancy Hirstein Smith
An Interview With Cartoonist Ann Cleaves
An Interview With Muslim American Activist Zahra Billoo
An Interview With Peace Activist and Lay Pastor Jim Ramelis
An Interview With Cartoonist Monte Wolverton
An Interview With Cartoonist Adam Zyglis
An Interview With Reverand Gerald Britt
An Interview With Cartoonist Tjeerd Royaards
An Interview With Poet, Activist, and Teacher Diane Wahto
An Interview With Cartoonist Jesse Springer
An Interview With Cartoonist Steve Greenberg
An Interview With Eric Wilks
An Interview With Cartoonist Greg Beda
An Interview With Poet Melissa Tuckey
An Interview With Cartoonist Andy Singer
An Interview With Author Robert Balmanno
An Interview With Cartoonist J.P. Jasper
An Interview With Cartoonist David Cohen
An Interview that Everyday blogger Diane Wahto kindly did of me

About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Angelo Lopez has had illustrations published in Tikkun Magazine, the Palo Alto Daily News and Z Magazine. From April 2008 to May 2011, Angelo's cartoons were regularly published in the Tri-City Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers the Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Neward, Sunol and Union City areas in California. He did a political webcomic starring his cartoon character Jasper for the progressive blogsite Everyday Citizen. Since December 2011, Angelo does a regular weekly political cartoon for the Philippine News Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angelo is a member of the Sunnyvale Art Club, and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. During the 1990s, he was a member of the part-timer workers SEIU unit in the city of Sunnyvale. Angelo won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 and 2018 Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial cartooning for newspapers with a circulation under 100,000. He has also won the 2016 RFK Book and Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoons. Angelo won first prize for the Best of the West contest in 2016 and third prize in 2017. Angelo is married to Lisa Reeber. They enjoy taking walks, watching movies and hanging out with their nieces.
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