Skip to main content

In  1972, San Francisco found itself the home of many flower children,  hippies, spiritual seekers and other people who believed that the grim  world of that day could and should be made better, and so they gathered  there to find others who believed the same, in this age before Facebook  and Twitter, blogs and websites. My mother was one of them, having  conceived a child while seeking out her own path in that joyously  turbulent era. She settled in the City by the Bay while awaiting my  arrival, and did everything she knew how to care for us both in the meanwhile.

When  I was born, she had allowed her dear friend to choose my middle name,  and he chose “Anton” after the fad-of-the-day in San Francisco, the  founder of the Church of Satan, Anton LaVey.  This upset her greatly,  but he insisted that was his choice, so she responded by giving me the  first name of “Christopher”, a Greek name meaning “bearer of Christ”.   After my birth, she found that it was more difficult than she’d  anticipated to raise a child with no real support net, so her parents  invited her to come back home, and by Christmas, I was in Detroit.

My  mother met a good man who not only came to love her very much, but also  myself to the point where, along with marrying her, he went through the  arduous steps necessary to adopt me, giving me his family name, Cloyd,  as my last name. Ever since, he has done every and anything that a boy  would need from a parent, and truly earned his place in my life as  “Father”. With both him and my mother, I went to church and school, and  moved into a nice house in the near suburbs of the Motor City.

By  the time I was ten, I found myself too skeptical to have my worldview  rooted within the teachings of my church, and began to look elsewhere.  Atheism was considered alongside Buddhism, Judaism, Shinto, Hinduism and  many, many others. I came to see that the world was far too varied and  wondrous for any one path to explain it to my satisfaction. I am even  now a seeker of truth, and someone that holds his fellow human beings as  each being sacred in and of themselves individually and as a collective  whole, and tailor my interactions with them with this firmly in mind.

I  wed far too early in life, and for the adolescent reason of being  deeply lonely and wanting a partner. That error doomed the relationship  from the beginning, but no matter how poorly it served the needs of  myself or my wife, I stayed for ten years, taking that vow very  seriously.

It  was during this time that I began to seriously question myself on who I  was, at my very core. I discovered that I could not stand by and watch  injustice and inequality occur unchallenged. I immediately began to  champion, publicly, those who felt the sting of persecution due to  religious and spiritual discrimination, being not of a standard variety  myself.

I  also realized that, while very attracted to women, there was the  occasional man that interested me. That spurred me to begin to move LGBT  equality to a priority amongst my activism as well. Being honest with  myself about who I was, and that to act on that was unacceptable to my  spouse, we separated and divorced, to allow each other to continue our  lives, true to ourselves.

During  the span of my first marriage, I worked in a variety of positions, many  of them as a temp. My first steady full time work was at a Kinko’s, and  I found that I greatly enjoyed bringing people’s vision to fruition for  them. I devoured every aspect of print design and production from the  angle of digital and copy center techniques, eager to grow.

As  a side project, I began a bimonthly publication with some fellow truthseekers I knew. Now, keep in mind that I had never felt terribly  connected to my name, given how it came to be. As I was going to be  discussing topics that I didn’t necessarily want to embarrass some of my  more religiously conservative relatives with, I decided come up with a  nom de plume that I could use. However, I didn’t want one that was just  meaningless to me - I wanted a name that I felt was truly my own.

I  researched names, their meanings not only as names but also as terms  and titles. The first one that caught my attention was “Tyler”, but it  just didn’t feel right for my first name.  Its mundane meaning of “tile maker” wasn’t what caught my attention,  either: it was its meaning as a title within a lodge: the guardian and  challenger, the one who keeps sacred space sacred. Looking further, the  ancient name “Aldus” came to mind; it means “of the elder house” and as  it has the same pronunciation, I opted for the more modern version,  “Aldous”. Thus “Aldous Tyler” means “Guardian and Challenger of the  Elder House”. This became the name I would be known as amongst my  friends from then on.

Meanwhile,  my talents in print design were noticed by one of my clients at  Kinko’s, who hired me on full-time to manage his company’s printing (and  rapidly, web) needs in re-selling used industrial equipment. I was glad  to be helping keep these gigantic machines in operation and out of  landfills and scrapyards, fitting in perfectly with my commitment to  reduce, reuse and recycle. That lasted several years, until a market  slowdown caused the company to contract. Thanks to the robust software  industry of the time, I was able to immediately secure employment as  tech support for a small database company. My ability to find bugs in  their software promoted me to software tester (“bug hunter”) quickly,  and I stayed with them through the BIG Y2K issue their programs had.

After  that company was bought by a bigger software firm (which had their own  support and testing department), I went back to Kinko’s to find my place  leading the midnight crew. Working there again gave me a freedom  working elsewhere didn’t - I could transfer from location to location if  I wanted to move, and I’d have my job wherever I went. I used that  freedom to finally leave Detroit, and explore a city I’d heard so many  good things about: Madison, Wisconsin.

It  was a completely different environment than the grim-yet-determined  Detroit. Where in Motown I was known as a sunny-yet-determined optimist,  here I came off as steely contender, someone who would do what it took  to get things done, and all simply being the same person in both places.   I grew as a person the more I saw, and finally broke through that  shell it is so easy to stay trapped within - the one that says “everyone  does things the way we do here, don’t they?”

Eager  to see even more, after a year and a half, I moved to Minneapolis,  continuing to work for Kinko’s. There I joined several LGBT activist  organizations, most notably Outfront, TC-BOP and Twin Cities Pride, as  well as spirituality equality groups such as Pagan Pride. At this time  Kinko’s was preparing itself for sale to FedEx, and dropped overnight  hours at most of its locations, including mine. I found full time work  shortly thereafter at a large call center processing prescription  benefit requests for insurance plans - it was soul-sucking work,  essentially being forced over and over to tell pharmacists why they had  to deny medication to their patients. While I greatly enjoyed my time  spent in the Twin Cities, as time continued, I found that I was spending  more and more time back in Madison on the weekends, so I looked for and  found a job there that was somewhat better call center work and moved  back.

A  friend of mine made me aware that there was much better work to be had  in a call center, and I began work at a relay center for the deaf,  taking typed calls for folks who can’t hear, and voicing for them while  typing responses spoken to me back to them. It was so nice to have work  that allowed me to feel I was doing something worthwhile with my time.  But it wasn’t to last.

I  came down with horrible stomach pains and problems, and, despite the  call center not offering health insurance, I knew I had to get it seen.  The polyp problems I faced wound up putting me around $15,000.00 in debt  and the time I needed for the multiple medical absences cost me the  relay job.  At least it was taken care of with no recurrences.

I  was able, then, to gain employment managing the membership database of a  scientific society in Madison, and get enough of my feet back under me  that I could take up local activism to keep our Progressive Talk station  on the air, and develop a solid and deep relationship with the woman  who is now my wife. I then had to face down the massive medical debts I  had accrued, and realized the only reasonable way I could deal with them  was to do what so many do faced with such an issue: I declared  bankruptcy.  I’ll say that this single experience brought home just how  horrid our health care system is in the nation far more than even  Michael Moore’s “Sicko” did.

My  employment with the scientific society continued until, as timing would  have it, they needed to cut my position just as a friend of mine told  me about a digital document production company that had two full time  openings. They snatched me up, and I remain employed by them to this  day.

Since  then, I worked hard to campaign for Barack Obama in 2008, knocking on  doors and making calls to try and make sure he was given every chance to  make his campaign happen. Also that year, I headed up a Progressive  Talk conference in Madison, bringing together many starts of Progressive  Talk to help promote the genre across the country. The event wasn’t  fiscally successful enough to repeat it, but it did accomplish its goal  of having a venue for the talents of Thom Hartmann, Rachel Maddow, Cenk  Uygur, Jon Elliott, Peter B. Collins and other progressive media  professionals together with activists from across America who continue  to fight to increase the amount of Progressive and Liberal media on our  airwaves.

On  a personal note, in preparation for marrying my fiancee, I decided I  wanted to marry her with the name that she knew me best by, the one that  meant the most to me. I legally changed my name to Aldous Cloyd Tyler,  moving my family name to the middle position as I truly honor that my  father chose to take me in as his, and wanted it to remain in my name.

A  few months later, my then-fiancee and I early-voted for Obama/Biden,  and then were wed, taking our honeymoon to a wonderful island where we  spent our time relaxing... except for the night of November 4th, which  saw us with our eyes locked on the TV as we watched the election returns  come in, and included my wife’s amusement on Keith Olbermann’s pink  tie. Left with elation at keeping the GOP out of the White House, and  frustration at the Norm Coleman / Al Franken deadlock in Minnesota, we  finally slept at about 5:00 AM.

At  the urging of a good number of the Progressive Talkers I knew, I began  my own program, “TMI with Aldous Tyler” in early 2009. Airing at first  in only live-streaming mode, I was able to still garner guests including  U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin (repeatedly), Cenk Uygur, Jon  Elliott, Peter B. Collins and many others. At about the same time, I  looked for work that would earn decent money while not taking much time  and discovered a local mobile DJ company was hiring, where I still work  to this day, alongside my full-time document production job.

About  a year after I’d begun “TMI”, the University of Wisconsin’s radio  station, WSUM (91.7 FM Madison), invited me to have an hour a week at  the same time slot I was already streaming at. Being one of the few  non-students at the station is quite the honor, and being given this  platform to broadcast has helped fulfill my desire to help get more  Liberal and Progressive view out there.

In  the meantime my first child was born, and the family expanded with the  addition of my mother-in law and my niece as my foster daughter. Family  life has been fulfilling and time consuming, and all the while I’ve been  promoting local and national activism via “TMI” and personally  participating as much as possible in all the local political events that  have occurred over the past year (many gathering national attention).

From  the position of putting together a political talk show, I’ve been  watching since President Obama’s inauguration as he continued to tack  more and more to the Corporate Right, and did my best to cheerlead when  he did what I felt was correct. Those opportunities continued to  dwindle, until I realized I was speaking more often negatively than  positively of the man. I have been looking for someone to stand up and  challenge him for quite a while now, and realized that more and more of  those who could do so were deferring from it. Finally, seeing what was  happening with the Keystone XL Pipeline, and then the protests that were  washing upon the White House only to be summarily ignored, I realized:  no one else is going to do it. No one.

It was up to me.

Asking  the advice of several politically savvy people who knew me and could  also take into account my drive to make this nation (and by extension,  world) better, I began gearing up this campaign.

I  hope this helps give you what you wanted to know about me.  I’m just a working man supporting his family who believes that we can’t let our nation continue to be pulled into the gaping maw of Corporate power.  If  someone else had come along who would see this thing through, and do a  better job of it, I’d have supported them.  But, funny that - no one  did.

I  am now raising funds for the first phase of ballot access to obtain a  spot on the ballot in 15 states, which will require an additional  $14,300 dollars for filing fees alone, and more for an election lawyer  and to fund the necessary petition drives.  Once that is successful,  I’ll press onward and get more state ballots to show that there’s an  alternative to Obama’s Center-Right drift.

Throughout  my life, there's been one consistent theme that I have adapted to  become my personal slogan: "See reality for what it is, and be bold  enough to change it." Whether that's my nomenclature, my spiritual  reality, my personal reality, our media reality, or our political  reality, I never flinch from seeing it as it is... and then moving  forward to change it.

America Changes Today
Aldous C. Tyler
http://americachangestoday.com/

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site