It took three years of my life to get Underdog – part memoir, part insider’s view of politics from a right-wing point of view – to print.
If you’d asked me in the fall of 2013 if I wanted to invest the kind of time that was needed to write the book while working full-time at an already stressful newspaper job, I would say I needed to have my head examined.
I spent many weekends and nights and more than a few vacations creating the first draft, conducting the rewrites, copy-editing, proof-reading and putting the finishing touches on the final drafts.
But it has also been a journey, a true catharsis, a book which has allowed me to honestly talk about the voice I never had for so many years, my life as an underdog, the bullying I endured growing up in Hamilton and my two assaults, the first one which left me within an inch of my life and traumatized me for many years in ways I never understood.
I talk openly about the therapy I finally sought 25 years after the original assault when sexually assaulted again in my own condo in 2004,an assault that unleashed a form of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
When I marched into my shrink’s office in 2004, I was determined not just to tackle the demons of my two assaults but to finally come out after 20 years of living in the closet. I did not want to turn 50 still being angry at the world.
Yes indeed I had a steamship full of baggage!
But very early on, and much before I confronted my own demons, I became determined to use my journalistic voice to champion the cause of the underdog—those who felt disenfranchised from the politicians elected to represent them, the poor and the vulnerable and seniors who have been betrayed by Ontario’s health care system.
If there was thing I learned from the time I was growing up, one cannot trust those in power to do what’s right. I am not impressed with most politicians at all levels of government today. I have watched too many of them over my 18 years as a political journalist make decisions based on ego and vote-pandering instead of common sense. I’ve seen those who purport to speak for the downtrodden, the homeless, the poor – treat them as second-class citizens at best and pawns at worst to get more money for pet projects.
I have made it my mission, as a proud Zionist, to speak up against anti-Semitism masquerading as criticism of Israel that has infiltrated our university campuses, trade unions and even Toronto’s Pride Parade.
These themes laced with many anecdotes from my days as a political journalist and a keen observer of all things political are contained in 320 pages of what I hope will be a good read and inspire those who don’t have a voice to also speak up against injustice, whether political or otherwise.
Underdog: Confessions of a Right-Wing Gay Jewish Muckraker has been truly a labour of love.