As with everyone, life has taken surprising twists and turns for Dear Jon. Yet the time has come, with a book on the way and my public profile about to be heightened, that you, my reading public, know the truth about what I am and how I feel. I cannot continue to move forward in my own life until I embrace my identity.
Perhaps others are able to persuade themselves that their life of lies and hypocrisies are the truth. Dear Jon has tried to communicate, to present myself, as coming from a certain stripe of macho, a masculine sensibility that is celebrated by the geniuses of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour and by certain advertisers of beer. That comes with certain assumptions, assumptions that, I must now confess to you, are not true about me.
Really, no one stripe can describe a whole person. As a masculine beer-drinker I proudly flaunted my own independence from the stereo-types: For example, I "fruit" my beer. My beer of choice (while in the United States) is a Mexican import which is usually served with a lime-slice. That is not my confession.
Insofar as the masculine sensibilities go, of course a movie like "Brokeback Mountain" paved new ground in the discussion about "what makes a man a man?" And so I intend, by my own disclosures, to advance the discussion as well.
Least important to me will be the impact this has, if any, on the sales of my book. It is better to let the truth be known now than to foster a persona, live a lie, profit from my hypcrisy, and have the scandal break later. There is no price for my integrity.
For to be true to oneself is more valuable than one's weight in gold. Or even oil. That is why I declare to you, my dear readers and friends, for the first time publicly, that despite all my protests to the contrary, I, Dear Jon, have become a Vegan. I adopted this lifestyle choice three years ago on the eve of my departure for Germany. (Good Lord, readers, what did you THINK I was going to confess?) This new sensitivity to the personhood and inalienable rights of animals has forced me to declare myself. No longer can I, Dear Jon, comment sardonically on the qualms of those who find hunting for sport and of raising herds for meat, since I share those qualms myself.
Only when we own up to our own values, can we expect to have a message of value to share with the world. My message is, animals are our cohabitants on this beautiful world. Meat is murder. Guns are evil. And I'm still a man. You can see how I have wrestled with this disclosure. It was easy, by simply hanging up the column once in Germany. But then, reviving the column brought these uneasy issues to the surface of my own heart. When we are confronted with these dilemmas we have to deal with them.
Otherwise, we remain stuck within the walls of our own self-imposed illusions. It is therefore with a sense of new freedom that I proudly announce the new foundation to which all royalties of my Dear Jon books shall be donated: The Dear Jon Deer Agency, a free-range veterinary center for sick and wounded wild-life in the Indian-head country of Wisconsin. Details remain to be sketched out, but right now I see myself accompanied by a certified veterinarian, driving an ambulance up and down US Highway 53 looking to pick up wounded animals by the side of the road.
Lastly, being true to ourselves is the most important thing we can be. There is no other way to justify ourselves. It is easy to justify letters on a page to the left margin, for example, because there, as is plainly seen, the templates line things up for us. But for self-justification, we have to act on our convictions, and so I have disclosed everything to you, my readers, on this First Day of April 2008.