Never again

November 13, 2016

A lot has been regretful about the last week, since the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. (Ugh, even typing that tastes foul.) Most of it hasn’t been within my circle of control, and I did what I could—I cast my vote, I encouraged others to do the same, and with those (precious few) I met who were undecided, I had the necessary discussion. I did not stand idly by while this travesty occurred.

But I’m not without personal regrets. I could have done more.

I cast my vote, but when it came to speaking publicly, I demurred. Oh, I spoke extensively on twitter, but that’s ephemeral for anyone other than a presidential candidate (now president-elect, gods help us all). When it came to my greatest supposed strength—long-form written content—I remained largely silent. Only two posts brushed upon politics, and in one I specifically avoided discussing the candidates.

I’m here to tell you this now: Never again.

I didn’t discuss them because a younger me always hated it when artists talked about their beliefs, when I just wanted them to produce their art. I didn’t speak out because I don’t have much of a platform, and I risked losing readers for little benefit. I didn’t do it because I thought she would win, and I didn’t need to.

Never again.

This isn’t about me. I’m a straight white male with a good education. Even if I lose my current healthcare (likely), I’m healthy enough to get it elsewhere. I won’t be a victim of a hate crime. I’ll be able to find jobs. It’s also not about my regret at not having done everything I could have done. Fuck my feelings—they’re not important right now.

This is an announcement. I will be writing about politics more often, starting with a flurry of posts I’ve already prepared. If that annoys you, I hope you’ll stick around anyway; we’ll never get anywhere if we don’t listen to opposing viewpoints. (And if you don’t think fiction authors should write about politics, read this post from John Scalzi—which, to my shame, I linked to in one of those two election posts, but never followed through with. My actions didn’t catch up to my beliefs.) Or maybe I won’t have to talk about politics much. Maybe a Trump/Pence/Ryan/McConnell/Roberts government will turn out to be a boring one.

Yeah, sure.

There’s an ancient Chinese curse, which is neither ancient nor Chinese (as these things go). It says, “May you live in interesting times.” And there’s a reason it’s a curse.

Welcome to interesting times. I’ll do what I can to make them as interesting as possible within my fictional worlds, and as boring as I can in reality.

But what I’ll never do is fail to speak out. Never again.

As always, thank you for using my Amazon Affiliate link (info).

By Stephen W. Gee

Author of Wage Slave Rebellion, Freelance Heroics, and about two good blog posts out of a hundred.

3 Comments

  1. Reply

    john

    While, I don’t mind my favorite authors posting about politics, it does get tiring to see what happened this election. On both sides, you hardly saw the actual issues being portrayed and debated. Instead what we mostly saw was demonizing of the other candidate.

    On the republican side, we say people calling HRC “Killary”, or a cheat, or corrupt. Some of these without merit, others possibly more true than not. Their main issue? Not seeing charges brought against her for what to them is a clear violation of policies that should have been part of civic 101. The lack of any kind of justice done here because her boss, the POTUS, is in charge of both the FBI and the DA offices to them was the greatest offense that meant Democrats did not deserve another term in office.

    On the Democratic side, we saw people claiming Trump is a bigot, racist, misogynist. These also have little merit to them, but again some a possibly more true than others. Most people seem to believe these things because of edited videos are made to make what Trump said worse than it is. Part of the problem was so called “Fact checkers” that didn’t even check their own newspaper history which published a story confirming what Trump had said. Did he say some obviously horrid things? Yes.

    I’m not going to go into proving or disproving each candidate’s character flaws. There are too many on both sides for me to waste my time on.

    My point, is that this election sucked. Too many people we misinformed, mislead, hoodwinked, whatever you want to call it. Too many people trusted media that should have been reliable and nonpartisan, and instead grievously failed on both of those. Both candidates were bad. Anyone who thinks HRC was the “obvious choice” is deluding themselves”. Anyone that says Trump was the “obvious choice” is also deluding themselves.

    My suggestion, is that if you do post political pieces, you stick with policies. If you go into character flaws, it may be best if you fact check it yourself.

    1. Reply

      Stephen W. Gee

      Hillary did nothing illegal; at worst, she was a boss who ignored a mildly annoying IT rule (the emails) that her subordinates had to follow, when she shoulda fixed the underlying problem. Not super nice to her employees, but not illegal. That’s why the FBI didn’t charge her. They were right to not.

      As for Trump, I’ve heard of precious few things he was supposed to have said which he didn’t say, and plenty of good, solid fact checking that shows he did say all the things he did, in fact, say. This false equivalence is why we’re in this mess. It was a flawed but otherwise normal candidate (Hillary) and a racist, sexist, homophobic would-be authoritarian.

      Words matter. That’s one of the points I’ll be making.

      You are, however, right that the election sucked, that the media failed in its job (though not for the reasons you note), and that too many people were misinformed, lied to, etc. It’s also unfair and stupid to have a system where normal citizens are expected to vote strategically for people they don’t like again and again and again. That’s bad design. Since system design is sort of a fetish of mine (it’s why I talk about habits and whatnot so often), I’ll be talking about that a LOT.

      I do plan to stick mostly to policy, because while character flaws are not necessarily disqualifying—it’s no worse that Trump cheated on his first wife (at least) than it is that Bill Clinton or JFK did the same thing—I believe we ought to take what a candidate says at face value until proven otherwise. If someone says racist, sexist, homophobic, bigoted things, then they’re either a bigot or they’re pretending—and after a certain point, it doesn’t matter. Actions speak louder than words, but words are still important.

      More on that in coming posts.

      1. Reply

        john

        The dishonesty runs both ways. There’s a lot of things Trump “said” that he didn’t say. Here one example placed side-by-side of an edited one from a Left news source and Trumps actual speech: https://www.facebook.com/kcaramia/posts/10210808269580852

        I’m not saying he doesn’t meet the criteria to be a racists, sexist, pig (I didn’t watch enough of Trumps actual speeches and interviews to really be an authority on that), but I am saying his errors were exaggerated.

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