Sunday, April 26, 2015

Don't Make The Political Personal

More and more, we're becoming increasingly polarized, at least from a political perspective.  A stray comment or random remark can cost us friends, business, and lead to our ruination.  This whole concept is, in fact, the underlying theme of one of my novels - Schism.

Unfortunately, this is creeping into what we enjoy as well.  I can't recall the number of people I've heard from that have said, "Did you hear so-and-so likes (insert political cause here)?  I can't believe it!  I'll never read his stuff ever again."

I might offend some folks by saying this, but get over it.  Geez, people - each of us has a varying set of beliefs that lots of folks would find nauseating.  Unless that opinion creeps into the work - which, I'll admit, has happened - then it shouldn't get in the way of a good story.  Stephen King is one of the biggest liberals around and openly flaunts his love of President Obama and the Democratic Party, but that doesn't mean he can't build tension and give me chills with the best of them.  William Fortschen is about as right wing as they come(he even collaborated on two novels with Newt Gingrich), but that doesn't detract from his building a world of adventure that I can get lost in.

We sacrifice so much - too much, in my opinion - when we demand that our favorite authors conform to our political views.  Who cares if someone whose stories we enjoy doesn't fit into the preconceived character we desire?  Sure, it might mean that you won't want to hang out with that person and enjoy a beer with them, but does that really mean they can't tell a good story?  Must we tie everything into our political straitjackets?

In the end, the only person we hurt when we demand ideological purity, especially in places where it shouldn't be a prerequisite, is ourselves.  The writer in question is still going to tell a good story.  Something tells me that a person so petty that he or she won't read a good story because of someone's personal political views has a stick jammed so far up his or her ass that no story would ever be good enough.

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