I Don’t Do Politics
Living in a country that allows its citizens to elect their leaders is a privilege. To do so, we have spirited debates, chaotic elections, and complaints when an elected candidate does not live up to their promises. This has worked well for us, but a new disturbing trend exists. Our society has become more politically polarized than ever. This means that you are not with us; you are against us. It used to be that the only weapons in this war were television, magazines, newspapers, and books.
Now, a nobody can post any wacky political idea they have, and millions of people get exposed to “the truth.” Streaming sites like YouTube have given rise to independent political analysts, influential commentators, and fake news. It is a lot to take in, and I have difficulty determining what a fact, opinion, lie, or targeted propaganda campaign.
The central problem is that because a person can have political view A, it seems that the internet magically (search engines) knows this view and subjects the person to alternative opinions, which means that our A political beliefs are constantly bombarded. It now takes dedicated effort to believe in A without getting tricked by disinformation.
How am I contributing to this surge? My books and articles add to the great pool of opinions and information. Plus, I view YouTube (and other sites), and my views alter the search algorithms. This means that if I often view A videos or read A articles, in a tiny way, you will be subject to more A noise. Yay!
What is my political preference, and how strongly do I want you to adopt my politics? The answer is that I intentionally keep my views private for three reasons. The first is that my political opinions are my own. This means I do not wish to push my thoughts onto you because I do not think this is nice. After all, we have not been introduced, and instructing you how to vote would be rude. Enough people are splattering their views on this beautiful world without my help.
Another part of this first reason is that if I said, I like A, and you like B, it is natural for you to disagree or attempt to educate me about B. While l enjoy reading comments about my work, I get enough political noise without asking for it.
The second reason is what I call “the 25% rule.” If I stated my political beliefs, 25% of people would agree, 25% would not care, 25% might be annoyed, and 25% would dislike my politics. This means there is a low chance of success and unacceptable reader offense.
Is the 25% rule realistic? The numbers may not be accurate, but I am sure you were recently exposed to political disinformation or fake news that made your blood boil. And this is my point. We all have topics that anger us, and politics tops that list.
My third reason is that I do not wish to upset my readers. My goal for writing has always been to bring enjoyment. Even with this altruistic goal, my path has proven to be complicated. Readers span a wide range of personalities and backgrounds. For example, I got a harsh review because one scene in my second book was set in California. This trivial choice was enough to get a bad review. Really?
However, there is a problem with suppressing politics. Timid books lead to timid sales. A writer must be bold to garner interest; this is a tough road to travel without offending readers. I took a bold political leap in my third book.
One character was the President of the United States, and I modeled my approach after Tom Clancy’s book Clear and Present Danger. In his story, the political characters had typical political issues. However, Tom went far out of his way in not declaring which party the President belonged to and did not address political topics outside the plot. This choice resulted in an exciting story that did not offend the reader’s personal beliefs. However, not all readers took the bait, and there have been negative reviews concerning the politics.
I have watched Tom Clancy’s interviews, and he had Republican tendencies. The problem occurred when his personal beliefs leaked into his character choices and some of the plot. Why? Tom is human, and humans can only do their best.
I applied this same technique in my book. The President did not identify his political party, and I steered the plot clear of anything that would betray a preference for one political party or the other. This was a fine line because the plot revolved around a political scandal. While I tried my best, I am sure my choices loosely favored my own political beliefs. This was not too obvious from the reader’s perspective, and I think the story worked out well. Unfortunately, I saw one negative comment regarding politics. However, the comment compared my fictional creations to real-life events. I suppose, in a way, this is a compliment.
Would I ever want to put my timidness aside and share political views? Keep in mind that I could use a pen name. While I mildly share my political opinions with friends and family, I do not wish to be an in-your-face political commentator. My political power comes out in force inside the voting booth. Yet, it is getting more difficult to remain silent. There is so much disinformation/noise/lies today that I want to counter. If anything, the political statement I would like to make is, “Please share fewer opinions.” But I suppose I will allow one political thought for this article. Hey everybody. Vote for A.

You’re the best -Bill
May 08, 2024
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