I’m going to use this space, my space, to address something.
If you know me in real life, you know I’m not a shrinking violet. You also know that I think the current President is a “disastuh,” to use one of his favorite words, and I genuinely believe the United States of America may have actually passed from democracy to oligarchy. This angers and grieves me no end. Prior to this administration, my political activity was voting and running my mouth, in person and on social media. The picture here is something I first saw in an American History textbook I still have from my second semester at UVM (1980. You do the math). I think it fits our current situation.
Since the 2016 election, I have joined the ACLU (not as an attorney), EMILY’s List, Brand New Congress, and other organizations loosely known as “The Resistance.” If you’re a regular reader of this blog, we’ve covered this territory.
I participated in a Facebook comment thread the other day on another author’s page. The topic was about readers unfollowing authors because they’ve become too political. (Notice that I didn’t put that in quotes. I’m not repeating that sarcastically or ironically. It’s someone else’s view). One of the comments said that books are an escape from real life and the person who posted the comment didn’t want her experience with books to be polluted by real life (well, she phrased it differently, but you get the idea. I don’t remember how she phrased it). Please note, I am not disagreeing with or judging or deriding her.
I can see that viewpoint. It’s a valid one. Sometimes, our psychic (not ESP, but mental) barrier between the imaginary worlds that are an escape and the real world from which we want the escape are delicate. If the real world intrudes just once, the barrier may be destroyed forever and that lovely oasis lost. I get that.
On the other hand…
Novels like “Animal Farm” and “1984,” the two biggies, have been influential in changing thought (and with the current Administration, we have our Napoleon, our Squealer, and you can make the novel fit). Upton Sinclair’s novel, “The Jungle,” while not a political book, helped lead to slaughterhouse reform and “cleaner” food.
One of my heroes is Dorothy Parker, founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, aka “The Vicious Circle,” and an icon of hit and run snark.
Any politics (other than gender politics) in Dottie’s writing are coded. However, she was not afraid to take a stand and put her money where her wit was and protest injustice, whether it was Sacco and Vanzetti (2 innocent men convicted and executed for a murder because they were belonged to an anarchist movement)
or against HUAC (the House Unamerican Activities Committee. Joe McCarthy. Red plague, Commies, all that jazz. His buddy, Roy Cohn, a deeply closeted gay man who used his influence to ruin the lives of other gay men, wrote President #45’s pre-nuptial agreement for his first marriage. The one that #45 weaseled out of. Schmuck).
We are in a different time from the 1920s, 1950s. Duh. I can tell you that the lines are blurred on social media (for me, anyway) between personal and “professional” as an author. I have one Twitter account that I use for both. And this blog. If I tweet or retweet something political, it’s going to show up on my Facebook feed (because those are the settings I established before President # 45 even declared his candidacy). People will approve, be disgusted, unfollow me (What the hell, two of my siblings have BLOCKED me on Facebook. One I used to worship, then that person did a bunch of shit that felt like I was just someone to be taken advantage of, the other one has hated me from Day 1. Destroyed anything of mine that I left unguarded (collectibles, dresses, pictures) while telling me “You’re lucky I’m so forgiving.” No, Sweetie, I forgive you because your shit will bite you in the ass. But I digress)
I will make an effort to keep my personal out of the professional (not that I have a shit ton of followers in the first place), although I have notes, notes, notes, and an unfinished manuscript for a political farce (and how that has resurfaced is a whooooole other blog post). I had a separate email address for my authorship activities, but that has been “abandoned” so long, Google can’t verify my ownership and I can’t retrieve what’s there (offers to sell my stories for millions of dollars, praise from Oprah Winfrey and Cher, a lucrative publishing deal). However, I encourage, exhort, urge (and I have a bigger vocab than #45. I have a lot more words. I have even better words than your tired, overused “best words.”) my fellow Americans to get involved in politics beyond just voting (and if you agree with #45, but you didn’t even vote, I don’t care. Get off your butt and get involved NOW. Democracy doesn’t run on autopilot).
In the near future, I will use this space to announce new Twitter handles (maybe) and a new email address for “author stuff.” Until then, go buy my books. It’ll keep me busy and quiet.