My Views on Views
It wouldn’t take much investigation of this blog or my online presence in general to determine my overall political and social leanings. I neither keep my views a secret, nor maintain a specific platform for exploring my political views in depth. I say things about issues when I feel moved to do so, but not all that I could say.
As a writer who aspires to get published by someone else, or aspires to sell many copies of self-published material, I’ve often heard it advised that I never express such opinions. That unless I intend to run for political office or establish a career as a political blogger, I should keep my opinions on such things totally under wraps. People don’t want to follow someone on Twitter that expresses political views all the time, unless they are political themselves, some have suggested.
That may or not be true to some extent. It may or may not be a bigger worry of mine if getting more Twitter followers were a higher priority for me. I’d like more, but if they don’t come, they don’t come. Something tells me the flow of followers would not change greatly depending on how often I expressed views on current events.
Still, I understand the advise somewhat. Though I should be open minded enough, for example, to read and enjoy the well-written novels of someone that is an arch-Conservative, the truth is I find that to be a strike against the work. Yes, in many ways it’s unfair. But as with any endeavor in life, we tend not to want to associate or socialize with people who hold views that are offensive to us. Not all Conservatives offend me, though more do as time goes on. But to a large extent one’s fiction is a personal thing, springing forth from within oneself, reading the fiction of someone I would personally detest is difficult.
The same with the music of singers or the acting of actors. There just seems to be less difficulty enjoying the artistic work of those whose political views are unknown at least, or closer to my own at the most.
When I take this into account, I would want people to read my fiction and come see my plays regardless of my opinions. Is it not easier for them to do so if they don’t know what my opinions are?
On the other hand, to not mention what I think of issues that are important to me-that is to say to not speak out against something in the political or social climate that has made me angry would be to censor myself in a way, would it not? Am I not casting off, or pretending that a large part of my consciousness is not there, out of the hope that it will not prevent people from liking my creations? That seems obscene.
Don’t get me wrong, I can use tact and diplomacy. I don’t need to talk about a political issue all of the time, as this blog oft hath shown. I tweet about other things as well. Just as I wouldn’t engage in political wrangling at someone’s house when I was a guest, or at other inappropriate times. I’m not uncouth, after all. But on my “platform” online, I feel the need to sometimes at least make it clear who I am and for what I will and will not stand…even if that doesn’t mean making speeches all of the time.
Maybe others are more open minded about art than I am. Maybe most people don’t care about the political leanings of the writers they read, or the actors they watch.
Maybe even I am not that way myself; how many examples of not liking performances or novels created by arch-Conservatives can I actually present? I still enjoyed the movies based on the very recently departed Tom Clancy, even though I am disgusted by most of what he stood for as a man. But I haven’t exactly lined up to buy any of Newt Gingrich’s novels either…
Plus there is the never ending mystery within my mind of how I have Conservative friends. How I and they are close despite the huge moral differences. If I can be friends with them, can I not enjoy their novels? Perhaps so, but I am uncertain.
So I don’t know. I can only say I will sometimes mention online, as I would in person, what my beliefs about an important subject are, at least so people know with whom they are dealing. Only they can decide if afterward I have shown too much to make my fiction or my performances enjoyable.