Let's talk about FICTION.
I write fiction. One of my family members made the ludicrous comparison stating that because I write fiction, I am incapable of having a well thought out and fact based opinion of politics. Everything I believe about what is happening in the world MUST be FICTION. Apparently I'm incapable of a lucid thought, because I write fiction. He literally said it.
If that theory wasn't so completely moronic, it would be funny. The reality was that he was trying to get me to change my views to mirror his through shaming and belittling.
This post isn't about politics, it's about RESPECT. This is America: we all have free speech and free thought. That said, can't we respect each other's right to express ourselves? (As long as it's not violent or harmful to anyone or destructive of another's property).
Standing up for your causes and candidates is great if we can debate with FACTS, not accusations. This election cycle is extremely volatile, and there are things to hate about each one of the candidates. Right or wrong, that's the truth. Can we all just agree to disagree, and to take our views to the ballot box rather than yell, and scream, and riot?
For months, I bit my tongue, thinking that if I said what I thought, I might lose readers., or other authors who didn't share my views might not want to associate with me. Then I realized that was a form of shaming.
I don't think it's right to refuse to do business with ANYONE because of their personal opinions. Should we assume a conservative can make a better cup of coffee than a liberal can, or that a liberal will automatically be a better doctor, lawyer, farmer, or dog walker than a conservative? It depends on the individual. This is a country of individuals, all free to express themselves... which is why it's so amazing.
My political opinions do not affect my the quality of my books. Politics do not shape my characters or my plots, so it would be pretty unfortunate if people judge my work, by my beliefs. The publishing landscape has changed and many of us now choose to be more accessible to our readers than those of years past. Remember when you picked up a book and all you knew about the author was what was on the inside flap? Social media has changed so many things including providing a platform for virtual riots, feuds and bullying behind anonymity. If readers want to know the mind behind the stories and the person behind the computer, then they have to expect that an author is more than his or her books. It is hard to put your thoughts and feelings on a page for the world to read and judge our work publicly. It's doubly difficult to let people then judge us on our personal beliefs, as well. Don't abandon us for letting you into our real lives.
It will make me sad if someone decides not to read my books, be my friend, be in my life because of my beliefs, but it will not change my perspective.