I had another topic in mind for today’s blog, but the tragic events yesterday in Tucson demand a little attention.
Even though I don’t currently live there, I am a resident of the state of Arizona. I am not part of Congresswoman Giffords’ district but my parents are. Worse, they frequent that same Safeway store in front of which the massacre took place. Fortunately, they were at my nephew’s soccer game some miles away when the shooting occurred. This is a catastrophic event for all involved. Six people – including a nine year old girl and a federal judge – lost their lives, and many others (including Congresswoman Giffords) continue to fight for theirs. The full weight of the law needs to be applied to this insane idiot who did the shooting. I hope they throw him in a hole, exhaust his appeals, and stick a needle in him.
I am saddened but not surprised by the degree of politicization that already surrounds the incident. Those on the left seek to make this a damning indictment of the Tea Party and conservatives in general. Those on the right distance themselves from the shooter and condemn the left as opportunistic. The facts of this event are largely irrelevant; people already have and will continue to twist it for their own purposes. Rahm Emmanuel (recently resigned White House Chief of Staff) famously said, "Never let a crisis go to waste." There are those out there doing just that – though let me be clear that I am not accusing the administration of any such thing. Thus far, the President’s response has focused on the victims, as it should have.
Maybe it shouldn’t have but what did surprise me somewhat was the uniform response of the author blogs I follow. The underlying sentiment of every one of them was – in summary – "Right-wing nut, Palin creates hate."
Really? I’m sorry. I guess I expected too much from my fellow authors, who are supposed to be the smart ones … like rationality, less knee-jerk-ism, and a willingness to let all the facts emerge. I read Jared Loughner’s YouTube ramblings and I have to tell you, I couldn’t make sense of it. The guy was all over the place and didn’t adhere to any single ideology. If I had to sum his philosophy, I would have said, "insane paranoia." Of course, people with pre-disposed notions will read it and see what they want. Because Loughner uses the word "unconstitutional" (in describing the police as such, a stance no conservative I know would agree with), people say, "Aha, that’s a code word from the right."
I think it is ironic that many of these people posting at that sludge pool Huffington Post ( Google it, I refuse to link that manure) were the same ones crying that we could not hold any wider group accountable after Nidal Hasan killed twelve people at Ft. Hood last year … despite that fact that there were numerous witnesses attesting to his jihadist impulses before and during the shooting, and his association with radical terrorists. No such evidence exists (yet) in the Tucson shooting, yet people press ahead. I shouldn’t be surprised; most of these people use "fascist" to describe the political right when a simple study of the facts reveals that classical Fascism has much more in common with today’s political left than the right. But then, disabusing people of cherished notions is hard.
As I watched this unfold yesterday and read the blogs, my mind eventually strayed onto tangential thoughts, as it always does (a tendency which I am sure is brought on by skipping across web pages). I got into this business knowing that most authors and artists are on the left politically. I know it, I accept it, and I am okay with it. But something like this – with the accompanying all-but universal response from the writing world – serves as a reminder that I am one of few dissenting voices in the wilderness.
That’s kind of sad, but true: there are not many conservative voices in speculative fiction right now. Name some. Robert Heinlein? Well, aside from being dead, even though he was somewhat of a libertarian, he espoused one-world government. Jerry Pournelle? He himself has said that the political spectrum does not have just one axis (that is, it’s not just right and left). You can read about it here but he’s not exactly a true conservative (i.e., a classical liberal who believes in individual liberty and small government). Tolkein? Yeah but again, not writing anything new (due to death). C.S. Lewis? Ditto. My empirical evidence in dealing with fellow authors tends to bear this out. I can think of exactly three authors with conservative politics with which I have had some personal dealings. The rest are all to the left, often to the far left.
So what is the upshot of this rambling? Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up:
– Tragedy in Tucson, thoughts and prayers to the victims
– The shooter? String him up
– Disappointed in watching all these authors I respect take the easy answer, without waiting to know the facts
– Shameful that there is not a more balanced political perspective in the speculative world
So what do I do now?
Write some conservative fiction, I think. I have a story that I have had gestating for a very long time that fits the bill. I expect that someone will read it and accuse me of fomenting hate.
Goody. Confrontation keeps me warm at night.