Politics here in the US have become a circus at best, and a nightmare most of the time. To borrow a friend’s brilliant expression: it is a Trumpster fire. When millions of lives – to one extent or another – hang in the balance of a single vote, I become scared. Then depressed. Then pissed off.
Protip: don’t piss off writers (or any artist, for that matter).
Art can’t help but be political, no matter our individual attentions and inclinations. For example, I write fantasy, which is inherently escapist. Which means there is something to escape from. Deep themes and intellectual ideas happen more by accident than design, if they happen at all. Escapist stories offer reprieve from reality, and in that reprieve we collect ourselves and come away feeling better, stronger, and more confident.
With all the political bullshit, I am even more determined to make my writing workshops happen in one form or another. If one person takes away one thing that helps them make their own art? I’ve won. Who knows what they’ll go on to create . . .
That night last week as I obsessively scrolled Twitter with all the news of the looming ACA repeal vote, I had major panic about the kind of world I’m bringing my daughter into. But what can I do about it?
I can give her strong role models in my characters and show her other options, other ways of being. Write my stories, teach my workshops; as Neil Gaiman said, “Make good art.”
I did not expect to wake up the next morning to the news that the new health care bill was dead in the water. (Not that there was anything healthy or caring about that bill.) The relief that news gives is temporary, until the next legislative bullshit comes out, hiding behind the general incompetency and corruptness of the current administration.
The politics are always there. They don’t go away, but we can choose to act on them or not.