Nathan Bransford, Author


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Has the writing community become close-minded to alternate viewpoints?


In discussing how authors navigate politics in social media, an anonymous author chimed in about closed-minded he/she believes the online writing world to be to anything other than liberal perspectives.

Is the writing world closed off to opposing views? Have we created our own echo chamber?

I'd like to print that author's comment (nearly) in full, and then respond to some of the points. Please leave your own thoughts in the comments section.
Nathan, I doubt this is news to you, but the writing community is largely liberal. 
Somewhere along the way, we have decided that any view that differs from the liberal point of view is not only uneducated, but abhorrent. Whether intentional or not, we have effectively silenced all opposing points of view. And we now spend all of our time agreeing with each other and patting each other on the back for being so open minded and accepting. After all, there is no one left to really challenge us, no one left to "tone police" us. 
Since you asked, these are some things off the top of my head that I'd like to challenge in the writing community, but cannot without risking my career and/or being verbally attacked with a gang-like mentality: 
1) The validity of the "tone policing" argument
2) That discrimination against conservative views in the writer community is not only acceptable, but encouraged
3) The use of the acronym WHAM and what it means
4) The collective reaction to this election in the writing community, and the idea that this somehow proves what we've known all along: conservatives are racist/sexist/bigots/etc
5) That there are people in the writing community who we regularly silence through group intimidation
6) That we sometimes use labels like racist, sexist, bigot, etc irresponsibly, and that admitting this does not negate that racism, sexism, bigotry, etc exists
7) That we ignore all demographics that aren't related to race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and a few select religions
8) That when we talk about politics, it's only in relation to social issues
9) How we refuse to accept that this election was about anything other than what we hold dear (social issues) when there were multiple important issues that we may have chosen to ignore
10) That whole safety pin thing and what it unintentionally symbolizes
11) That we are more focused on being right, and less focused on effecting change.
12) That we are frustrated, baffled, angry, scared, etc by the outcome of this election, but refuse to self-reflect on this, when we spent the last year weeding out any dissenting view or opinion in the writing community and surrounding ourselves with like-minded people who won't challenge us on some of these positions
13) How insulting and painful this collective reaction must be to an entire demographic (you know, conservatives, who we pretend don't exist in the writing community)
14) That we are starting to all sound the same, recycling the same thoughts and vocabulary, and our work will reflect this 
I'll stop there I guess. 
You said in your post that there is an expectation that authors openly engage in advocacy. Advocacy for *what* exactly? Are saying there is an expectation that we all advocate for the same things? Because we all agree, right? Even Mary Kate said it. Now, if you don't agree, you can't even remain silent to avoid scorn. If you are on the "right side" and aren't "brave" enough to speak out about it (amongst all of us safe, like-minded writers), you will be unfollowed. It's a great way to weed out the undesirables. Speak up, or we can assume you don't agree with us. Brave, indeed. (And maybe vaguely creepy, a la President Coin)
Some of my thoughts:

  • When I said it felt like there was almost an expectation that authors would openly engage in advocacy, I didn't mean simply liberal advocacy. More that it seems like authors are now encouraged to share their views, whatever they may be, and there is pressure against remaining silent.
  • While I agree that the publishing world is liberal in the sense that if you examined the voting habits of authors and employees within the publishing world and the public pronouncements on social media they would skew liberal on the whole, I don't know that the effect of that political liberalism necessarily translates into the way books are published and marketed. At the end of the day, the publishing world is way, way more capitalistic than it is political. You still see things like: 1) Contemporary YA books by male authors packaged and marketed differently than contemporary YA books by female authors; 2) Lack of racial diversity in the industry and in the books it publishes and especially how it markets, necessitating an entire movement to embrace and promote diversity in young adult literature, not even as a political end but simply so the diverse world our young people live in is accurately represented; 3) A self-perpetuating myth that "boys/minorities don't read"; 4) There are plenty of politically liberal editors publishing books by the Ann Coulters of the world.
  • While I don't doubt that one risks a social media ****show espousing an unpopular view, I'd be surprised if an author had their book dropped simply because of their political views. I don't want to name names, but I can think of several prominent YA authors off the top of my head alone whose views most liberals would consider abhorrent. 
  • You won't hear any arguments from me about the ill effects of witch hunts, but at the same time, I'm also not in favor of totally consequence-free speech. If you say something publicly, you should be prepared to defend it or apologize for it.
  • Um.... sorry but what does WHAM stand for? Someone help me out.
What do you guys think? 

Art: Illustration from "Anatomy, physiology and hygiene for high schools" by Henry Fox Hughes






57 comments:

Inkling said...

When you're trying to make a living as a fiction writer, it makes little sense to annoy readers—who've come to you to be entertained—by beating political drums. It's particularly stupid to beat those drums about contempoary issues when your tale is based far in the past, far in the future, or in a totally different kind of society. You're behaving like Pajama Boy, who wants to inject "talk about getting health insurance" into Christmas morning.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2013/12/opinion-rich-lowry-obamacare-affordable-care-act-pajama-boy-an-insufferable-man-child-101304

I can offer an illustration of writers should do. I just finished the fourth in my hospital series, which offers practical advice to hospital staff and patients. I have numerous beliefs that relate to the politics of medical care, but I left them out because they're not relevant to my topics. I don't want to behave like Pajama Boy.

No, more than that, I'd rather be dead that be confused with the likes of Pajama Boy.

--Michael W. Perry, Inkling Books


Anonymous said...

I agree completely with the person who commented.

There are multiple authors that I've unfollowed and sworn never to purchase again--NOT because of their political beliefs--but because of their strident inability to even listen to any other point of view, political or otherwise. (see Jenny Cruisie's blog today and yesterday for a case in point: http://arghink.com/2016/11/political-argh/

As a newbie fiction writer, I see little incentive in alienating half of my readers (because no matter my political/social views, I will be alienating half the country). Also the reason this is anonymous.

Also, I view myself as writing entertaining, escapist literature and therefore, it's not the place to discuss politics. I've followed the "dinner party" rules--no politics or religion on my page or social media.

Anonymous said...

Anon here, thanks for responding to me, Nathan! Very much appreciate it.

“…More that it seems like authors are now encouraged to share their views, whatever they may be, and there is pressure against remaining silent.”

The problem with this is kind of my whole point. “…whatever they may be.” To you, the writing community feels like a safe place for everyone to speak up, because you are on the “right side.” There are people who have conservative views who we have pressured into remaining silent during this election period, and now we are pressuring them to speak up. We already showed them what will happen if they do. We are having a one-sided debate right now. How effective can this possibly be?

“At the end of the day, the publishing world is way, way more capitalistic than it is political.”

I’m not arguing whether the publishing world is capitalistic and will therefore publish anything that sells (although there is an opportunity for self-reflection here if the publishing world is willing to compromise their beliefs for the sake of money, but want to reprimand moderate conservatives who they suspect of doing it—and we’re all ok with that). My argument is that writers with conservative views cannot express those views publicly in the writing community, while writers with liberal views can. And is this healthy? How can we challenge other’s beliefs if we are unwilling to let them challenge ours?

And in these examples you give… Are you saying this proves that conservatives shouldn’t feel the threat of speaking up in a largely liberal community? If you supported Trump in this election, would you feel ok announcing that right now? What if you were about to go on submission? You are comparing conservative people speaking out for what they believe in, to liberals speaking out for what they believe in, and measuring the consequences equally.

“…I'd be surprised if an author had their book dropped simply because of their political views.”

You’re surprised that bias exists?

“I don't want to name names, but I can think of several prominent YA authors off the top of my head alone whose views most liberals would consider abhorrent.”

They are being very quiet right now.

“I'm also not in favor of totally consequence-free speech.”

I agree. But let’s not pretend that the consequences are equal in the writing community. We hold people to account sometimes, and sometimes we don’t because “tone policing.”

You are actually a WHAM. (White Heterosexual Able-Bodied Male) I am not, by the way.

Thanks for the discussion, Nathan! Not a very popular topic right now.

Aimee said...

Speaking to point number 4, I think this discussion is incredibly difficult to have in this political climate--this election is so different than any that I have been aware enough to follow (1992 is the first I remember taking an interest in, and 2000 was the first I was able to vote). I know a great many conservatives who are not Trump supporters, and I will absolutely engage with and defend those people.

BUT...Trump supporters are willing to overlook that campaign's white supremacist, racist, sexist rhetoric, and their support passively says they condone it. That to me is unacceptable, and I don't think there is much of a gap between, say, condoning racism silently and participating in it. Trump has not hidden his contempt or hatred of women and people of color, so no one can say they weren't aware of it. I agree that we should be aware of inflammatory language, but in this climate I'm not going to roll over and soften my language about dangerous people.

I do want to say I think it is so much more effective to call out behavior or ideas or statements as bigoted, rather than just saying, you are a bigot.

I personally draw the line at supporting writers that espouse views that are fundamentally at odds with human rights, and take action to further those agendas. So, for example, I will no longer buy anything from Orson Scott Card. I do however, seek out writing from people who are different from me in race, politics, creed. Challenging your own beliefs and really thinking about the world makes you a better and more interesting person.

I am honestly curious what demographics are left out in point 7--economic status? Education level? Age? That's what I can think of, and I'm seriously asking because I'd like to know. I am white, educated, and middle class, and I know my privilege blinds me to lot, and I'm trying to learn about things outside my experience.

And I'd LOVE a discussion on something other than social issues in relation to politics, especially our responsibility environmentally and scientifically.

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

Sorry your post didn't initially appear, it got stuck in Blogger's (very bad) spam filter.

Some responses to your response:

"The problem with this is kind of my whole point. “…whatever they may be.” To you, the writing community feels like a safe place for everyone to speak up, because you are on the “right side.” There are people who have conservative views who we have pressured into remaining silent during this election period, and now we are pressuring them to speak up. We already showed them what will happen if they do. We are having a one-sided debate right now. How effective can this possibly be?"

I agree that a one-sided debate, or one where one side feels cowed into silence, is not healthy and is not changing anyone's minds. I didn't intend to convey that I think it feels super safe for everyone to speak up in, whether they're liberal or conservative. Honestly I don't know that anyone feels totally safe speaking up right now, even the ones who appear comfortable on the soapbox. We can quibble about degrees of unsafeness relative to one's political views, but I was more just intending to say that 1) people are being pressured to speak up one way or another and 2) the *professional* consequences of doing so, in terms of, say, getting dropped from a publisher, feel overblown to me. Social media ****show? Sure. Blowing up your book career? Not sure about that. The latter point I could be wrong on, I just can't think of tangible examples.

Further on this last point, I think the degree to which socially liberal people are currently shouting to the mountaintops *also reflects the degree to which they're scared.* Conservatives might be concerned about the marginal cost to their publishing career if they come across someone who would decline to publish them strictly because they mentioned their political views online (which, again, I think is unlikely). But some of the people who are shouting... their literal lives feels on the line (read this). Socially liberal people may feel they are a safe space in the sense that they are largely shouting to a like-minded audience, but I guarantee you they don't feel safe right now, nor did they even feel safe before the election.

Is shouting down opposing views the right approach in the long run to change minds through civil discourse? No. But I really don't think anyone is "safe" or "unsafe." (Though I do want to acknowledge my relative safeness in pretty much every respect here).

"I’m not arguing whether the publishing world is capitalistic and will therefore publish anything that sells (although there is an opportunity for self-reflection here if the publishing world is willing to compromise their beliefs for the sake of money, but want to reprimand moderate conservatives who they suspect of doing it—and we’re all ok with that)."

I 110% agree that this should be a point of reflection for the publishing industry.

(Your other points I think addressed above)

-Nathan "WHAM" Bransford


Oldy said...

I agree with Aimee:

"BUT...Trump supporters are willing to overlook that campaign's white supremacist, racist, sexist rhetoric, and their support passively says they condone it. That to me is unacceptable, and I don't think there is much of a gap between, say, condoning racism silently and participating in it. Trump has not hidden his contempt or hatred of women and people of color, so no one can say they weren't aware of it. I agree that we should be aware of inflammatory language, but in this climate I'm not going to roll over and soften my language about dangerous people."

This is just not on. White supremacy, racism, sexism, these are not dissenting views. These are behaviours that are not acceptable, and saying so is not stifling debate. What is the possible social value of racism? Of sexism? Of white supremacy? Who can defend these views? If you hold these views, please educate me in how they can benefit society.

Janiss Garza said...

I know quite a few conservative writers (I am NOT one of them, however). That said, I don't think it is exactly close-mindedness on either side that is causing the problem. I think it is more a need for civility and the willingness to live and and let live, and have a community (IRL and elsewhere) where people can feel safe and where everybody gives in a little.

For example, I have a conservative friend who served in the military. Her attitude and the way she was brought up made her a really good navywoman. She is also a very nice person who wants good for everybody. We need people like her to protect our nation and to offer service. I can't do that - I grew up questioning authority and grating against being told what to do. I empathize with other people and want diplomacy. In other words, I would be an utter disaster as a soldier! I'd worry about my fellow soldiers AND about the guys on the other side. If I didn't wholly agree with an order, I'd argue it and maybe even refuse to do it. I'm a globalist. But there's a need for me in the world too - to look at both sides, to help find common ground, to allow enrichment through other cultures.

The truth is, you can't have one type of person without the other and have a successful society. Right now, there is so much hatred and intolerance on both ends of the spectrum. Nobody wants to give in. Each side views the other as something demonic and evil. We are tearing each other apart. Well, me and my friend aren't - we have other things in common that nullify our political differences. What worries me is how have so many people grown so far apart? The writing community is one where we should all be supportive and helpful. I don't put out political books as a publisher, so I really don't care what my writers' political views are. I'm equally helpful to all of them - and I have one very conservative book reviewer (and friend) in particular who has been extremely kind and helpful, promoting my anthology series. I would hate to lose her over something so stupid as who she voted for, or something she put on Facebook that I don't agree with.

We're a community. And writing is a tough business and kind of scary because we're putting ourselves out there in ways that most people don't. We should be working together, period. These are dangerous times, and we can't navigate them with the kind of divisiveness I keep seeing.

Jaimie Teekell said...

Aimee said: "Trump supporters are willing to overlook that campaign's white supremacist, racist, sexist rhetoric, and their support passively says they condone it."

Anon said: "Now, if you don't agree, you can't even remain silent to avoid scorn. If you are on the "right side" and aren't "brave" enough to speak out about it (amongst all of us safe, like-minded writers), you will be unfollowed. It's a great way to weed out the undesirables."

This "silence is the same as agreement" thing worries me. I'm more with Anon on this. Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing," but that's about the "good men." Can't we allow room for the "bad men" to do nothing?

Nathan said, "I'm also not in favor of totally consequence-free speech." Is he in favor of consequence-free silence?

I honestly don't know where I fall on this myself. One thing I do know: I'm scared of mobs. Twitter mobs, writer mobs, RL mobs, whatever. I suppose there are worse things than a mob fighting for something I see as right, but I don't think there's much worse than a mob fighting against something I see as right. I want to be all Constitutional and say, "I want to limit the power of X thing, even though I could use it for good, because I'm too aware of how others could use it for evil." But there's no way to limit power in this instance.

So I will just reach for my xanax when people say things like "their support passively says they condone it."

Anonymous said...

Hey Nathan, it’s me, anon.

First, congrats on being a WHAM

To respond to a few things…

“2) the *professional* consequences of doing so, in terms of, say, getting dropped from a publisher, feel overblown to me.”

This is the *exact* same argument that conservatives are using against liberals who claim they feel unsafe. Just to put that in perspective. Are we making an excuse here? Is our liberal privilege showing?

“Social media ****show? Sure. Blowing up your book career? Not sure about that. The latter point I could be wrong on, I just can't think of tangible examples.”

For a tangible example, I would recommend you look into what happened to the “Swanky Seventeens.” Apparently, there were some dissenting views among them. Scary times, indeed.

“Further on this last point, I think the degree to which socially liberal people are currently shouting to the mountaintops *also reflects the degree to which they're scared.*”

This is part of the reason I’m speaking up (anonymously, of course, because I’m not going to test your theory about the ramifications being “unlikely”). Listening and trying to understand people who have different views than you is not necessarily about being gracious toward them. It’s about helping yourself. On *so* many levels, it’s about helping yourself. It does not mean you’re conceding the point, and that you no longer feel hurt or fear.

Or, we can keep shouting into the echo chamber. But who’s to blame if nothing changes?

“…But I really don't think anyone is "safe" or "unsafe."”

I already said it, but again, a common argument used against people who feel discriminated against. We are all in the same boat! When we clearly aren't.

Anyway, thanks for continuing the discussion, Nathan. Really means a lot to me.

Aimee said...

Jaimie, I'm going to clarify my comment a bit. I used the word support specifically instead of silence as I am referring to people who say they are in favor of trump. This does not include people who haven't voiced an opinion either way.

I have had conversations with more than a couple trump supporters who say they voted for him based on economics. When I pressed further about how they can support a man who has expressed his disdain for women and people of color, each had some sort of variation of "but I'm not sexist or racist" with no more defense, no plan to push back on the things they don't agree on. These people call for unity, call to work with the PE for the good of the nation, but you cannot separate the hateful rhetoric he spews with whatever other policy he may put forth. The words of the President of the US have a tremendous amount of power; you cannot ignore that. This is what I mean by passively condoning--if you are offering support in some ways and are not speaking out on the ways you disagree, you are passively agreeing.

Aimee said...

And I wasn't trying to call anyone out or push anyone to put themselves in danger! I'm seriously just talking about having discussions with people who have already spoken out one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

Hi Aimee,

Yeah, I think all of these points are difficult to discuss right now, some maybe more than others. We might need some time to pass before that can happen.

Just a few things to think about…

You said: “Trump supporters are willing to overlook that campaign's white supremacist, racist, sexist rhetoric, and their support passively says they condone it. That to me is unacceptable, and I don't think there is much of a gap between, say, condoning racism silently and participating in it.”

I hope you won’t take offense, but I think you are oversimplifying what happened in this election. In addition to social issues, there are other problems on the minds of Americans right now. Not everybody has the same hierarchy of needs right now. For example, certain social issues may be the most basic need that is not being met for you, while for someone else, feeding their family, or healthcare, might be the most basic need that is not being met for them. To judge someone for ignoring your basic needs, when you are doing the same in return, is not only unfair but also completely unproductive.

Of course, you are free to focus only on the issues that are most important to you—social change, environment, science, etc. But ignoring certain problems, and only focusing on a few, kind of got us in this situation to begin with. This goes both ways.

Thanks for your point of view on things

Anonymous said...

Hi Oldy,
Nobody is disagreeing with you there. I think what people would like to take issue with is whether voting for Trump makes you a [fill in the blank]. Like I mentioned to Amiee, there are other important concerns people have right now, in addition to social change.
Thanks for listening!

Anonymous said...

Hi Janiss, I appreciate that perspective! I agree, we need passionate people like you to challenge the status quo. We’d never get anything done if we were all moderates, that for sure. But then without moderates, we’d never reach a compromise either. ;)

Anonymous said...


Yes, emotions are running high on the left right now. It's because the fear of violence is uppermost in our minds. We are only reacting to the statements we heard from the mouth of the President-elect and his supporters: encouragement and pledges to punch people, to torture, to round people up. In this atmosphere, it is difficult to listen calmly to opposing views.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10:14,
I hear you. I wasn't trying to suggest that anything about this would be easy. Just want people to think about how we got to this point, and maybe consider some conclusions *other* than "they are all racist." I think this is where a lot of the fear is coming from. And don't forget, we've silenced all the moderate conservative views. You're only hearing what's left still floating in our wake of shaming people.

Thanks, OG anon

Anonymous said...

Hi Jaimie, I appreciate what you've had to say as well. I think a lot of conflicted people need a voice right now.

Jaimie Teekell said...

Aimee - That makes sense. These people clearly have opinions on the matter ("But I'm not sexist or racist") but behave as if they do not, as if they don't care at all about their beliefs. This is more than silence; it's hypocrisy. Since there's some objective standard in play here, I can put the xanax back down. ;)

Anonymous said...

Aimee, I think you illustrated anon's point perfectly when you said "I have had conversations with more than a couple trump supporters who say they voted for him based on economics. When I pressed further about how they can support a man who has expressed his disdain for women and people of color..."

So, these friends of yours had fiscal concerns, and in response, you pressed them further about their *social ethics*? What?? And you think this a logical debate? Can you not discuss the economy without using social issues as your argument? Is that it? Because the economy isn't a woman's issue? Let the menfolk worry about that pesky economy? Liberals only want to talk about social issues, because it's all they really know. And they want to judge people for having a wide range of other concerns. This makes no sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything Anon said, right down to the safety pins.

I have had to mute so many authors, not because of their political beliefs, but because of the mob mentality they are participating in. Will this keep me from buying their books - YES. The amount of hatred I've seen towards the "white woman voter" is not acceptable. It's my money that I worked for. I will be a lot more careful on whose books I buy from now on.

Unfortunately for many of these authors, particularly white women themselves, I've reduced them to being a troll on the internet. They are calling people who disagree with them names, shaming anybody who tries to make a different point than theirs. I've seen them fish for arguments.

So according to social media and the writing world, I need to support these women authors who are trashing people and calling the white women voters the devil, but I'm not supposed to support Trump because he trashes people. Correct?

Anonymous said...

To add to my above comment - I'm the one talking about people trashing each other - I do not like Trump. I do not agree with a lot of what he represents. But, I am not a racist, homophobe and a nice handful of other names that have been tossed around on social media and in the writing world.

I based my vote on the past eight years of MY life experiences. This includes unemployment and a natural disaster.

My point was what I personally have read on the internet from the writing community's reactions to the election - what they have said to those who disagree with them - is not much different than what Trump has said.

Robin C. said...

Hmmm.

Coming into this late, but my two cents:

I shut off every form of internet except what I needed for my job on election day. Point blank refused to listen to the wrangling and speculation. I'd been in knots the night before, absolutely terrified of what the world would look like if the person I'd decided to vote for won(Despite huge reservations on some things and nearly doing a write-in instead. No way on God's green Earth was I voting for the other one). Come Wednesday I stuck a toe back into my Twitter stream and felt like I'd gotten acid thrown in my face. I follow a number of artists and writers, but know none personally. Two have survived the subsequent purge of people I follow, and one of those has taken herself off the internet in despair at the reactions of the creative community.

Phrases such as "We're all afraid" and "How will we get through this" and other assorted "The world is ending" type comments flooded my feed, followed by retweets and replies, all of people commiserating and back patting and sharing boxes of virtual tissues. All the while, spewing vitriol at the half of the country (me included) who didn't vote the way they wanted.

I have tried to be sympathetic, and I'd like to think that I take people as I meet them (MEET, not discover online and like for their art, and then realize they'd happily burn me at the stake for my opinions). But my sympathy is gone now. I spent eight years wondering what fresh hell I'd been dropped into, being told my opinion is worthless, and that I'M worthless because my parents, grandparents, and all the ancestor's I've got had the bad taste to have babies.

So yes, it's an echo chamber in the art world.

Anonymous said...

I am another who agrees with everything Anon said. I think my greatest concern is that not only are authors expected to reflect every social concern in their books accurately (ie, they must be 'PC' in every possible way), if they happen to step a toe out of line (and the judge and jury for this is currently liberals), they're also expected to make amends. If they don't, they're shunned and worse.
This boggles my mind. Since when is fiction about promoting one group's social agenda? Even more, since when is only one type of life experience the type we can write about? Once upon a time, novels were a way for us to see into the heart of different people, to expand our perceptions, to perhaps see things in a new way. I fear we're heading toward something far from this -- a place where the majority (vast majority even) of kidlit published will only reflect one type of thinking, one narrow type of world. We're all the losers, in this case, especially the kids.
And a personal pet peeve: the constant judgment of and 'offense' taken at everything that doesn't perfectly match up with the liberal outlook right now. As others have said, just because one person has a different hierarchy of concerns does not make them all the evils of the world. I believe we choose what to take offense at -- ideas and even some actions are rarely inherently offensive. So telling me that I should be offended or else...(all the evils of the world), no wonder people are remaining silent (and anonymous).

Nathan Bransford said...

Just a few random thoughts on some of the most recent comments:

- I think there's some... irony isn't the right word, but something like that... in the fact that the people who are commenting anonymously are actually in the majority position and have the power in the country. I realize this is a microcommunity within the country and not really judging anyone's choices, just kind of feels like a strange inversion. Up is down on this blog.

- So, something I have been really struggling with is how people seem surprised that liberals have been calling racism in this election, or think that's beyond the pale. To take Anon@9:19's words: "just because one person has a different hierarchy of concerns does not make them all the evils of the world." What I think I hear you saying here is, I voted on economic issues, not racial issues, or maybe social issues like abortion. I understand that Donald Trump said racist things, and I don't like those things as I'm not a racist, but the issues that are most important to me and my family right now are jobs and health care, and I preferred Donald Trump's ideas on those fronts to Hillary's Clinton's.

What I struggle with here, is that this essentially boils down to, my economic needs trump racist attitudes toward people who aren't like me. At minimum, there's a certain privilege inherent in this in that you have the choice to focus on the economic issues because they know the racism won't affect them. But if you go way, way, way extreme with this attitude, my economics > someone else's civil rights. I mean... if you take "my economics trumps your rights" all the way to the logical extreme, that's how you end up with things like slavery, Jim Crow laws and housing discrimination.

Now, obviously I don't think anyone out there is advocating slavery. Not my point. And maybe you think Trump's words are just words. But where is the line where a president would have to be so actively racist you would withdraw your support? What level does it have to rise to in order for you to switch over to civil rights over pocketbook? (That's an honest question, not rhetorical)

This election wasn't 2012 where we were basically choosing between Obama and Romney tax pans. What liberals are trying (I think) to say, is that Trump supporters chose to accept active racism in the package deal for your economic or social issues, and what we don't hear is people really owning that or grappling with it or even pledging to repudiate the racist parts of Trump's agenda, like the Steve Bannon thing, even if they support him on the whole for the other stuff. That's what's kind of confusing to me at the end of the day. All I hear is, "Liberals are accusing me of being a racist and I'm not racist there they go again."

Does this make any sense to any of the anons? What am I not seeing?

Anonymous said...

My anon response is HALF of this country did not vote. HALF. How is this possible? IF the other half had voted, chances are good Hillary would have won.

I agree with the other commenter about why does every book or story have to MEAN something on a social agenda? What happened to reading books to escape? There is no shame in reading a chic-lit novel about a girl wanting to find a boyfriend. There is no shame in reading a murder mystery.

Why do I have to wear a safety pin to show support for others? Why can't I just go through each day, I don't know, being kind and considerate to those people. Not judging them for who they are. Why do I have to broadcast my agenda to the world with a safety pin? To get the head pats? Because that's what those posts look like to me at this point. It's like the Seinfeld episode - how dare you don't wear the ribbon!

This goes along with all the hashtags. There have been some unbelievable crimes that have been turned into a damn hashtag. Not everything is meant nor should have a hashtag.

I am not happy with the choices we had. But for me, based on my past eight years of the current administration and things that have happened to ME, I made my vote. And the more I see the belly-aching, it just reinforces what the majority thought this time around.

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

Not to be pedantic but it's more like 40% didn't vote. Yes, still too low, but when you factor in the fact that in solidly blue and red states votes don't matter as much and active voting suppression, I think it's more explainable. It should be much, much, much easier to vote.

Also, I'm confused by this: "I agree with the other commenter about why does every book or story have to MEAN something on a social agenda? What happened to reading books to escape? There is no shame in reading a chic-lit novel about a girl wanting to find a boyfriend. There is no shame in reading a murder mystery."

Just from a writing advice perspective alone, please don't internalize this idea. It's really not true. Books don't have to mean something or advance a social agenda. And if that's the point of the novel, agents and editors are going to run away very fast. Yes, a novel may tell a story of someone who is gay or transgender or white or black or what have you, but if the point of the novel is to advance one agenda or another it's not going to work. And even looking at the bestseller list or what's on bookshelves, I'm not sure how you reached this conclusion.

Anonymous said...

In response to the 40 percent not voting - I stand corrected. That's still a lot of people who chose to do nothing.

If you look at the writing community on Twitter today, it is obvious everything has to mean something. And maybe that's my fault, I'm following those people who are pushing for that. I just like to read books and following authors gives me insight into how truly difficult it is to be a published author. I admire them all greatly.

I don't belittle what the authors believe in, but this somewhat new pushed belief that if you do not believe their way makes you a racist - no. Just no.

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

Again, saying this from a writing advice perspective - I think there's a difference between authors standing up for something on social media and the content of the books. The books themselves don't have to advance an agenda. I do think authors want to advocate for their own causes and issues, but if a book tries to advance any agenda it's going to fall really flat.

Jessi L Roberts said...

In the comments both these blog posts, I've seen a handful of people who are harshly judging those who voted Trump, even one insulting them as being uneducated with "chattel" wives and that none of them read books, which is an untrue stereotype. I haven't seen many posts criticizing those who voted for Hillary, giving me a hint that there's a larger percentage of liberals here, or they're more outspoken.
Since the posters mention refusing to read stuff by authors that don't agree with their views, and in most cases, the people saying this are liberal, I can see why a conservative would be afraid to voice his or her opinion. Would it stop them from getting published? I don't know. Would they lose readership? Most likely, especially if they write in a market where a large percentage of the readers are liberal. Look at the rage directed at Orson Scott Card, even though the guy was showcasing a diverse cast long before it was cool.

Also, what if someone has a different opinion on something book related, such as a reader complaining about too much diversity in books? Will they get support like the person who says there isn't enough diversity, or are they going to get a ton of backlash? I'd bet on the latter.

After hearing about people who have been mobbed online, I think a lot of conservative authors are getting a bit spooked and fear they could be the next victim of a hate filled mob. The fear of this mob, imagined or not, is probably what caused a lot of these people to vote Trump. They're sick of feeling like they need to walk on eggshells or be attacked, and they thought if Hillary got in, things would get worse, that their voices would not be heard. The liberal side wasn't the only side that was afraid. The conservatives were afraid if Hillary got in, she'd take their guns, as well as take their freedoms, one way or another. Some even seemed to believe the US would turn into a police state. From what I gather, they didn't believe Trump would be able to do much racist stuff in office, other than maybe deport illegal aliens or stop the "scary" refugees from coming in.
The way I see it, the media got both sides irrationally terrified of what the other side would do to them. I really wish both sides would stop stereotyping the other side. I don't think all Trump voters are illiterate racists and I doubt all Hillary voters are feminists living off welfare checks.

Just to be clear, I didn't vote for Trump or Hillary, but my circles are very conservative, so most of my friends either voted Trump or third party. I don't think I had a single friend I'd met who admitted to voting Hillary.

Anonymous said...

Pardon me for being an innocent -- but what does WHAM stand for? I'm coming into this as a wannabe fantasy writer working at an industrial plant. There are plenty of HVAC-related definitions for WHAM that ain't fittin' the context here.

Jaimie Teekell said...

Jessi - "I haven't seen many posts criticizing those who voted for Hillary, giving me a hint that there's a larger percentage of liberals here, or they're more outspoken."

Even we independents can see Hillary votes are less problematic.

I agree with you about mobs. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned ignoring people you disagree with? ;)

Anon @ 12:04 PM - White Heterosexual Able-Bodied Male. I learned this from the last post. Just between you and me, I think they threw "able-bodied" in there for the vowel.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nathan, OG anon here.

Just to answer your question about the hierarchy of needs thing (since I brought it up in a response to Aimee there).

Jumping right (sorry if this sounds blunt!)...
This is what you're not seeing. *You* have the choice (or luxury or privilege) that others don't have of voting your conscience because all of your basic physical human needs are being met right now. So now you can focus on your need for social changes. That's your most base need right now.

However, we have people in this country who's basic *physical* needs are not currently being met. So, they are jobless or about to lose their jobs, can't feed/shelter their family, and can't pay for medical care. And we're not only ignoring their problems, we're telling them (and expecting them) to forget about that little problem of needing to feed/shelter their family (you referred to this as "economy"), because we've got a lot of work to do in the social change arena. And by the way, if you don't put this before your own basic physical needs, you're a [fill in the blank].

Just who is the privileged one? Who doesn't get it? We're judging them based on what *our* basic need is, and ignoring *their* basic needs (which are arguably baser than ours--food, shelter, job, medical care). Besides being morally wrong, we are being completely ineffective. If we want people to care about our needs, we *have* to care about theirs.

Of course, women, POC, and other marginalize groups have problems in their hierarchy of needs that white people, men, etc don't have. Some of us don't get that, but I think most people do. I think most people want equality. But we aren't going to get there by only focusing on the needs of some, while ignoring the needs of others because we don't categorize them as being "marginal."

Whether we agree with him or not, we had one candidate who's platform was "change." And we had another candidate who's platform was "you're racist if you vote for him." I live in a swing state. We had *so* many undecided voters this election, and we put all of our efforts behind that one message of shame. That was our plan. Ignore their problems and shame them into voting how we want them to, because we're right. In the end, people voted for change. And we're continuing the very ineffective "you're racist" platform. Why is that? Is it pride that won't let us let go of that? Is it that we'd rather be *right* about everything all the time, than see social changes actually happen? Why can't we let anything challenge our own ways of thinking? Is it because we're used to being right and being wrong just feels... wrong? Like you said, this all feels very upside down.

As always, thank you for listening, Nathan.

Jessi L Roberts said...

Jaimie Teekell, many of my friends saw Hillary as being the more problematic one. Quite a few people were afraid of her, which is the reason they voted for Trump, who many of them didn't really care for. He seemed less problematic than Hillary, at least from their point of view. In my circles, some people (most of which probably voted third party) spoke out against Trump, but if they didn't mention Hillary, it wasn't because they were less afraid of her than Trump, it was because they knew all their friends agreed she was worse than Trump, or that's how it appeared to me.

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

You're making an assumption, I'm afraid -- I'm currently unemployed.

But I also think the data belies your argument that this is primarily about economic precariousness. I'm sure it may be for some, but on the whole, Trump voters makes more than the median American. I don't know if I see the evidence to support that that's primarily what's driving it?

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-mythology-of-trumps-working-class-support/

Also, however ineffective it may have been for liberals to call people racist for supporting Trump, I'm still not sure I understand how you're grappling personally with Trump's message and would like to better understand it. Do you agree he invoked racism in his campaign? If so, obviously it wasn't such that it stopped you from voting as you prioritized other needs in your choice, but at what point would you consider withdrawing your support for Trump if his policies unfairly targeted racial groups or infringed on civil rights? I'm thinking things like a national registry for Muslims, which has been rumored, or something more overt like, say, only white people can buy guns (hyperbole for the sake of example).

Clearly he passed a "point of no return" for most liberals and even for some conservatives on this front, but everyone has their own line. What's yours? Or is it a false premise?

And thanks to you too, I appreciate the civil discourse. Hoping to better understand.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nathan, OG anon here-

You're making an assumption as well, I'm afraid--I voted for Hillary. (haha)

I just have the uncanny ability to examine my own political party, especially considering we lost this election. Not many seem to have that ability these days. (moderates are better at this)

I mean no offense, but I wonder if you don't want to believe people are struggling financially right now because it doesn't support your view? You of course will find data to support your side. And polls. We've got lots of polls. Could anything possibly skew the median income in that data? Like, the minimal incomes of college students who largely make up the liberal side, to and the wealthy 1% on the conservative side? We all know which states turned this election around. And we continue to ignore what's happening in those states, because it does't support our side. In fact, we want a pure democracy now, so we can keep on ignoring them. Is that morally right?

Of course, I'm not asking you or anyone else to accept Trump's racist messages. Again, I'm just asking people to examine their *own* message. Because our message is also part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Thanks again. And I hope you find a job soon. Shouldn't be a problem since you're a WHAM.





Nathan Bransford said...

Ha - sorry for the assumption, the anons (including OG anons) sort of glommed together in my brain.

And yeah, I think you're right to take the averages with a grain of salt, and it's also possible to feel economically anxious even when you are not, by some third party objective measure, actually precarious. Like, my future feels uncertain at the moment but I just ate lunch and still have health insurance.

Here's an article I just saw on the broader topic: http://www.vox.com/identities/2016/11/15/13595508/racism-trump-research-study

Anonymous said...

OG anon here

Thanks for the link, Nathan! Great article. I am *so* on board with this message. I would take it a step further and ask, if we don't stop the name calling and silencing and create an open dialog with people again, we are being complacent, and therefore guilty of condoning racism etc ourselves?

Also, just a PSA. I am listening to people, and trying to be more aware of media slant these days, and Vox is openly liberal (fair warning to conservatives, you can hear the bias slant throughout the piece, but the overall message is good.) For every liberal opinion piece I read, I've pledged to read one conservative piece. It has kept me from living in my own echo chamber. I'm sure a lot of people aren't ready for that yet, but something to think about on both sides.

Anonymous said...

Also, I hope my sarcasm came through on that WHAM comment, Nathan! I was trying to show how insensitivity can come from marginalized sides as well, and maybe did it a little too well. I, of course, wish you all the best in your employment journey! I know it isn't easy. -OG anon

Mirka Breen said...

Vigorous and thoughtful discussion^. Bravo.
The short answer to the post's title is YES. I've experienced this closed-minded thought-muzzling personally, from both sides. Being a perennial centrist, I had it coming, I guess.

Nathan Bransford said...

OG anon-

It did, wasn't offended.

Oldy said...

This snip from Nathan sums up my position:
"What I struggle with here, is that this essentially boils down to, my economic needs trump racist attitudes toward people who aren't like me. At minimum, there's a certain privilege inherent in this in that you have the choice to focus on the economic issues because they know the racism won't affect them. But if you go way, way, way extreme with this attitude, my economics > someone else's civil rights. I mean... if you take "my economics trumps your rights" all the way to the logical extreme, that's how you end up with things like slavery, Jim Crow laws and housing discrimination."

I didn't vote, being ...foreign... and on the other side of the world. But I know a bunch of people from The States due to an affiliation with expat Football, and I know a bunch of them who voted for Trump. None of the guys I know (yes, I know, it's anecdotal evidence) are facing any sort of economic precariousness. For these guys, "I think Trump will steer our country in the right direction" was more important to them than all the hate speech.

I do take your point that there would be a percentage of Trump supporters who were clutching at economic straws, no matter how ugly and divisive and, frankly, vague, those straws were. But there are at least as many who just voted for their team, and those people I struggle to understand.

We have a similar divide in my country (though not as blatantly ugly as this campaign was), and in our July elections this year the conservative party (ironically calling itself 'Liberal') campaign on a soundbite of 'Jobs and Growth' that meant absolutely nothing. Leaving aside 25 years of uninterrupted growth, I saw people voting for these guys largely because they're on Team Libs, when our government is putting refugees in concentration camps for political capital. And enough people voted for One Nation (a shockingly racist white-people party) to put four in the senate.

Maybe I should stop conflating the conservatives in my country with yours, but I do see some worrying parallels. And those parallels come down to white voters who are doing just fine, but still don't give a rats' for people who aren't them.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Been thinking about the initial question for a day or so. I inhabit writing communities and have done so for about 25 years. Needed some time to pause and critically look at those places I inhabit.

"Has the writing community become close-minded to alternate viewpoints?"

My answer is: No, only certain corners have. But if one inhabits those certain corners exclusively, I can see how one could perceive the whole of the writing world to appear close-minded.

Fr'ex, the SFF corner is so liberal they've been won over by their own rhetoric and have forgotten that it's okay to be conservative. (Sometimes I find this a bit difficult to handle, as my publisher has labelled my books as SFF, which means I need to network with readers of SFF.)

But other areas aren't as given over to their own viewpoint that one should declare all things writerly as close-minded.

Romance circles tend to be beautifully open with authors embracing ideologies that support ideas ranging from erotic M/M to Christian inspirational Amish stories. I have found Romance writers to be an inclusive and tolerant bunch.

Some of they Mystery/Thriller places I've been tend to be a bit more moderate in their views.

I regularly read the blogs of a few agencies that support Inspirational writers, card-carrying Republicans and people who wish for a return of Sweet Valley High books. I read the blogs of historical authors whose world view, I believe, is better-anchored because they are students of history.

If the shoes of one particular corner of the writing world feel too tight, it's okay to seek out somewhere else that has comfier shoes for a while.

I found I became a better writer when I did that.

Anonymous said...

Oldy, you're giving us anecdotal evidence, *knowing* it's a logical fallacy, and then using it to further your position of "white voters are doing just fine." That is hurtful, not helpful. To everyone. Just wanted to point that out.

Also, if you aren't already following HONY on Instagram, he's currently posting stories from Macomb County Michigan. Might be a good time to start following. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale-- Very thoughtful.

Oldy said...

Anonymous:
"Oldy, you're giving us anecdotal evidence, *knowing* it's a logical fallacy, and then using it to further your position of "white voters are doing just fine." That is hurtful, not helpful. To everyone. Just wanted to point that out."

Really? That's your takeaway from what I said?

Just telling you what I see, is all. What I see is no more anecdotal than what HONY sees. These are real peeps. Just because I haven't done some sort of statistical, empirical breakdown of their representation among Trump voters, doesn't make them any less real.

I'm not tarring ALL Trump voters with the same brush, but I AM asking what excuses *these* Trump voters.

Anonymous said...

Oldy, you can't expect people to have a "takeaway" when your argument is based on logical fallacy. But by all means, debate however you want. I apologize for the offense.

And just to be clear, HONY is not using anecdotal evidence to further his position. That's the difference.

Aimee said...

Nathan, thank you for clarifying the point I was trying (poorly) to make.

For what it's worth, the people I was talking to in my comment are all at least comfortable if not affluent white people in cities or close-in suburbs. Their primary economic concern is paying as little in taxes as possible.

I voted based on healthcare. I myself have to use Medicaid to have any sort of insurance. I couldn't get private insurance before the ACA because private companies used my handful of doctor visits for bursitis and BPPV (vertigo) as chronic conditions to deny me coverage. With Paul Ryan's desire to gut Medicaid and the general desire of the Republican party to dismantle the ACA, I am facing being totally screwed for healthcare coverage.

If the party lines had been switched on this issue, I would have not voted for president and only voted downticket for my state rep and state/city government positions. I understand making poor decisions as a result of scarcity, but I also understand that I have a large amount of privilege simply because I'm white. The concept of white fragility may explain a lot of the behavior I found problematic in this election season, but it doesn't excuse it, and I don't think we should just gloss over these issues.

The Vox article was helpful to me as a starting point for how to change the conversation, and I really appreciate the discussion here. I'm definitely reassessing the way I'll be dealing with my trump supporting relatives going forward.

Craig said...

Just wanted to quickly say I'm very pleasantly surprised at how civil and respectful this discussion has been. Especially given the wide variety of view points expressed and how intense American politics is these days...

Best wishes to all!

Anonymous said...

Welp, you lost me, Nathan. I think you thought you had a good idea here, but it went horribly wrong. Or no, it went left. I just can't even listen to one more whiny post about the left and their sanctimonious, self-righteous, condemnation.

We get it. We're racists, we're sexists, we're all those things. You got the quantum physics wrong, BTW. I am a scientist. It's not about a "third-party" observer. It's about "perspective". And this blog has very little perspective I can relate to anymore.

BTW - I love how no one admits to voting for Trump, yet he's the president. Or maybe it's just no one here voted for Trump.

Welcome to NB's microcosm. I'm gonna ahead out now. It's been fun.

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

Would you mind being specific with where you think I went wrong? Trying to listen and learn.

Leah said...

A few things:

1) I've been around for a few elections, enough to see that the same issues come up again and again: healthcare, jobs, taxes, and war. This year, however, we had a new issue: human and civil rights. I attribute this to the rise of BLM, of millennial culture (strong bent towards progressivism), certain high-profile incidents (Orlando, Brock Turner), and our actual Presidential candidates: a virulent bigot and a woman. To liberals, this conversation about social inequities has been long overdue. And unlike the economy, it isn't the sort of conversation that is guaranteed to come up again four years from now). So there was an urgency to address it with this election, an urgency that gave it a higher priority (for liberals) than the economy (which we hear about constantly, whether there's an election or not). I think this quote from MLK captures the general feeling:

"I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

2) A majority of people (mostly Right, some Left) do not understand the terms "racism," "misogyny," "homophobia," etc. They seem to think these terms refer to a conscious, intentional malice on the part of an individual. They don't. An act of racism (any "-ism") is simply one that harms a vulnerable demographic (in this case, POC). It does not have to be conscious, it does not have to be intentional, it does not have to be physical, and it does not technically have to be an action (it can be inaction). So I see a lot of people denying these labels NOT because the labels are misapplied, but because people do not understand what they mean. When someone says "All lives matter," they may not be saying it with conscious malice, but the fact is, it is a racist statement. Because it denies that we need a BLM movement, that there is a unique and alarming threat to Black lives on a systemic level. Pointing out that the statement is racist is not an accusation; it is an observation. It makes no claims as to the speaker's intent. Intent is irrelevant.

3) I've noticed a lot of conservatives complaining (ironically) about being "silenced." This is a coinage from the progressive side of the internet meaning: a rhetorical tactic designed to quash dissent. The problem with conservatives using it is that they are applying it to any situation in which someone holds them accountable for saying something racist/misogynist/homophobic/etc. It is not a "silencing" tactic because the goal is not to silence. The goal is to instruct, to edify, to challenge. By and large, conservatives have chosen to reject that challenge and respond with knee-jerk defensiveness.

Leah said...

(Continued) One last point!

4) This is not to say that liberals have not been vicious on social media. My personal opinion is that it is backlash against a brutal campaign of online harassment that has gone ignored by mainstream media and the police alike, and perhaps, in some twisted way, it is an attempt to demonstrate to privileged folk what it feels like to be a marginalized person firsthand. Unfortunately, the people being put through the ringer this way seem to be coming out of it no more enlightened than they were before. I do have to chuckle, however, whenever I see white people raging about being treated like statistic, rather than individuals. But the point is, I would like to see it generally acknowledged that this is backlash, not unprovoked aggression. It doesn't justify it, but it might help with resolving it. I don't see it going away unless the underlying cause is addressed.

Becka said...

I feel like I should start with "long time listener, first time caller, Nathan" :)

For several reasons I have remained silent throughout the entire election, almost all of them going back to the fact that I am very conservative. It is very hard to have a discussion with anyone with liberal views who does not take personal offense to the fact that I disagree with them, just going to put that out there.

All of that aside, it's interesting to me that people repeatedly point out all of the awful things that Trump has said, cry foul, and accuse us that voted for him of supporting racism/sexism/etc. I am not a Trump supporter. But I am a conservative and I did vote for him. And I have a lot of problems with Hillary. Why does that never come up? Why are the liberals up in arms because I voted for someone (whom I disagree with on several issues) but they're okay voting for a criminal? Are you saying that you condone criminal activity? And please please please do not try to tell me that it is all lies and she is so innocent - blah blah blah. We all know she is a criminal. And that would be why the liberals are now crying for a pardon from President Obama before he leaves office. Funny that on one hand you're trying to say that she's innocent and on the other trying to ask for a pardon.

The very nature of a conservative is quiet. For the most part we aren't yelling and screaming for what we believe in. I'm listening when you accuse me of being all of the things that Trump may or may not be and I haven't accused you of being a criminal yet. Is that fair? You were willing to overlook that part of her character to achieve the political ends that you thought were important. Why is it so unreasonable that I would be willing to overlook part of his character?

I am a quiet conservative. I always have been. But I am tired. I am tired of liberal intolerance. I am tired of having to stay quiet to keep the peace because the other side is incapable. And for the first time I'm willing to say it. Thanks for giving me an outlet.

Nathan Bransford said...

Becka-

Thanks for chiming in. I agree that it is difficult to have a conversation these days with tensions so high, but hopefully we can try.

"We all know she is a criminal."

How do you know this? What is your evidence? Do you see how I might be reluctant to accept this at face value in the absence of evidence?

What if I said, "Bruce Willis is in fact a robot disguised as a human. How do I know this? *We all know he's a robot.*" Would you believe me?

And if supposed criminality influenced you so much, how do you square this with the fact that Trump was recently forced to settle a fraud lawsuit for $25 million?

Hope you'll indulge me these questions. Genuinely trying to understand how people think about these things.

Becka said...

Nathan

Wikileaks provided us with so much proof of the secret emails she was pouring through her private email servers - hundreds of emails marked secret that she moved through her personal servers. That is a federal crime. A federal crime that has sent more than one person to prison and there is proof that she did it. The Clinton Foundation is illegally operating as a 501 (c) 3 charity among other alleged activity some of which is criminal and some of which is just unscrupulous (at best). Please note - it's been openly acknowledged that it's been proven to be an illegal 501 (c) 3, also openly acknowledged that it's not been prosecuted. Should I keep going or can I stop now? I'm on my phone :)

I guess I reconcile it because Trump has never once tried to hide his character. He is pretty up front about himself. I feel like what you see is what you get with him and I feel better about that.

(Also a settlement is in no way the same thing as a guilty verdict in court of law.)

Nathan Bransford said...

Becka-

What do you make of the fact that FBI Director Comey didn't charge Hillary despite access to all those emails and information, despite, given the timing of his last revelation, it appears he's no fan of hers?

And if a settlement isn't the same thing as a guilty verdict, isn't no charges even less than that? Still not sure of how you're scaling.

And Trump Foundation vs. Clinton Foundation?

Re: He is pretty up front about himself, this cartoon kind of cracked me up along those lines. (Not expecting you to agree with the sentiment of it obviously, but that's kind of my reaction to the idea that he's better because he's a known quantity.)

Anyway, doubt we'll necessarily agree on this one but I do appreciate you taking the time to respond. Happy to continue the discussion if you want or we can just leave this one here.

Becka said...

My last response, I promise :)

I just want to say thanks. It's been really nice to be able to disagree with someone and still feel like adults. I just can't understand how you are seeing a six while I'm seeing a nine but I can appreciate that you are standing there trying to figure how in the world I can't see your six. (If that makes and sense!)

I REALLY enjoy reading your blog, Nathan. I appreciate your advice and unknowingly you have shaped my publishing journey, so thank you for that.

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