Saturday, July 9, 2016

Pol... i... tics...?

In the most acknowledged sense of the word "politics", I'm afraid I gots nuthin'.

I vote, because in Australia it's compulsory and incurs a fine if you refrain from taking part. I don't, however, understand the intricacies of the entire procedure, nor can I recognize the differences between our two major parties, no matter how obvious they might be.

This is, I acknowledge, apathy on my part. I'm intelligent and educated, yet this is one of my big black holes of knowledge, because it holds no interest to me.

So I was left thinking of other options to talk about within the broader heading (or laterally-thought-out side-track) of "politics".

And it struck me that, on a surface level at least, being a self- or indie-published author has some similarities.

Much like a person who enters politics, an indie author will often take up the role because they have a voice, and they have a great desire to share that voice in order to make their world, and the world of others, a better place. In some ways it's self-serving, yet it's done with noble intentions.

And then all the other stuff happens. Money can get in the way in both fields, to the point it pulls someone away from the course they'd planned. That isn't automatically bad, but it often is. In politics it might impair judgement or even lead to criminal acts. In writing, it's usually far more about the individual, but it can drag an author a long way from home. Away from their voice, their genre, their story length. And it's often guilty of turning the politician or the author into someone they weren't, and never meant to be.

The hours can be hell with both jobs, as well. I don't, as I say, have a finger on politics, but I certainly know sessions can last many hours, and cross over to several days, when totes important shit is going down, man. With writing... well, my only experience is down here in the coal mines, where I literally work for a matter of cents per hour (based on the time spent to finish a book vs the number of copies sold). And that's because I tend to be working for 14-16 hours per day many days.

And of course, the end results can often be quite similar, too. You put yourself out to the public in any fashion, and you're fair game. A politician and a writer can each be attacked by the same trolls with the same vocabulary. And generally speaking, both professions are held accountable for their words (which is logical in some respects). But it's rarely the words themselves which are attacked... the words are the gateway drug, in a manner of speaking. They become the hook for trolls to hang their fists on. Very soon it becomes the person who's an idiot, or a hack, or only in it for the money, or whatever.

So... I don't really have a point this time around. But when it comes to politics, I guess not having a point IS my point.


  1. Here in the US, considering our choices this time around, we must pay attention and vote. No telling what would happen if the unruly elephant in the room got in. For sure his destructive minions will vote.

  2. You get fined in Australia if you don't vote? I wish that was the case here in the US also! It would put the kibosh on all of the stupid "voter requirement" rules that some are trying to inflict on the electorate, to be sure those they don't like, ie, the poor, who don't usually have easy access to IDs, are not able to express their opinions.

    And you're right about politicians being attacked...especially the intelligent ones. Barack Obama was continually made fun of, because he's so educated and erudite. But I don't want a moron who wants to have a beer and eat pork rinds with me, as my president. I want a person who is smarter and more well-informed than me, so I know my country is in good hands. We've had that for 8 years, but some are determined to send us to Hell, and they're supplying the hand-baskets. Sigh...

    In many ways Australia is similar to the US--both were started as colonies the British sent their "great unwashed" to live or die in. Somehow you people have managed to keep some common sense about you, while we seem to have lost any semblance of it.
    I've heard that Canada is contemplating building a wall to keep those of us fleeing "the orange one", in case he gets elected. How stringent are the rules down under, about people fleeing a nation gone insane wanting to immigrate?

    1. Problem is those who are munching pork rinds and drinking beer are the ones who'll be voting for the 'orange one'. They're the ones who put W in. Twice. (if you ignore the fact that Bush stole it both times.) A stupid vote counts just as much as an informed one. Imagine if all the people who never vote, even in the general election, come out for Mr. Orange. We're fucked.

      Mister Prime Minister? Tear down that wall!

  3. Let's not dis that beer so much (I'm neutral on the pork rinds issue.) President Obama has been known to have a beer with informal discussions. And, while I'm with you all the way in general, one political/class problem we have is in our knee-jerk way of assuming anyone who doesn't agree with us is stupid and ignorant. This happens on both sides. (I do see Trump supporters as ignorant, but when you hear, for instance, a despairing midwesterner who used to make a living in factories that are, unfortunately, gone forever, you realize that even if you're sure that Trump won't really bring back those jobs, that person may realize it too, but still want to cling to a thread of hope since they have nothing else.

    1. Thanks for this insight, Sacchi. I think the instant polarization is a big part of the problem. The world is shades of gray, not black and white. Oversimplifying the situation, and demonizing the "other side" ends up being totally unproductive, even if it can sometimes be emotionally satisfying.

  4. Sacchi, I like beer too. But I'm astute enough to realize that yes, those jobs aren't coming back, and it's the wealthy who sent them overseas, aided by the tax breaks they had their crony politicians write into law, to make sure they made money as they closed factories and put huge swaths of the population out of work. And nothing is going to bring them back.

    For any person to say he's going to single-handedly bring back those jobs? When he's been in court getting sued repeatedly by the workers he's screwed over who work in his casinos and hotels? Not to mention the contractors and suppliers he never paid? Gosh, he sounds like a serial liar to me. And you don't have to be Einstein to see that. Just have your fingers stuffed into your ears while you sing, "La la la, I can't hear you!"

    I have some very close friends who are Republicans. Even they are bemoaning who is supposed to be their standard bearer. He says what his audience wants to hear, with no real intention to keep any promises. I respect people who use their brains, on both sides of the issues. But not those who will willy-nilly follow anyone who panders to them, while they remain oblivious they are being courted only for their vote.

    Those out-of-work factory workers need to get someone elected who will guarantee they can go to community colleges for free or reduced cost, so they can get retrained in the jobs that are available. And trade schools are a great choice, since I've heard that there is a shortage all across the board, but especially in plumbing, where there are openings but no trained workers to fill them. And only one candidate has come out in support of reducing the crushing student aid debt. Hint: it's not the one for whom money has never been an issue.

  5. My husband maintains that if you don't know anything about the candidates, you shouldn't vote. That voting in ignorance is worse than not voting at all.

    I'm not sure I agree with him, but it's something to debate.

    Meanwhile, I find your analogy between writing and politics extremely apt. It's almost impossible to stay genuine if you want any kind of success at all.

  6. Willsin, you've shown us that everything is political. Being a freelance writer rather than a political campaigner or candidate doesn't save a person from engaging in power struggles.


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