evannichols (evannichols) wrote,

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I'm a Genre Writer, and I have Political Opinions.

I intended to mail my ballot right away, but I didn't get to it until yesterday. There were a bunch of ballot measures to think about. But my Presidential selection was easy. I don't talk much about politics here, but that's mostly because I usually don't feel I have much to say that's new or illuminating beyond what more politically-savvy pundits have said. Recent Internet discussions about whether authors should write about politics have prompted me to speak up. Everyone has the right to express their political opinions. Yes, anyone in the public eye risks offending fans. But that is the writer's choice to make. And so, in my own small way, I'll walk the talk, and say a few things.

If you fear that knowing my politics will poison your enjoyment of my creative work, then just walk away, and we'll keep our relationship professional. If you're interested in knowing what I think, please read on...

I don't make politics a major theme in my writing, but I don't think my progressive leanings are a secret. I'd even call myself a "Liberal," despite its contemporary use as a pejorative. Frankly, I believe in personal freedom balanced with social responsibility, where individuals should be allowed to do anything that doesn't harm others, and everyone is held accountable for their actions. Government should be more concerned with protecting the common good than deregulating corporations so they may subject unfettered free-marketry upon workers and consumers, like wolves upon lambs. I do think capitalism is an excellent economic model, IF it's tightly controlled to prevent exploitation by the wealthy and powerful.

I've had friends state that voting doesn't matter, since the same power structures will remain regardless of which politician is in office. I'll agree that our country's socio-economic system won't magically change due to any single election, but I'd think the past eight years should be proof enough for anyone that there can be major differences. If the 2000 election hadn't been stolen, I can't imagine that President Gore would have responded to 9/11 by invading two countries who had nothing to do with the attacks. Nor do I think he would have run up record deficits, dismantled environmental protections, nor encouraged "self-regulation" (i.e. no regulation) of corporations.*

I loathe politics as a grand popularity contest, playing to the lowest common denominator. I don't think anyone should vote based on which candidate the voter would "most like to have a beer with" (although I relish that in this election, Barak Obama is far more charismatic than John "Cranky Grandpa" McCain). Nor should anyone vote solely based on a candidate's age, skin color, gender, looks, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Selection for political office, especially US President, should be based on who will do the best job. Which one will make life better for the most people. Which candidate will best shoulder the heavy responsibility of navigating an entire country's fate as we move into the Future. I understand that humans (including me) base decisions far more on emotion rather than reason, but I hate watching that be exploited by smear campaigns and half-truths. Especially when people should be able to see that strategy for what it is.

I hope our government will once again operate with Adult Supervision, where the actions of elected and appointed officials are subject to scrutiny, all civil servants operate under the Rule of Law, and non-partisan sectors of government return to performing their chartered functions, and not furthering the goals of any specific political party. I believe history will describe the Bush Administration and the years 2001 – 2008 as the darkest hour of American politics, and I pray that justice will be served to those who deserve it.

* I know: It was Clinton who signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed the parts of the Glass-Steagall Act that kept commercial and investment banking separate, allowing the securitization of mortgages, which led to the subprime mortgage crisis, and it's something that we're annoyed at him about. But I will point out that it was a bill from a solidly Republican Congress, who really should have known better than to dismantle something put in place to prevent financial crisis, just so businesses could make more short-term profits.

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