August 29, 2012
ADVICE FOR THE RNC: A reader emails:
Hi, first of all, if you’re even reading this, thank you. I know you must be bombarded with e-mails. Like many of your other readers, I would ask that if you do anything with this, you do not associate my name with anything. It would pretty much destroy me professionally.
I’m a reformed liberal and hearing election coverage tends to make me nuts. You have influence and I wanted to float an idea to you (for possible consideration and publicity). I think the RNC should start a website submission process where regular people (like me) can submit ideas for adds. I’m a suburban, working mom. I am the person they’re trying to reach. You’d think that people like me would have good ideas for how the out of touch politician can speak to us and our peers. Plus, it would be easy…I swear the commercials could half write themselves.
“It would pretty much destroy me professionally.” It’s a shame that American politics have descended into such a reign of terror.
UPDATE: Reader Jody Green writes: “You are so right to highlight this most disgusting fact of life in a country built on freedom. If you are Black, Hispanic, work in Hollywood, Journalism, Law or Academia you must hide your true beliefs or your life/job will be targeted. This is the real battle for the future.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Another reader emails: “Identifying with conservative issues, and I’m not even talking social issues, is professional death in the non-profit world. So, please, if you use this, don’t use my name.”
Meanwhile, reader George Milonas writes:
My advice for Romney and Ryan:
They need to take an immediate tour of hurricane ravaged areas offering help to locals and demanding Obama declare the area a disaster area. They would look presidential while Obama golfs and fundraises-what he does best.
It would make a great ad.
MORE: Another reader writes:
Your comment, “It’s a shame that American politics have descended into such a reign of terror” regarding reformed liberal readers’ requests not to be identified is telling. I work in an industry that is almost exclusively conservative, in a very conservative state (Texas). I’ve worked with a few liberals, and they were quite open about it. While we sometimes discussed politics at lunch or around the coffee pot, I never saw any of my fellow conservatives berate, threaten or ridicule the liberals. No one was ever called names. We respect them, even though we disagree with them.
My wife, on the other hand, works in a liberal profession. The few times she’s let her true feelings show, she’s been met with disdain, antipathy and outright disgust. She’s afraid to put a Romney sticker on her car for fear of it being vandalized in the employee parking lot. What is it that causes liberals, the so-called champions of diversity, to react so violently to conservative thoughts?
Tribalism and intellectual insecurity.
MORE STILL: Sarah Hoyt emails:
For years I worried, to the point of having an elaborate fake identity to comment on political blogs. I thought if I came out politically my publishing houses would drop me and of course, we couldn’t live without the money.
Then the one of my editors — Toni Weisskopf at Baen — who knew I was a libertarian and with whom I’d traded emails about the significance of Heinlein’s Puppet Masters to our current situation, asked me to write the foreword to the re-edition of the book. I was aware this might kill my career with every other house but Baen, and at the time Baen took maybe a book from me every two years: not enough to live on.
I did it anyway, because I felt I had to. I was right. The other houses dropped me like a hot potato and the last two years were pretty rough income wise. But then as a writer, I can now self publish, Darkship Thieves did pretty well, and Baen is now buying a lot more books from me and… I think in a year or so, once we backfill that hole, I’ll be all right.
However — in the moments when I thought I wasn’t being paranoid — I wasn’t. In the arts and creative fields of endeavor, too, being conservative/libertarian is the kiss of death. (Unless you write sf/f and are lucky enough to work for Baen.)
I’d like to point out though — the point of this ramble — that I’ve found the pay off is worth it. Not the money — though I think eventually it might be. I don’t know what other people who (like Roger L. Simon) blacklisted themselves have found, but I’ve found that being able to be me and not self-censor every word took my creativity AND my execution to a new level. It’s like… before I was sleep-writing and now I’m awake. And my beta readers seem to agree.
Yes, it would still be pointless if I couldn’t get it in front of people. So I’m not suggesting everyone does this. But maybe we need more safe havens for conservative artists, where we CAN be ourselves.