Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Political Views by Morgan Mandel

Because of the primary election, my thoughts turned to politics and the role they play with authors and bloggers. I purposesly avoid speaking of politics on my blogs. I don't like to force my opinion on others or alienate people of opposite tastes. I only include politics in a very general sense in my novels. 
What about you? I'm not asking you to tell us your political opinions here. I just want to know your ideas about sharing political views.

Is it something you feel necessary to include in your blog? Do you think it's helpful or harmful in an author's career to do so? Or, maybe you'd like to name circumstances that would affect doing so or not.


Ellen said...

I'm not an author. I'm a reviewer. Yes, I do include my poltical views when they have something to do with what I'm posting about. I don't go out of my way to include them but I'm not ashamed of them either so I include them when applicable.

Holly Jahangiri said...

I believe that if we fail to exercise our First Amendment rights, we will lose them. The whole reason we are free in this country to express our views without fear of recrimination is BECAUSE of the importance our founding father put on the freedom to discuss POLITICAL opinions. That the First Amendment extends to other opinions is owed to that, so I do believe we should share our political views and encourage a lively discussion of different opinions.

Too often, we allow ourselves to be censored by our own reticence, our fears of not being liked or accepted, our fears of "offending" someone. To me, rudeness is offensive - NOT a difference of political opinions. Shouting others down so that they cannot be heard, calling them "idiots," refusing to listen, or allowing them to belittle our opinions like bullies - that's what's offensive.

How can we even FORM an informed political opinion if we don't share ideas? "Sharing" is not forcibly foisting them off on others. It's not saying "My way or the highway." But it is standing up for what we believe in, listening to why others believe differently, and being constantly willing to re-evaluate our stance based on new facts, new ideas, new information.

Writers are among the most persuasive people in the world, but we get lazy, too, I think. It's easier not to fight the good fight. It's easier to write what people want to hear. When we hesitate to voice our views, we should all soberly reflect on the power "mere words" have, and those who have been killed or imprisoned for their writings - because they spoke out against what was morally wrong, and were prepared to risk everything to bring that to light. Writing is not a gift that should be left idle on a shelf.

Sally_Odgers said...

I don't talk about my political views in real life, so naturally I don't mention them in my writing or my blogs. I can't imagine anyone could care less whether I vote for Mr Rudd or Mr Abbott (though as a matter of fact I vote for neither, since neither one is the Member for my electorate). Voting is compulsory here, so the only thing my readers will ever know for certain is that I voted for someone... or else copped a fine.

Helen said...

I avoid discussing my political views mostly. I am not a debater and it seems a discussion always turns to debate when it comes to politics. I try to keep my blog focused primarily on writing.

Straight From Hel

Cheryl said...

While if anyone glances through some of the books I've reviewed they will probably know I am a conservative Christian, I don't go out of my way to discuss politics at my blog because it's about books, not so much about me. Even when I review a book that is considered political, I review it objectively, as that's what I feel my role as a reviewer is.

Now, I've toyed with the idea of starting a political blog, but I just don't have time to do it. As a conservative in Massachusetts, I am in a definite minority. The waste I see going on around me is enough to support a third world country. It just doesn't work into the theme of my current blogs, so I don't talk about it there.


Anonymous said...

I don't blog about politics, but not because I'm worried about offending anyone. I live in the Capital Region of New York State, and politics here is so seriously dysfunctional on both sides of the aisle that I prefer not to think about it.

My husband is executive director of a progressive advocacy organization, so he's constantly thinking, talking and writing about this stuff. And it brings him down, without a doubt! It brings me down too, so I don't address it in my writing. Rather, I try to escape from it!

In my novels, I wrestled with how much to disclose. For example, the heroine in MOOD SWING: THE BIPOLAR MURDERS is diagnosed bipolar, and I write about her "coming out," but in the jacket copy I don't disclose that I too have that diagnosis. In person and online, though, I'm upront about it!

Great topic, Morgan - I think I'll have to borrow it for my blog!

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso

Other Lisa said...

I do blog about my political views, because they form a part of my larger philosophical view of the world, which informs the books that I write. I try not to slam people over the head with it, and I keep them somewhat compartmentalized. For example, on my author Facebook page, I don't talk about these sorts of issues -- that is purely for writing-related and book-related posts. Same thing with the "news" section of my website. My blog is another matter -- that's where I'll let my hair down, as it were, and talk about whatever damn thing I want to discuss.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I don't talk politics either, Morgan! I just let my conservative style speak for itself.

Anonymous said...

Hi again, Morgan. As threatened above, I went ahead and blogged about this topic. I quoted you uptop with a live link to Acme Authors Link and your own blog - hope that's OK! Maybe it'll bring us both some more visitors.

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I don't write about politics either--don't talk about them much either because I'm too often in the minority. You can never win anyone over to your way of thinking--each side thinks the other is too pigheaded to see clearly. And no doubt that is true.


Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Morgan,

I'll mention my political views, but sparingly, and usually only with regard to issues as opposed to individuals. I agree that I don't want to alienate my readers, but I also am happy to see a dialogue.

A week or two ago I blogged about gay marriage and its relationship to M/M romance. I was delighted to receive many comments, including some from people who are opposed to same-sex marriage. I felt great that someone whose views did not match mine still was comfortable sharing them.


Anonymous said...

In my blogging I'm certain my political views become well known. However, that's subtlety. I don't stand on a figurative or literal soap box and expound. It's unnecessary. In my stories I'm very aware of my characters' political views, whatever they are. It colors their choices, colors their perceptions of events, and colors their relationships with others. But as a reader you'll have to guess. Unless they're at a political rally of some sort (not likely in one of my books), they aren't going to be wearing lapel buttons, stating their positions or political inclinations. Again, it's unnecessary for the type of stories I prefer to tell.

Bryn Colvin said...

I tend to be more political with a small 'p' rather than interested in parties. I'm an anarchist at heart - I believe people should take as much responsibility for themselves as they can, and where they can't, have 'authority' at the smallest, closest level possible. That attitude, along with my green and liberal tendancies is there all the time in my writing and blogging because it's part of who I am and how I udnerstand the world. But I don't talk explicitly about Politcs in a parties sense that much.

Terry Odell said...

My blog "rules" are simple: No religion, politics or BSP."

I prefer to avoid pushing people's hot buttons, and politics and religion seem to bring out the worst.

As for the BSP - I like my blog to be something beyond a promotional site. There's plenty of that elsewhere.

Unknown said...

MORGAN--I learned MANY years ago to never discuss politics with my friends. I discuss them with my dh, because we're on the same side.But to bring politics into a circle of friends is the quickest route to dissension and hurt feelings. I don't really discuss politics on my blog, either, although I may inadvertently throw in something. But I can usually tell a person's political bent. So, I'm careful. Celia

Patricia Stoltey said...

Although I occasionally respond to political blog posts, I've avoided addressing political issues on my own blog. I prefer to focus on books, writing, social media, and a little humor. I prefer to keep my readers amused instead of pushing their hot buttons.

Mary Cunningham said...

I will stand up for a cause I truly believe in, because I feel it's my responsibility, but I try not to offend others who don't have the same beliefs.

I'm very careful about expressing views on public forums, though. I had a "friend" on Facebook tell me I should "BURN IN HELL" for my views. He is no longer a "friend." LOL!


Cara Lopez Lee said...

I don't directly address politics in my blog. However, my blog focuses on world travel, global issues and events, women's empowerment, and approaching life with a sense of adventure. So, politics do get indirectly addressed.

For example, I recently wrote a post about how world travel can damage the environment, and talked about what I do to mitigate my negative impacts on the environment. The comments that followed included a discussion of over-population and global warming. Still, when I do offer my opinion, I try to steer clear of extremes, and offer fairly even-handed, neutral observations. I like to remind people that there are many different facets to an issue, and rarely one definitive answer.

So, although I don't go on rants, readers can probably guess my political views from reading my material. It doesn't seem to be a problem, as most travelers share an open-minded view of the world and appreciate a diversity of opinions. I doubt most people who dislike my political views would be attracted to the lifestyle I tend to promote in my blog in the first place.