“I am here without instruction, able to vote my own personal convictions.”
“And they are?”
The exchange above takes place during the film 1776. Dr. Lyman Hall, the new delegate from Georgia has arrived at the Continental Congress, which is on the brink of bringing the question of Independence up for debate. He is being queried by Edward Rutledge of South Carolina where he stands on the matter. Hall chooses to keep his innermost thoughts to himself until such time as he could hear the debate from both sides of the issue and then make up his mind.
We could use a lot more Dr. Halls these days. I know I have taken his example to heart this year and apparently my silence has been noted. I’ve been asked why I haven’t blogged here about many of the news headlines and some of the kerfuffles related to sci-fi/fantasy recently.
The simple answer is this: No one wants to sit down and calmly discuss an issue anymore. Now, people on both sides, just want to shout the other side down, And when that doesn’t work, engage in canceling, destroying ability to earn a living, assaults and other various attacks up to and including murder in a bid to cow the other side into silent submission.
“A thousand voices screaming to be heard and nothing will be done,” Crown Prince Leopold said in The Illusionist and he could have just as easily have been talking about the first 19 months of this third decade of the 21st Century.
Because that is what we have had for over a year now. A lot of screaming, shouting, burning down buildings, buildings being invaded and attacked by shouting mobs, business owners either murdered trying to protect their property or driven to ruin and suicide after all they had worked for has been destroyed by people they have never wronged in any way.
And no one wants to stop. Just stop. Stop and listen to the legitimate concerns and questions from them. The evil other who cannot be lived with, must be silenced and destroyed no matter that the destruction of the other is in fact also the destruction of yourself.
“The spear in the other’s heart is the spear in your own,” counseled Surak of Vulcan. “You are he.“
It is truly a pity that a fictional character is so much wiser than anyone currently living on this planet today.
As for me, I have chosen to hold my thoughts on many of “major issues of the day” because I am tired of dealing with those that rabidly twist what I say in their silly attempts to “cancel” me. I’ve dealt with one particular clown and his junior high clique of minions for over four years who have had their knickers in a knot over a free book I once gave away to a comic book convention.
More recently, a person I once considered a friend, decided to ignore my original remark on the stupidity we saw take place on Jan. 6th when a small group of bozos decided it would be a good idea to invade the Capitol building. Despite my clearly indicating it was a dumb thing to do, as well as illegal, and would rightfully lead to jail time for all of them – along with the Democrats using the stunt as a bludgeon to beat to death anyone with legitimate concerns over the government’s actions for the next two-to-four years – he decided to have a cow over my statement that I “understood why they felt they had to do it” and has been running around telling people, falsely I stress, that I “defended the insurrection!!!”. Something I again stress, I have never done, nor would ever do.
I can understand why they did what they did on Jan. 6th and still strongly condemn it. Just as I can understand why those associated with Antifa and BLM feel they have to act they way they do and still strongly condemn the violent, illegal acts they have committed for over a year. Condemnation and understanding are not mutually exclusive terms.
If we do not sit down and start understanding one another there can be no hope of finding common ground, of finding ways to allow both sides to get what they want within reason. And without that understanding, that common ground, there is only one, bloody outcome possible in our near future. I’d rather not live to see that come to pass. But the way both sides are digging in and launching all-out nuclear attacks on anyone not “on their side” I fear that outcome is inevitable. And we have no Infinity Stones handy to undo the mess with a single snap of the fingers.
But I will not make myself a target for irrational people on both sides of any issue, at least not until we can get back to a time and place when these words matter again:
“I disagree with you and what you just said, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
So, no, I will no longer share my views on many subjects like I used to. So stop asking. For the agitators and trolls – again, on both sides – you’ve come to the wrong shop. So go somewhere else to stir up trouble with your hate. There is no market for it here.
Here, I will post about my books and other projects and help promote other creators who, like me, just want to tell our stories, share our art and get along with one another. And I, like they, will hope to find, as Max Ehrmann once said, “what peace there may be in silence.”
If I may shamelessly steal a line from my favorite movie reviewer, The Critical Drinker:
“That’s all I’ve got for today. Go away now…”