I don’t know about you, but when I sign up for a mailing list or some subscription, paying for it or not, I expect that they will send me content as they labeled it. I don’t expect to see news about dog shows in mailing list about electronics. I don’t expect to see endorsements for drugs in a magazine about what’s happening in the field of aviation. (And of course, when you read this blog, you can expect anything, because it’s freestyle.) I understand ads are necessary to support magazines and website hosting, but it seems when it comes to politics, people take exception. Not only that, they may employ the most round-about ways of tying it in to the labeled subject matter. Believe me, I can relate the price of tea in China to anything, but we need to draw the line somewhere. I guess people like Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of NanoWrimo thinks he can stretch it.
I understand people feel very strongly about politics. No has pulled out the worst in the modern liberal as now-President Donald Trump. Yahoo news had an article about “fake news” ensnaring liberals. When people feel like their ideals and ethics are threatened, they tend to look for some comforting message or at least one that affirms their beliefs and suspicions. It would seem that the only people who know what Trump is doing are his wife and those with him in the Oval Office.
I’m not worried that any of this is going to be as blown out of proportions as people make it out to be. (To back up that statement, despite being threatening to China in the primaries, Trump has already stopped stepping on their toes and acknowledged their views on Taiwan, or so the mainstream media says.) There is such a stir, however, that I end up getting emails from various organizations that reveal their true color.
Yesterday, I got an email from NanoWrimo – National Writers Month organization – that began with the following:
As a creative writing nonprofit, we’re not a political organization. We don’t endorse candidates or support any particular party. In an ideal world, we would focus only on empowering people to write.
In other words, they’re saying that somehow their duty extends beyond promoting writing just because we aren’t in an ideal world. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need a writing-promotion organization because people could give themselves motivation. In three sentences, they just wrote off their whole purpose for the sake of what comes next.
Yet we find ourselves in a time where people’s ability to tell their stories—and even to safely exist—is at stake.
NaNoWriMo strives to be a gateway and sanctuary for people’s voices. Our guiding belief is that every person’s story matters, and we celebrate the inclusion of all religions, races, genders, sexualities, and countries of origin. We help people find a safe space to be who they are—creators, storytellers, and world changers.
That’s a very rhetorical, flowery way of saying, “We want to share our political opinion under the guise that we’re still talking about writing.” (Notice the supposed tie-in but with an extra tie-in and emphasis on the unrelated: “…people’s ability to tell their stories—and even to safely exist“.) Everyone has a story, including those who are going to suffer as a consequence of foreigners – be they from predominantly Muslim countries or not – coming into this country. There is more than one side to every story. In fact, I’d say there are definitely more than two.
The reality is that, no matter what is done, no matter who gets into this country (or is kept out), someone is going to suffer. That’s life. People across the United States are suffering, homeless, deprived of the benefits of things you and I probably take for granted. Letting other people into this country isn’t the solution to the problems of every one who comes in. It may help some of them and hurt others. It certainly doesn’t fix the problems of their country of origin.
What I care about most is justice. Shouldn’t we employ justice and fairness towards those who act in accordance with the law? Where is the line of nationalism drawn? Does it even matter? Many people here may want to forget about national borders, but the rest of the world doesn’t forget.
Sometimes people feel so strongly about some ideal that they have thought so little about, they feel it necessary to break people’s expectations in order to rub in their agenda… and have the nerve to poorly disguise it as being on-topic. If I wanted to read that, I would have subscribed to their political or freestyle blog. Consequently, I unsubscribed.
I am rather curious, however, if this is the natural response of Americans or if I’m just in the minority. Maybe some people tolerate it so they can continue to receive more info they like. It would seem silly to start an entirely new group dedicated to the promotion of writing just because a divide on the political spectrum.
It can be hard to draw the line when it comes to what you believe to be the elephant in the room, but if you happen to be running a topic-specific mailing list, please do your audience a favor and stay on topic. I know, it’s hard, but there are plenty of outlets you can use to reach a vast majority of people without having to derail threads.
One could extend this argument to blogs and minor publications, and that’s certainly true, though I suppose here one could draw the line between “official” and “unofficial”. For instance, I would not expect to see political rants on the official blog of Elixir (a programming language rising in popularity). Being on the official website implies that it is about official news.
All this isn’t to suggest people stop talking about politics or ethics or different things. I’m more or less just asking for genuine honesty out of news and article sources that are socially-implied to cover a specific thing.
Now would be a good time for an awesome blog post.