May 28, 2020

In For the Long Haul, Fixing the Future

In our natural habitat.

So, how are YOU holding up? Today marks two weeks since the inauguration/coronation of El Presidente, and like many, it’s tough to keep the old nose to the grindstone and focus on writing. This isn’t the usual distraction of kids/TV/yard guys around the house that’s easily shut out with ear defenders (yes, we occasional type with 105 Db proof-rated ear defenders on. Sometimes, I even wear a back brace, too) or a good blast of death metal music.

And the trouble is, we don’t want to shut out the steady spate of bad political news, or at least not entirely. Author Kristine Katherine Rusch has a great post on her site this week on Writing in Difficult Times that’s worth a read, on how what we do day to day as writers matters, and how to fight back as this country takes a wrong turn.

I see this happening with other friends in the writing/blogging/tech community. The day El Presidente Trump walked out on that stage in front of the American flag last November, I had a deadline. Suddenly, it became a battle to put one word in front of another, as one eye struggled to stay on the page, and another on the news feed. I know some writer friends who have dropped off the cyber radar all together, or have spoken of moving to bluer (read more progressive) climes…

I think this is a bad idea. We’re currently living here on the purple fringe in rural Florida, a place where condos and crumbling winter McMansions in Sarasota meet Walmarts and trailer parks. This is where we feel the real work needs to be done, using the system to turn things slowly around. It’s going to be a long slog to be sure, but you can begin now by registering to vote and actually voting. Every. Year. We’ve got some Congressional seats to defend in 2018, and hey, maybe we’ll win a few new ones. That will really put the so-called ‘alt-right’ on notice.

Take the test. Get out of the bubble. If you’ve got a way to make income remotely, consider moving to a purple or red state, where your vote and activism can make a real difference. Heck, some middle America towns not only have screaming fast wifi, but offer tax breaks for new residents.

Congrats also to Maine Senator Susan Collins and Senator John McCain, for showing that it is possible to be a card-carrying Republican and still stand up to Trump.

One can only wonder if, like Douglas Adams’ President of the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox, the Orange Clown’s real purpose is not to wield power, but distract us from it.

If nothing else, the current state of affairs is an excellent ‘press to test’ for our brand of democracy, one we haven’t seen the likes of since the 1960s. I once had a political science teacher who said the Russian psyche in the 20th century was shaped by two devastating World Wars, while the American outlook on the world was altered by the Great Depression. I would also add the Civil War, before which we felt stronger about what state we came from, and after, we identified as American.

We’re now in a fourth great period of trial and tribulation for American democracy. Now more than ever, we need writers to put those feelings into words and action. Let’s take back our country and assure American democracy survives and thrives.

That’s our political rant, to add to the onslaught. We’ll get back to space and science soon, promise. We’ve got lots of science and sci-fi books in the review backlog, and we’ll intersperse these with some great vids we’ve unearthed in our exploits. Expect this sort of op-ed/dispatch from Occupied America on the first Friday of the month…

And speaking of sci-fi, we wanted to give a brief shout-out to a recent episode of Escape Pod named Run by C.R. Hodges… it’s one of the best we’d listened to in a while, and it’s particularly relevant to these dystopian times we live in.



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