In case you live in a hole in the ground, you know there was an election. It was not just an election year, it was a very emotionally charged election year. I know, every time there is an election there are emotions, but this time things seem much more volatile. Anyone on social media has seen passionate posts, or maybe you are the one writing them. We have seen moderates berate both sides, we have seen Trump supporters demonize Hillary, and Hillary supporters insist Trump is the next Hitler. This post isn’t about my political views, but instead I would like to pose a question. Does anyone really care about yours or my political views? Especially when we expound them on social media or in our works as writers?
Political views stem out of worldviews, and worldviews are how we see everything. The person on the other side of the spectrum sees things very differently (obviously) and most likely will get angry, annoyed, or ignore the post entirely. Therefore, is there really any point to posting it to begin with? Yes and no, somethings are worth taking a stand, and there is nothing wrong with sharing one’s thoughts, but things have gotten overboard. There is point in which social media becomes not a place for sharing views but beating down and bullying all who dare think differently. All sides do this, and now it is saturating our entertainment too. As a storyteller, I must pull back and analyze just how much sprinkling of my worldview do I need to include in a tale?
I doubt anyone changed their beliefs based on a Facebook or Twitter post. This is coming from someone who has done this before as well. I feel passionate about something, and five years ago I was much more idealistic and even sought out “discussions” with those who believe differently. You know what that accomplished? Nothing. My mind wasn’t changed; the other person’s mind didn’t change. Ultimately all it did was cause tension, anger, and for both sides to end up grossly misrepresenting our sides due to elevated emotions. That is the natural conclusion for such things. Now, I’m not saying politics or religion should never be discussed. They should be, but I’m specifically addressing the plastering these views all over social media obsessively, or going out of your way to argue with strangers on the internet.
The only ones that care about these posts are the ones who already agree with you. If you then are speaking to only those who agree with you anyway, why do it? If you are doing it to convince others that their beliefs are wrong and evil then it may seem noble, but again that isn’t how people come to different conclusions. The only way to influence another person’s perspective is to empathize with them and their views, and to care about them as people.
It is human nature to get passionate about something and share it with the world, and somethings are worth fighting for and taking a stand. That is where discernment comes in, something which has been sorely lacking these past couple years.
As a writer, I find this fascinating. I see people’s true beliefs and worldviews coming through since the election. It is excellent fuel for characters. So many people take to the internet to state their views over and over and the only ones who listen are those who already agree. Personally, I don’t put much faith in any one politician, especially right now. It is interesting seeing those who are so emotionally invested in ideology that they alienate and even create divides within their own families. Reality is the greatest inspiration for fiction. Immense loyalty to ideologies, for good or bad, makes for compelling characterization. Although, the all-too-common “think like me or you are evil,” thinking that is emerging isn’t helpful for real world relationships. Even if the person really is right. Throughout this I can say one thing, at least it is dripping with inspiration.