November is over, and so is NaNoWriMo. I won. I’m not getting the T-shirt, though. I sorta cheated, but the again, I didn’t. I started my current writing project in October already, so went into NaNo with 19k words already under my belt. But hey, if inspiration strikes you, you sit down and write. You don’t wait for 1 November to officially be allowed. And anyway, since the first draft end result is a little over 83k, I still managed to write the required 50k in November.
Which means that there’ll be an Alice part III. Soonish. It’ll just take a few months of editing and rewriting. You know the drill. Current title is It Never Rains, which might or might not be the final title. I’m procrastinating playing with ideas for the cover, so it might or might not end up looking something like this. Undecided? Me? Ach.
Either way, the thing is, when you’re caught up in a new book, the world around you doesn’t stop, even if you can’t be bothered with it right now, because, as Neil Gaiman put it, it’s many times in your head. Occasionally, though, you’ll have a break and check in with people, only to find the weirdest news.
Like one of your books being on the shortlist for 50 Best Indie Books 2016 (Vote for me here, yes?).
Or Donald Trump becoming president elect of the USA. Now how on earth did that happen? Statistics give the answer, and it’s the same one as for Brexit, or yesterday’s presidential elections in Austria. If you look at voter backgrounds, you’ll find that, for the main part, the votes going to the political ‘right’ come from poor, rural, uneducated people, whereas the ‘left’ gets its support from the wealthy, urban, and educated. What a simplified picture. How easy to place the blame.
I’m traditionally a left-side-of-the-aisle person, and that isn’t going to change. But I’ve begun a bit of dialogue a while ago, and the thing is, if you stop talking at people and start listening to them instead, you can’t emerge from such a dialogue the same person that went in. How does the right perceive the left? Out of touch. Unrealistic. Hypocritical. Stupid. How does the left perceive the right? Racists. Sexists. A basket of deplorables. Stupid.
Did you notice the common denominator?
Both perceptions are true. And both are a lie. Generalizing never works. No group is truly homogenous. Not every Trump voter is a racist. Not everyone who didn’t vote for Hillary did so because she is a woman. And not everyone on the left is so stuck up, they fail to understand that.
By now all my liberal friends are probably hating me, so let me give an example, preferably one that makes me look bad. Years ago, I sat on a balcony in the noble part of some small city, in the company of an old friend of my husband’s. That old friend came from a rich family. He had never in his life wanted for anything. Not yet in his thirties, he had a degree in legal studies, was well on his way to becoming a partner with the lawyers he worked for, and had just bought the apartment the balcony of which I was sitting on. At that time, I had finally dropped out of university, and had worked my share of crappy jobs. I came from a much bigger city than he did, from a much more diverse, international background. I considered myself open-minded and wise to the ways of the world. He was telling us all about his big, important job, which to my ears, didn’t even sound interesting…and then he said, “I’ve only now realized that secretaries are people, too.”
And that, my friends, in a nutshell, is how the left is perceived. Both that guy, who was raised to look down on people beyond his social standing, to a point where he never even noticed that they, too, have their dreams and aspirations, and me, who thought she’d seen it all and still never noticed how far removed some people are, including myself. I come from a well-off family. If a crappy job got too crappy for me to bear, I could always walk away.
Not everybody is as privileged.
We’re not going anywhere if all we ever do is lable one another and condemn everything the other side has in store simply on grounds of its origin. Fact is, there are chasms running through our society, and they’re deepening as I write this. Someone states an opinion, and the next person automatically goes, “How can anyone be so stupid as to believe such a thing?”
Stop asking that question. Instead, ask “Why?” Engage people. Do not to tell them how stupid they are. Listen to them. Give them some credit. They will, just like you, have a reason for their opinion, and we of the left side, who consider ourselves good people, should not discard those reasons before we have even heard them. We were brought up to be politically correct and show respect, weren’t we? The thing about equality is, it means everyone. Even, and I can’t say that I give much of a fox about how that sounds now, even the straight white men. Statistics tell us it’s the poorer folks, or the middle-class folks who fear they might lose the little wealth they have. We’re the social democrats, right? Shouldn’t we be there for the poor? If we believe it’s fear, and lack of knowledge, that makes people vote for someone like Donald Trump, then why do we do nothing to alleviate those fears, or enter debates to constructively work against that lack of knowledge?
All we ever do is ridicule, look down on, shame and blame.
We only have ourselves to blame.