If you’re in the United States, Vote

And now for something completely different.

I should have mentioned this a long time ago. As an author, it’s difficult to balance the desire to avoid conflict and controversy with the need to make a positive difference in the world. There are a lot of people out there who believe that authors and other entertainment should remain entirely apolitical: I don’t think that’s even remotely realistic. Entertainment is inherently political, often in ways that the author may not necessarily even be aware of. We are all a product of our cultures and biases.

Anyone who has looked at my one-star reviews knows I’ve already made a statement simply by including LGBTQIA+ characters in my works. The simple existence of non-straight characters is such an affront to some readers that I’ve been given one-star reviews by people who have never even read the books.

That’s the state of the world we live in. And we stand at a precipice where the results of an election day could make this trend into a direction that’s significantly worse. A direction where, if the political climate grows more contentious, authors like myself may not be safe to continue writing about LGBTQIA+ people at all.

I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that.

There are powerful countries where fiction that includes elements the government deems undesirable, impure, or subversive is simply illegal. If I was writing the equivalent of Sufficiently Advanced Magic in China, there’s a chance I could be jailed for it.

But as much as I dislike the idea of being thrown in prison for writing about a gay character or two, there’s a great deal more at stake, and I’m frankly at much lower risk than a tremendous number of Americans.

This election won’t just decide the presidency itself: the winners in congress will be tremendously important, and the president will have a huge impact on what ends up panning out with things like the Supreme Court. Given that the Supreme Court is lifetime appointments, even the change of a single judge will substantially influence the legal system of the United States for many years.

Millions of people stand to lose the ability to get married, or have their marriages reversed, if the Supreme Court decides they’re not allowed to be married. Tens of millions of people stand to lose their medical insurance if the Affordable Care Act is deemed unconstitutional.

(Notably, I would be one of those people in the latter case: like many authors, I’m insured through the ACA.)

Beyond the Supreme Court, we’re also seeing absolute horrors going on all throughout the country. ICE detention centers. Unmarked federal agents pulling people off the streets. And, of course, literal hundreds of thousands of dead as the result of the pandemic.

I’m frankly horrified to see the state of the country I’ve lived in and loved since my birth. But I haven’t given up yet, and you shouldn’t, either.

Given the sheer number of voters, it’s easy to feel like your own vote is unimportant: don’t fall into that trap.

While it’s extremely unlikely for a single vote to influence something on the scale of a presidential election, small numbers of votes have decided other issues. Moreover, even if your own personal vote does not sway an election, collective voting momentum is important: by doing our part, we can inspire others to vote, and so on and so forth.

Please, please vote.

And if you’ve already voted: thank you, and I’m proud of you.

Stay safe, everyone.

8 thoughts on “If you’re in the United States, Vote

  1. Hear hear! The right has done so much damage, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.

    Thanks for speaking up. I’ve always admired your work for meaningfully representing folks of all different gender identities and sexualities. I dearly hope that we can protect these people in the real world, too.

  2. I respect an authors rights to their opinions, even if I don’t like them. If I don’t like what’s being written, I first try to consider why, before I stop reading. This being said…. I KNEW I liked your writing for a reason. You’re a genuinely good person. Thank you for being a good role model, for being the change you wish to see in the world.

  3. So, in the last four years of his presidency, when has Trump given any indication that he plans on doing anything like banning works with LBGTQ characters or reversing gay marriage? Did he ever revoke the ACA?

    How can you say this isn’t an exaggeration when it hasn’t even been mentioned a single time that he plans on doing something like banning books for containing gay characters? I’m no big Trump fanboy but this sort of exaggeration is so far off reality and force into everyone’s faces constantly until they pretend he is some evil dictator who is going to force women to lose their voting rights or whatever. And he’s almost perhaps permanently out of office and after four years, all these ridiculous claims of fascism never once materalized.

    1. Trump does not personally have the ability to revoke the ACA or reverse gay marriage. He has, however, absolutely tried to do the former:

      Here’s an article on Trump asking the Supreme Court to reverse the ACA: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/us/politics/obamacare-trump-administration-supreme-court.html

      If you’d rather look at it directly, here’s the actual document: https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/19/19-840/146406/20200625205555069_19-840bsUnitedStates.pdf

      He has also taken measures to inhibit existing parts of the ACA without removing it entirely: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/10/14/768731628/trump-is-trying-hard-to-thwart-obamacare-hows-that-going

      This included already signing an executive order on the subject: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_13813

      So, rather than saying that Trump has not dismantled the ACA yet, it would be more accurate to say that he has tried and failed.

      Actually reversing the ACA or the legality of gay marriage would fall into the jurisdiction of the supreme court. By placing highly conservative justices on the court, he has influenced the court in that direction, and it’s extremely possible that they will take action to reverse the ACA quickly after the election if Trump is the winner.

      Trump doesn’t have to say that he’s going to do anything like reverse gay marriage or reverse Roe v. Wade; those issues would be handled by his supreme court justice nominees.

      Barrett has been very non-committal about specific policies, for example, but she models herself after Scalia, who was adamantly anti-gay marriage. Lots of stuff on that subject out there, but here’s a quick article on Scalia: https://time.com/3937626/gay-marriage-antonin-scalia/

      As for banning books, Trump is obviously aware that saying something like that directly right now, while he’s still vulnerable to being removed, would not be a good move. Instead, by stacking the supreme court in a specific way, he’s making it possible for anti-gay legislation to be considered constitutional. Preventing people from writing gay fiction would be an extreme step that isn’t likely to happen immediately, but it’s absolutely plausible. Trump has already floated the idea that he may want to remain president for more than two terms; securing his power for that would be his first step toward much larger changes, which could bring the US in a direction more similar to countries like China and Russia in terms of anti-gay policies.

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