All of my stories are based on hope. The Rise of the Iliri more than others. Yesterday, I was in the process of finishing up another round of corrections to fix a massive and glaring plot hole, when politics happened.
Now, typically, I don’t care to discuss politics. (I still don’t.) But I do love talking about equality for women and rape culture, and that’s what has me shocked right now.
You see, I don’t care if you’re for government spending or against it. I don’t care if you like regulations or hate them. Doesn’t matter to me if you agree with immigration reform or desire isolationism. All of those decisions are logical, rational, and I can easily understand the argument.
What I simply can’t wrap my mind around is how easily bullies are rewarded. I’m not just talking about the presidential election but also pundits, celebrities, and pretty much anyone that spends some time on the TV-thing most people have. We as humans love strong personalities. We love them more when they’re leading our charge. But why?
Why do we tell our children that it’s not acceptable to be a bully, then elect someone who, um, basically ran his campaign on it? Is it because we ignore that one fact due to another more important concern? How do we overlook the signs of behind the scenes threats and power grabs? Is it because she could make history and give ourselves a step up in the world? You see, it’s not an either-or (for the US presidential election comparison), but a whole culture that none of us want to face down.
We talk about rape culture. We talk about sexism, misogyny, racism, elitism, and all the isms. We hate those things – even as we ARE those things – but we never notice the bias inside.
There’s that age old question that gets tossed out about how if two kids came into a convenience store, and something ends up stolen, which do you check first, the black kid or the white? I got asked that. My answer was the one closest to the missing item. For most people, the answer is the thug from the hood – er, I mean the black kid. Because that’s how we’ve been prepared to think of specific groups of people by the media, and no matter how you hate it, it’s racism. Just because everyone else agrees doesn’t change that.
See, conservatives are stupid. Liberals are lazy and out of touch. Mexicans are criminals, Blacks are poor, Asians are smart but have no common sense, and so on. It also applies to gender, but there it’s more subtle.
When a man stands up and screams about what he believes in, he’s a leader. When a woman does it, she’s PMSing. When women react in the exact same way as a man emotionally, we’re typically seen as being melodramatic. If we embellish, we’re just desperate for attention. If we want to look good, we’re sluts. If we don’t, we’re slobs.
The problem is that there’s no way to win. There’s no one to lead this problem (whichever version of the above applies to you, dear reader). Our only hope is to do it ourselves. Our only option is to take the abuse so that others won’t need to suffer later. Our last chance to make this thing that has been plaguing our minds for years into something right…
Now pause a moment.
Stop and read that again as the backstory for a villain instead of a political rant. Look at all that motivation, that actualization! It’s real, it’s plausible, and it could be a setup for a very nasty person.
In my case, it’s applicable to the Emperor of Terric. On some planet out in the middle of the Tau Ceti system, where the population can’t even remember Earth, that little bit of human nature is still applicable to my villain.
It’s also an amazing way to stop worrying about the things I don’t like in the real world and find a better place to rest my mind. I can escape the problems of today for those of fantasy, let my mind stop and relax because the threat can’t touch ME, and wallow in the actions of someone stronger, braver, smarter, and less real than I could ever be.
And for a few bucks, the cost of an indie book written by someone else is worth the sanity it will give me, because yes, I’m sick to death of the political silly season, and I don’t see it slowing down any time soon. I plan to spend the next drama laden cycle wrapped in the digital pages of a whole lot of good escapism. The kind with villains who aren’t real, can’t affect me, and won’t show up on the news after another mass shooting, political scandal, or whatever.
I’m going to take this real life insanity, and turn it into the best inspiration I’ve ever had.