I tend not to make political statements online. Not only is it considered an area of risk or even unprofessionalism for writers, it’s guaranteed flame-bait in our current, deeply contentious political climate, where everyone has forgotten that their political enemies are human beings. This leaves me feeling uncomfortable in the wake of major tragedies, though, as if I’m coming across as callous or uncaring about loss of life.
I’m not. This is why I write. But I filter my personal emotions and reactions to one political side or the other before my words hit the page. I’ve always been a proponent of speculative fiction for its ability to enable this filtering. Science fiction and fantasy are not escapism to me – they’re powerful vehicles for allegory. If I were to write about corrupt government, and my corrupt politicians were one party or the other, that would be drawing battle lines, and readers would flock to me or against me accordingly. But my point isn’t how evil Party A or Party B is, or how evil their supporters are. My point is what corruption does to human beings.
It’s all about the human beings. When I post updates to Refuge with the tweet: “Is reconciliation possible?” I’m answering with an unshakable Yes – but it’s hard. Not everyone is ready to forgive at the same time. Some are too attached to their anger. Some will never be able to let go of it. Some want to let go but don’t know how. Some find it easier. Because that’s what it means to be human.
I’m going to let someone wiser than I – the Dalai Lama – continue the observations on Orlando and other world events. What’s his answer to whether peace is possible? Yes – but it’s hard. Because that’s what it means to be human.