Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Can Authors Help Elect A President?
The political debates filling the TV airwaves for the past few months have educated the voters about the presidential candidates. Citizens hear a little about policies, but see a lot more on personalities. We are left to judge based on just a few elements, trying to determine our fate based on a nasty exchange, a campaign slogan, an empty promise, or an inaccurate quoting of a statistic.
What we haven’t seen – but need – from the media is a real roundtable discussion of the issues. The problem is the political arena is so polluted that it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. Everything is party-imposed or personality-driven, but the American public needs to understand what each candidate’s record is, where he or she stands on things, and what policies they plan to put forward – and which ones can be executed well.
What role can authors play in this? Are there any authors who won’t immediately be labeled left or right, undermining whatever it is they have to say? How can a writer appear neutral, or in fact, be neutral? To be a writer is to have opinions and to conduct research. How do you remain outside the world you live in?
Is there a way to get people to even agree on what the facts are? If we don’t start from a foundation of truth we can’t move beyond there to determine a plan. Maybe an author can help things by writing about the areas we have agreement on.
Another area authors can go to is by quoting things the candidates publicly stated. The problem is that they often contradict themselves or show a change in views over time. So which quote do we hold them accountable to?
Authors could quote statistics that show where things stand on certain problems or issues and then work backwards by showing what a candidate says he or she will do to address that problem. But who decides on which problems should be discussed and who can say with certainty how a candidate’s proposal would actually play out, given there are other unknown factors that come into play over time?
Maybe political books can’t be written by a single author. You need at least two or three writers, each representing different demographics or backgrounds, where each can bring a unique perspective to looking at things.
What we have now in the book world is candidates writing their own books. The problem with this is the book exists in a bubble and is biased from the get go. Do voters need to read 10 different books and then try to reconcile the rhetoric?
Authors should come out with a series of books based on different voter needs or views. If you’re 60, white and wealthy you may not vote for the same person a 21-year-old Hispanic woman would – at least not when it comes to economic or social justice platforms. If foreign policy weighs more on you, then you’ll find a split in the electorate on that issue. Now, take domestic and foreign policy – and a candidate’s ability to motivate the nation – and you have a concoction of views and styles that needs to be just a little better than the rest. We are always looking for a great or perfect candidate but one never shows up. All that we can do is choose the best of the bunch.
And authors need to help us do that. They need to go beyond what the daily media reports. They have to give us a comprehensive, narrative and present a reasonable scale by which to weigh the candidates.
Are authors up to the task of uncovering the truth? Will they even recognize truth when they see it? Will they be able to effectively convey such a truth?
Our nation’s future depends on it.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016