Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Can Writers Lead The World To Change?

My pen lays quiet no more. I took about a week off from writing blog posts, though I had a reserve saved up to continue posting during my hiatus.  This is the first time I am writing in what to me seems like a very, very long-time.  I write the way one goes to the gym-stretching my brain muscles and working off my stress.  But the break felt needed, almost warranted.  

My ideas were slowing down.  The convictions behind them didn’t feel as strong as in the past.  I was risking putting out merely ordinary writing and for the writer to merely settle for mediocrity is like an athlete not caring if he wins against the competition.  To just show up doesn’t count for anything when it comes to writing.

I can’t say I’m back with a vengeance yet, but it feels good to start emptying out whatever is inside of me, to share whatever I’m thinking, to reflect upon what I’m experiencing, to navigate a new, ideal way of doing things.

The truth is writers don’t have all of the answers, but they are very good at asking the questions. Well, here’s my question:  Why is the world seemingly divided on everything, from politics and religion, to which book to read or whether to read at all.

There are so many different ways to live life, so many shades of viewpoints that can be held, so many styles to wear. Life has a spectrum of lifestyles that we can each try on and fit to our needs, desires, and past.  But what if the story we tell of ourselves is not complete, not fully accurate or reflective of how things could be or really are?

For instance, I took a vacation to Vancouver with my family.  They love to ski and I love to let them conquer snow-capped mountains while I battle the world with my hand-held sword in the form of an ink-filled pen.  Though I have zero interest in skiing.  I realize that for some, they are so passionate about it.  Think about it.  We co-exist in a world where something means everything to one, and less than zero to another.  This gets repeated a million times over with other activities and actions.

To ski or not seems like no big deal, but now expand this to politics and bigger issues.  Abortion, climate change, race, death penalty, socialism, religion, sexuality, and on and on.  We’re a world that exists with opposites and everything in between.  A gun nut to me is a patriot to another.  Where one loves to take risks, another is conservative.  Where one just wants to drink, smoke, and get high, another wants abstinence from such substances.  Where one lives for God, others believe the opposite.  Doesn’t matter who is right or wrong or if such a thing could even be proved or proclaimed. We must share the world.  Somehow, we have to find a way to tolerate, ignore, or even love one another.

But not all issues are equal.  Whether one likes to play chess or not is certainly not in the same conversation as one’s views on prostitution, drug laws, or healthcare.  The more a life – and – death or quality-of-life aspect is debated, the more important it is for us to find a way to agree or at least co-exist.

So how do we bridge the gap here?  How do we find a way to get unity on important matters?  And lacking unity, how do we respect the other side?

I no longer know the answer to this.  

I used to think if the facts, once collected, are weighed properly, that most of us would undoubtedly draw the same conclusion.  But I see, even in debating some of my Republican friends, that we can’t even agree on the facts or share in the same goals.  It’s like trying to get a woman to think like a man, a man trying to think like a child, a child trying to think like a dog.  We think we can empathize or see the other side’s views, but somehow we can’t.  Something blocks us from coming to terms of agreement, to mapping out a better world. 

We fear if we really start to understand the other side, we will find that we don’t feel secure about any of our views, that somehow we’ve lived a lie and that all that we thought to be true is not.  We fear if we give an inch, the other side will take a foot.

It’s a complex thing to try to get others, with long-held beliefs, to switch sides.  Many issues, though they should seemingly be singular ones that get debated on their own merits, are actually part of a slate of issues.  That clouds things too. 
 For instance, let’s say you are for helping ethnic minorities.  The Democrats seemingly represent them but if a black man wanted to be a Republican because he agrees with other issues that they represent, he will align with a party that will not support legislation that address other issues of concern for blacks.  The political party system divides us unevenly over too many issues.

Think of it as going to the diner.  If you want eggs, have them.  Make them anyway you want.  Add to them any side dish.  Wash it down with any of ten drinks.  Want more, have more. Want to eat breakfast at night?  Go ahead.  Tons of choice, lots of mixing and matching.  Something for everyone.  A gluten-free vegetarian anorexic can eat with an Atkins-following lumberjack.  But in the world of politics you only have two choices …Democrat or Republican.  Independent is not yet much of an option.  

We need a diner approach to politics, some way of expanding the slate of options and matching different columns with each other that currently doesn’t exist.

So what’s the solution to a better world?

Our media is in fragments.  Fake news and the non-stop assault on legit media is making society less informed and more distrustful of everything.

Our politicians are corrupt and the system they operate under is broken.  It doesn’t reflect what people want or need.  It’s failing us.

We lack leaders like a Martin Luther King Jr., unelected, self-appointed visionaries who spoke of a better world.  Where are those bright minds and well-intentioned souls who could help us rise above this mess?

How about our writers – especially our authors – who can inspire us to change the world?  I’m afraid we are burdened by too many competing voices – too many books, too many blogs, podcasts, and social media posts. We’re all talking but no one is listening.  We mistake popularity for authority.

It all then goes back to living your life the way you feel is proper.  Forget about national politics and just take care of your community.  Or ignore everything and just pursue your own narrow path.  Take care of your household and let the rest straighten itself out.  Be an isolationist?
It seems like I’m out of options here.  I want the world to be changed but lack the ability to do so.  I could retreat to my own little world, but that’s not enough for me, as the outside world impacts my life.

We are a society with many alliances and needs.  In church we may feel something towards others and be open to charity.  But come Monday, we compete in a capitalist society that says you win only when another loses.  We wish to live in peace but so much money and time is spent on the military and police to protect us.  If all of that money was spent on helping people and sharing resources, would we even need armed forces?

I know there’s no easy answer to this, but I would hope that all people can conclude that we could do better, that we can each have more, that we can find ways to come together and make life a more beautiful experience.  

But we’ll need to do better at convincing each other that the facts should unite us, that we have to find agreement on the big issues and that we must be willing to sacrifice long-held beliefs in order to move the world forward.

Perhaps writers will lead the movement.  Can you step up and be a part of the solution?

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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