You probably read Firestarter because you weren’t sure who to vote for: Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan. And you read Joy Luck Club to get insights on the George H.W. Bush/Bill Clinton presidential race. That’s why you read Stephen King and Amy Tan: for the incisive political commentary, to get into the nuts and bolts of American presidential campaigns. Good on you, you’ve-
Wait, what? You don’t?
Then let’s talk about this Open Letter that King, Tan, and hundreds of other writers just had to sign, telling you who you shouldn’t vote for in the 2016 US presidential race.
There’s a massive difference between opining on political issues and telling someone who to vote for. I’ve talked about this before, but it bears mentioning again: everything has been politicized. Everything. So to talk about current events in any context is to engage in political discourse. I don’t like it any more than you do, as few things on this planet are as polarizing as politics, but here we are. Before this ludicrous open letter was excreted and polished as though it were a trophy rather than a clot of shit, I had no idea what Amy Tan’s politics were, and I didn’t care. Now I know, and I still don’t care. For his part, King has made his unreconstructed 1960’s hippie political garbage clear in both his fiction and his non-fiction for decades, if not his whole career, so there’s no surprise there. (Consider this interview with Adam Howe, who won King’s writing contest some time ago and flew from the UK to the US to meet him: one of the things King just had to talk to him about was how awful George W Bush was, and this to someone who wasn’t even American.) So everything’s political. Nevertheless, these writers whining in an open letter about how they oppose Donald Trump crosses the line from commentary into political activism, and political activists belong in political campaigns. If you don’t like how everything’s politics these days, you can start addressing it with each and every name on this list. They’re proudly contributing to the mess.
I say this not as a special pleader for Trump; there’s no person on Earth who can claim they’ve heard me say one positive thing about the man in public or private. But I do object to this stupid, unnecessary exercise in virtue-signaling and political activism. I, unlike the signers of this open letter, respect my readers enough to understand that they have good reasons for voting their respective consciences, even when I disagree. I’m not here as a political activist, but an entertainer.
So not only are certain show-business types going to decide who they play for according to a set of ethics very few share, they’re now telling you how to vote. Whether you agree with this open letter or not (there’s much in it that’s inaccurate, ludicrous, and historically ignorant), at what point do you decide that you’re not going to support political activists with your entertainment budget? This hectoring from the perch of unearned moral superiority has got to end, and the only way these self-appointed elites will get the message is if we. the audience, tell them how little we think of their preaching. Don’t support people who think so little of you. They’re not your betters, not even a little bit.
And this stupid open letter proves it.