Bad Decisions, Social Justice, and the ConCarolinas Kerfluffle

Yeah, so everyone has heard the nonsense going down over ConCarolinas, right? If not, let me catch you up in three sentences:

  1. The ConComm invited John Ringo to be a special guest and he accepted.
  2. THE WORLD EXPLODED – meaning the mostly-liberal, mostly-welcoming regular ConCarolinas crowd freaked the absolute fuck out over this guy’s historical behavior and some not-so-far-fetched hypotheticals stemming from it.
  3. Some people got pissed and others withdrew from the con.

That’s where we are right now. There’s a lot of contention in the air, a lot of angry statements floating around that people may come to regret later, and a whole bunch of speculation on what’s actually going to happen in a month and a half.

Let’s pause for a minute and remember something: We’re all writers. Being writers makes us the poster children for overactive imaginations, right? Right.

Chasing hypotheticals is kind of what we do.

[ASIDE: This is not a political post. This is not a post dedicated to righting the wrongs of the world or condemning anyone for what they may or may not have done, or what they may or may not do. It’s my opinion, for the whole two cents and bad headache that it’s worth.]

Now, let’s get back to that Special Guest.

Personally, I have no opinion of the guy. I don’t know him. I’ve not met him. I’ve read a couple of his books, and I’m “meh” at best, because I’m not a huge fan of big military sci-fi. Yes, I’ve read all the stuff on the internet about how he portrays his characters and how he doesn’t deny that his own beliefs line up with theirs. It’s more or less conjecture at this point. At least, for me it is, because I haven’t witnessed it firsthand. I honestly don’t give two shits about him being a republican. I choose to form my opinions of people once I’ve actually been in a room with them and witnessed their behavior for myself.

Is it possible he and his fans (who, according to credible human sources, tend to be loud, rude, and exhibit racist/misogynist behavior) could come in and raise unholy hell in the middle of a usually friendly and even-keel event? Absolutely. But that’s true of literally anyone.

I admit, I’ve played through a hundred different scenarios involving as-of-yet fictional people doing dumb shit which requires me to step up and verbally bitch-slap them. I’ve played out the hypotheticals that could potentially lead to someone ending up in jail or the hospital. Or both. Again…writer. It’s what I do.

Keeping this in mind, I’ll be going into ConCarolinas weekend wary, but professional. This is my career, damn it, and I refuse to give anyone enough power over me to make me walk away from a chance to further myself professionally and spend time with my friends. Neither this man nor his followers have any sort of pull or control over me. So what if there’s a chance there could be an altercation? I’m willing to take that chance, because to me, my presence and my ability to stand up for myself and the people I care about will be more effective than walking away. Why? Because I don’t have the same social pull as the man the con world is currently rallying against. Because my actual VOICE and my ACTIONS will speak louder than my absence.

Which brings me to my next point:

A very dear friend of mine felt so emotionally threatened over this announcement that she has withdrawn her attendance. I completely understand her decision, because this wouldn’t be her first racism rodeo, were it to happen.

Her action was based on previous personal experiences with this person. It’s not arbitrary or unjustified.

I support her decision, because she’s doing what she feels is best for her. I will always be there to support her, no matter what, because I love her. Do I wish the situation were different and she was still going to be there with me? Yes. Absolutely. I would love for any resolution which would guarantee her a seat beside me. But that isn’t the case, and it’s her decision to make.

Which brings me to my third point:

Someone else made the statement yesterday that basically amounted to “you can’t be everybody’s friend and if you’re not resigning in solidarity, then you’re not an ally.”

That pissed me right the hell off.

See, I’m usually pretty quiet on political and social issues. I’m not a political creature. If I were, I’d be in politics. I’m a freaking writer. I use words to entertain people. Well, mostly myself, but anyone else who happens to come along can enjoy them, too. I’m also not the type to use my books as a sociopolitical platform. That isn’t what I do.

Do I have opinions? Oh, yeah. Loads of ‘em. But I choose to conduct myself in a more or less professional manner because my opinions should have absolutely no bearing on my book sales.

So a fellow author piping up and telling me I’m suddenly not good enough because I’m not pissed off enough? Yeah, no. Bullshit.

Why am I required to be outraged just to satisfy the outrage of others? Why can’t I just be a good person? When did being a good person go out of style? Because let’s face it…some of these “allies” are just as horrible as the people they’re fighting against. I’ve seen truly deplorable behavior on both sides, and when you’re reduced to squabbling like pissed off children, you don’t get anywhere. I don’t play those silly drama-llama games. I’m an adult, and I intend to present myself as such. I’m going to fight for what’s right, but I’m going to do it rationally and reasonably.

Yeah, we could all resign in righteous fury, but you know what’s going to happen? The ConComm will invite new guests. Because here’s the secret, snowflakes… we are all replaceable. And if we aren’t there to defend our territory and our people against a potential attack, those who replace us might not be so quick to do it. While we might feel that the ConComm has made a bad decision by inviting someone who could potentially upset the balance we’ve spent years crafting, there isn’t much we can do about it besides follow the rules and behave ourselves as we always have.

So no, I will not be resigning in solidarity to appease someone else’s outrage. As I said, my words and actions will have more impact than my absence. I will defend myself and my friends with every breath I have, should the situation require it. I will always champion the person who needs one.

My friends come in all flavors [insert awful joke about licking people here], and if I spend all of my time being angry and upset over all of the injustices of the world, I wouldn’t have time to do anything else. I have to choose my battles and how I fight them. I have to decide what works best for me while still conveying my point and protecting others.

This is a battle I choose to fight head-on.

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