Is writing a political act?
Welcome to July 13th, the 194th day of the year, the day Julius Caesar was born in the year 100, and in 2013 the day George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
One perk of blogging is that you get to ask and answer questions of your choosing. After doing my historical research for today’s date and making my selections (a totally random process), I could not help but ask myself if my choices were in some way guided by my politics. The answer was no, my choices were not guided by my politics (not sure if one can have politics), but I do recognize the choices I make as a writer can be political.
It could be reasonably argued that Julius Caesar has become a notable person in history due as much to his accomplishments with Rome as his wisdom to have created some of the best documented military campaigns and speeches in history. This was a political act.
My decision to recall the recent decision regarding George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin was so that I could remind us of the consequences of vigilantism. This was a political decision.The latter is not to suggest that that you take a political stance as a writer, but merely to remind us that our writing can have political consequences. If When I choose to write about the benefits of a plant-based diet over one high in meat protein, or my decision to practice my faith outside of traditional denominational structures, although I do not consider these statements political, I must be cognizant that others might.
We can become better writers by considering perspectives different from our own, particularly if we’re writing on a topic that might have political overtones. We need not change our viewpoint, or even include the other perspective in our writing, but having at least considered different opinions will make our writing richer. You might find that your word choices are more expansive – not to mention that open-mindedness is more attractive and draws in more readers.
This rare practice of open-mindedness regarding topics that could be political will lead to more people reading and talking about what we write. Who knows? In the centuries to come, your writing might be right up there with a discussion of Caesar and all of his accomplishments! And so it is.
Dr. Loni is the author of For the Sake of My Sanity: One Woman’s Journey of Speaking Truth to Power and Ignorance. When not engaged in a creative pursuit, she dedicates her time to growing the Sisters Reading Sisters organization. Visit DrLoni.com and SistersReadingSisters.com for more information.