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Should Writers Write Of Certain Governments? - Op-Ed Piece


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Should Writers Write Of Certain Governments? - Op-Ed Piece

When I first came up with this idea, as I walked around my office, drinking a coffee, I thought I had already done so. And that is because I probably have. This question of a writer’s purpose or intent is one that I have written of much on this blog. For this post, though, I want to talk about one area, in particular, government. So let’s jump into it.

First off, let’s start simple here; does a writer have to write political stuff. No. I already wrote of this once before. For this thought experiment, let’s imagine that the writer is justified in their own political rant.

So if I am not asking if a writer has to be political, then what am I asking? There are a few questions that can still be asked of a writer, in my opinion.

How should a writer represent their own government? I mean, the one that they live in while they write their work? Should a writer support their government or expose it? After all, the government can decide the writer’s fate, so going up against the government is a big obstacle. Should a writer even take the risk of not having the resources that the government can give them? The government decides the law, and if a writer goes against it, he can all of a sudden find himself against a whole system much larger and influential than his clever words.

Now, you may be saying that this is silly for me to ask because of democracy. That form of government allows a writer to write whatever they want. No writer can be that censored because of the government of the masses.

Secondly, have you seen how many stories use the righteousness of democracy as a reason for the hero’s actions? So the hero is saving the day for democracy, even though the story may not ever utter the words of Lincoln. And we all accept it as if the hero isn’t pushing democratic ideals.

Is that okay, though? Why is that something that we all accept? Not democracy, but the pushing of it, by the hero in the story. You ever notice that it is the hero who is the great contradiction of the government of freedom, it needs a great person to push it along. Without a great individual, democracy fails, which of course, makes you wonder why the democratic part of it is even important. Just have a great person, and you are fine.

Is democracy bad because it takes one great person to push it onto the masses? Or is it great because it can allow for a great person to rise from anywhere for that very cause?

We view our characters as good or evil based on their connection to their democratic ideals. Is that fair to do? Should we do that? It makes sense why we do it. We live in a democracy, for the most part, the world has adopted the representative form of government, so we have a self-interest in it as well. And, maybe democracy is the best form of government? That is not a clear-cut answer. Kingships, republics, and oligarchies all have a case, but that is all that they have, a case, and since most people, quite literally, don’t like them, it is only natural that the stories of the masses inherent a democratic slant.

When I follow a story, it feels like the villain is the bad guy because he hates democracy. And we as an audience can’t stand that mindset (understandably), But the villain does have some argument against the system. Democracy isn’t perfect; we all even complain about it. But none of us are crazy enough to try to take the whole thing down. That is the main argument that the modern hero has for saving people. They are flawed, but they deserve the right to choose because that freedom is better than any sort of greatness one gets through oppression. And that is, honestly, a pretty good point.

You also can’t get on the villain too much, though. As if the villain is bat-shit crazy for picking himself as king. Democracy doesn’t have a good track record. If America is the starting point, then only a small fraction of human history has ever had it. The British didn’t have it. The Greeks didn’t have it. The Egyptians didn’t have it. If you were a betting man, which you may be, since that vice is never labeled as such in our society, then you wouldn’t go all-in on democracy. Not yet. It is a new choice. It is the new stock that investors don’t know can stay around for long. It is the new kid in town, and this skepticism is a driving force behind the villain. He knows that history is full of other forms of government besides democracy, so instead of thinking that democracy is a new improvement, he believes that the older ones were right mostly because they give him all the power.

Should we praise a writer for writing a great speech for a character that supports the author’s own political views? See, because we hold it against Homer that his characters didn’t ever mention our government. None of his iconic characters support democracy as much as any modern hero we read, which is expected of the classic characters. Because democracy wasn’t really a thing then. (Yeah, yeah, I know the Greeks tried it in Athens) So why do we expect Achilles to go on a rant about the freedoms of man? He shouldn’t. Why should we expect that Odysseus will start talking about how man has a choice for his future? That wasn’t the world he was living in, so he didn’t really care about it.

But when a hero today confronts a villain, we praise him for pushing democracy? As if the hero is standing for a higher moral purpose because he supports our modern government. Do you see my point? The same thing that is not in the older writer’s hand when writing of Achilles is the reason we love the modern author.

Who is to say that one day in the future, readers won’t view that speech made by the freedom hero the same way we view Achilles’ lament? They’ll be confused on why he had such a take on society since his opinions don’t fit their own.

Governments come and go, empires rise and fall. It makes you wonder, though, if a writer should ever put words down concerning government. But then the writer has to ask themselves, How are you supposed to write a story that is well-developed and fascinating without any mention of government since that is everywhere.

You are either one of three in a story you write; for the current government you live in, against the current government, or indifferent to it. You can’t simply write a story and act like there is nothing political behind it. That is simply not true.

As if writers don't have enough to worry about.



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About The Blogger

Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.


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