The occasional street renaming effort not withstanding, this site tends to keep away from political statements or other “serious” subjects. Still, when I hear about an author I once enjoyed and respected, it is hard to keep my mouth shut (or, fingers still as it were). That author is Orson Scott Card. Not long ago, I wrote him off as an embittered author that couldn’t catch another blockbuster title without relying on the quiet boy that made him a name back in 1985. An author that aimed his ire at other science fiction “franchises” for being lazy and outdated in their vision of Sci-Fi work; all while he promoted Ender’s Shadow, a parallel retelling of his original classic. These were simple gripes from a one-time fan and current struggling writer. And, while I knew of his personal feelings when it came to same sex relationships and marriage, I didn’t pay any mind to them. They are his beliefs and he is welcome to them. I will admit to some disappointment. Deep down I want to believe most science fiction writers are open-minded people. People that write of a time and place where whom you love, as consenting adults, no longer matters in the grand scheme. Am I na?ve? Perhaps.
However, expressing your opinion and wishing for a government revolution are two different things…
It would seem Orson Scott Card isn’t content with simply ranting against gay people or their right to join in marriage. No, he wants to take his beliefs to the next “logical” step:
“How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn”. (Link to Article)
Do I really think Orson Scott Card has the political clout or stamina to start and sustain some form of revolution? No, of course I don’t. That doesn’t mean someone that does isn’t paying attention to his words. Does that mean I think he should be silenced? Again, no. The 1st Amendment grants Mr. Card his right to voice his opinion and I would never want to take that away from him. Ever. That doesn’t mean I still can’t be dismayed by his belief. My dismay and disappointment is simple, even childish, in its reasoning. I read Ender’s Game when I was 12 years old. Not an easy time for anyone. Bodies are changing. You mind is just starting to question and inspect the world at large. Social pressures begin to rear their heads. You are, in a very real way, laying the foundations of your pending adulthood.
Like many of my fellow “Freaks and Geeks”, I was looking for something or someone that I could latch onto. Something that wouldn’t find it strange that I would rather sit under a tree and read a good book than play kickball. Somebody that understood the lure of the library over the football field. At that place and time, it was Orson Scott Card and Ender’s Game. It felt like my first “adult” book. Sure, it is packed with aliens, space ships, and epic battles; but I also saw the themes running through his tale. A theme my 12-year old mind connected with; that regardless of the blood in your veins or the color of your skin, we better start finding a better way to reach an understanding. If we didn’t, our future was one of death and suffering. Every few years I re-read Ender’s Game. Each time, I took away the same message and a renewed interest in writing. The book reminded me of the time I decided to become a writer. To write about my passions and loves.
Now? I don’t know. Now I can’t even bring myself to pick up the book.
Is that extreme? Probably, but you need to understand what happens when childhood hopes and dreams take a beating like that. This isn’t the same as a Fanboy complaining about George Lucas ruining their childhood, or Michael Bay remaking some horror classic. No, this is something deeper. This is your mom pulling you aside one day and telling you the bad news… There is no Santa. Still, it goes deeper. At least with that Yule time myth, you can still envision the jolly Elf manifesting as the spirit of Christmas, (or, take the Stephen Hawkins route and use Tachyons to explain his existence). No, this is learning every belief you once knew as the “truth” was wrong. The person that inspired you as a youth to look beyond the surface couldn’t and wouldn’t do the same. Even worse, this person wanted to punish and attack those he felt were wrong or immoral.
Still, you would think a human whose very religion and core belief forced an entire people to flee after being beaten and killed would be a tad more tolerant.
You, like me, would be wrong.
As is Orson Scott Card… You don’t overthrow governments because they attempt to grant rights to all… You do so when they attempt to take them away.
Just like Ender did.