I get it: everyone is sick and tired of hearing about politics. Dystopian authors are probably sick and tired of hearing about politics at this point. Even politicians are probably considering just burrowing into a hole in the ground whenever there's mention of an upcoming election season.
For most young adults, politics are only ever really interesting in books. A coup d'état in a tyrannical kingdom? A spark that starts a revolution in an oppressed futuristic society? An elaborate plot to overthrow a dictator in an alternate historical timeline?
Heads roll. Empires rise. The stakes are high. And the world ignites.
In comparison, our current long-running election campaigns and a constant bombardment with ads and endorsements falls just a little flat.
But here are the two things fiction abounds in: themes, and parallels. Even the most fantastical tale where dragons rule lands and bloodthirsty faeries preside over treehouse kingdoms has a message to impart. More often than not, this message is that your voice matters in your own less-fantastical world. And that not using that voice is what the dragons are counting on.
This is an elaborate game of thrones, my lovelies. And that pun is absolutely intended.
Even besieged with political pandering, many of us here in the YA community are uniquely privileged to be a part of a society where we get to have some input into the way the society is shaped. Katniss wasn't. But she fought for it. Darrow wasn't. But he fought for it. Celaena wasn't. But she fought for it. And many, many people in our own very real world aren't as fortunate. And still they fight for it.
For the rest of us, it has been made easier, but no less relevant. Every few years, we get to fight for whichever world we want. Much as it may not seem like it, the stakes are equally high. Every time we cast our vote, we start a mini-revolution. Except we have an added benefit of not having to risk our lives to bring it about.
|Tyrion has a harder time at it.|
And yes - no one has taught us how to vote. No one has taught us to distinguish between our options. We haven't been given the basics and we are expected to understand the complexities. (Try turning C-SPAN on, or whatever your country's alternative to C-SPAN is, and not be alarmed at how little sense it all makes.)
But we are bookdragons. We the young readers are nothing if not equipped for world-changing plots and ploys. After all, what has the dystopian craze in YA literature meant, if not to impart an understanding of how one voice can change the world?
We know how research is done, and we deplore those times when it isn't (and make sure it's known in our reviews). We can do our research on how to vote, and what our options are. We are also informed on subjects of tyranny and autocracy, and we've been taught to recognize the symptoms. We know to fight for diversity and representation. And just by being readers and reviewers, we have informed opinions and ways to defend them.
We're passionate about books wherein the world changes. And it's my opinion that we need to be equally passionate about changing the world ourselves.
Don't leave it to the 'adults'. Personally, I am of the opinion that adults have no more idea of what they're doing than the young adults. Don't trust your parents and your grandparents to shape your world. Shape your world yourself.
Ultimately, what it comes down to is this: vote. Take part. Make a difference. Have your voice matter. Voting is so often hailed as your duty, and therein lies a fundamental mistake. Voting is not your duty. Voting is your privilege. Just as we write reviews and leave blog comments in hopes of contributing in some small part to the inner workings of the publishing industry, so do we get to have a say in the inner workings of how our world is run.
Also, frankly, you can read in line to vote. So it won't even cut into your reading time much.
Talk to us, fellow bookdragons! Are you politically aware, and do you think it matters? Do you stick to politics in books, or do you attempt to get involved when the real world gives you opportunities to change its course? Do you intend to get involved at any future time? Leave us a comment below letting us know. Because, hey, your opinion matters! (I'm nothing if not consistent. And persistent. And mildly-to-moderately preachy. I apologize.)
ON BOOKS AND VOTING (FEAT. GAME OF THRONES)
4/ 5Oleh The Honest Bookclub