Have you ever been to a party, or other form of social gathering, drinking, talking, laughing, even dancing when all of a sudden, in a blink of an eye, the mood suddenly pauses, even swings to a deafening silence? The cause? Someone, somewhere, decided to say something inappropriate causing everyone to take notice, clearing the room, looking for the nearest exit to run toward. And they didn’t need to be spoken words. It could be something written, an expression you gave at just the wrong time, or a thumbs up or down you clicked in social media land. No matter what, and no matter how hard we try not to, sooner or later, we’re going to bear the brunt of an adversarial opinion causing us to dig a little deeper before displaying what’s truly on our minds.
I recently read an article written by the editor of a small, traditional press discussing the current state of the industry. It was a good article and one I enjoyed reading. The last sentence of the text gave a general statement saying, “he was open and waiting to hear from any talented authors for consideration.” Not exactly in those words, but you get the meaning. After I finished reading, I left a comment conveying how much I enjoyed his points made. I also inserted a link to my novel, Sons In The Clouds inviting him to read the synopsis and some sample chapters. The book is currently an e-book, but I’d love to see it in print someday so I thought I’d query this publisher which hadn’t been tried before. The next day, I received a somewhat telling response saying my link was inappropriately placed, and putting it in the comments section of an article didn’t look good. In other words, it was unprofessional to do so. I wrote back saying the only reason I inserted the link was due to his final sentence; an invitation to query. I shrugged it off, wrote a quick cordial response, and was ready to move on. Well, much to my surprise, this resulted in many comments from other writers, most of them coming to my defense. My point here is this: Have we come to a point in history where we can’t express ourselves without fear of repercussions? Not being politically correct, racist, socially in the dark ages, appearing inexperienced, uneducated, or out of touch with reality? Has following a certain organizations protocol, interviewing for a new job, even looking for a soul mate become so daunted with unwritten rules and policies that saying less is now the wisest course of action?
I’ve noticed many are becoming very sensitive to what you say; are somewhat thin-skinned, and unwilling to see two sides of an equation when confronted. People have developed a fear of loosing friends, family, or not being included in the right click inside social circles while making a miscommunication misstep. And in our super-political environment, especially in the current election mode, the old adage of saying what you mean and meaning what you say has become very difficult to do. But, I’m of the old school ways, I’d rather let the chips fall where they may.
What’s so interesting about our current society is everything has become super-analyzed for political and social correctness. Less and less are people feeling the freedom of expressing ideas and thoughts from the heart without really thinking it through first. Everyone wants to be the most popular kid at school, the star employee at work, the savvy author or other type of creative artist, the life of the party on Saturday nights, but being that person is becoming so much more about diplomacy rather than real substance.
No other area is this more prevalent than in our current political system, where every word uttered by candidates becomes global news in a matter of seconds. However, that’s the judge-and-jury we have in place: He said, now she said, and on and on it goes. Hollywood, and the media as a whole, have also done its best to brainwash us into social correctness making us think the only way of getting ahead is to just go along with the in-crowd, vote for the cool candidate, support the social values of the academy award winner, or march beside the progressive thinkers and their thoughts of the week.
We, as individuals, should be very aware of our rights of free speech, to never hold back when adversity comes our way during expression, and not to just go along because something’s popular, politically correct, the path of least resistance, or morally the flavor-of-the-day.
Be who you are, say what you mean, and sleep well at night for doing so. Your conscious will thank you later.
Thanks for listening…
To read more of Randy Mitchell's writing, visit his website @ www.theinspirationalwriter.com
Read current reviews, and sample chapters of his novel, Sons In The Clouds on Amazon.