Hello again Papabear,
Writing you again for a different issue that I'm having. Though I'm pleased to report that I've been feeling better and haven't had as many thoughts of suicide. :)
On to my problem, I've noticed over the many years that I've been a part of this fandom (and the short time I've been in the brony fandom as well) that quite a few people are very active politically. This is great! I love that people in my age group (18-25) are taking politics seriously. However ... it did not take long to notice that most furries/bronies are at the opposite spectrum from me.
Yes, I am a conservative and registered Republican. Though I consider my party affiliation/ideals to be more along the lines of a Libertarian, I usually vote Republican.
This has caused ... rifts between me and the vast majority of furries when politics is brought up. While I consider myself very calm and tolerant of others beliefs/opinions, most furries who engage me spew a surprising amount of hatred my way just because of my party.
I cannot begin to express how much this upsets me. I feel as though the majority of the fandom has decreed that I'm not allowed to have an opinion and if I say anything that goes against them, I'm the target of extreme hatred.
At this juncture I'm at a loss for what to do, I was even hesitant to write to you as I know you also share a differing political views than I. It seems that whenever politics is brought up, I cannot respond, because doing so brings a torrent of angry people leaving nasty comments/DMs. I've tried to explain my position rationally and logically but no one wants to listen. They immediately pass judgment and lump me in with the crazed religious Right. Which couldn't be farther from the truth. I support gay marriage, I'm pro-choice, and yet they all seem to treat me like some vile scum unworthy of respect. It feels like I'm forced to listen to what they have to say but if I try to get in a word edgewise I'm immediately treated like garbage.
Basically, what can I do? I just want other furries/bronies to show my views the same respect I show theirs, am I asking too much?
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Thank you for a very interesting and germane letter in this political season. I’m flattered that you would write to me despite your fears that I might pass judgment on you on this topic. I hope the below will alleviate that fear (and everyone’s fear) that Papabear would do something like that about any subject, no matter how controversial.
As with many issues that Papabear addresses, I feel I can speak with some authority on this one because of my experience. It might surprise many of Papabear’s readers that he was once a registered Republican and voted for Ronald Reagan—twice.
But while I believe in some of the values of the Republicans, such as less government control on states’ rights to manage how they spend their tax money (I used to live in a “donor state” of Michigan that gives the government more money than they receive in aid, and I believe California is the same way). The Republicans used to have “paws off” policies concerning people’s private lives, as well. For example, President Reagan believed that government should have nothing to do with abortion or other things we do in the bedroom.
But then the Christian Right and other conservative extremists took over the Republican Party, and it became the party against a woman’s right to choose and against gay marriage and other issues that are none of their business. Once that happened, they lost me as a supporter. Doubly so when I learned, much to my chagrin, that Republican presidents, despite averring that they were more fiscally responsible and conservative, actually spent MORE money and ran up the deficit MORE than Democrat administrations (Clinton, a Democrat, did the most to balance the budget of any 20th century president). There may be some argument about President Obama’s spending, but a lot of that was to shore up the egregious fiscal irresponsibility of the previous administration (Republican) and with being saddled with two wars (started by a Republican).
The problem in our country today is that both parties still have some good ideas to offer BUT THEY WON’T LISTEN TO EACH OTHER and they won’t compromise. It has all become about political agendas, what to do to stay in power, which is something the great George Orwell correctly predicted, RATHER than helping the PEOPLE of this country! Grrrrr!
*Pant pant* LOL. Okay, Towyn, maybe you see the ol’ bear’s point that politics is a very hot issue. Just as with religion, people have strong opinions and are often unwilling to listen. Papabear is guilty of that sometimes. I have a very VERY conservative uncle in Texas who kept sending me anti-Obama emails. Finally, I got sick of it and stopped reading. I have a furry friend who is a horse who is quite conservative. It’s actually interesting to chat with him, and although I only agree with him once in a while, sometimes he points out things I haven’t thought about and has persuaded me occasionally.
What many in the furry community need to practice is tolerance on this topic. It is interesting that we seem to be cool with other religions, races, sexual identities, etc., but you are correct, Towyn, that on politics we seem to be less tolerant.
It is wrong for other furries to get mad at you just because you have some conservative views, just as it would be wrong for conservative furries to get angry at those who are liberals. Papabear thinks you are running into this problem a lot because you are probably chiming in on various social network discussions rather haphazardly with your opinions. Because there are a LOT of liberal furries out there, you are setting yourself up for an attack.
My suggestion would be that you refrain from such open discussions and, instead, keep such conversations where they are more apt to be listened to and debated intelligently, such as the Political Furs group on Furry4Life: http://furry4life.org/group/politicalfurs. You can also form your own group. You could create a Libertarian Furries group on FB, for instance, and welcome those with more conservative views. OR, you can start a No Drama Political Views group or something like that, where both sides are encouraged to debate intelligently without the fear of being banned because of their views.
I hope your previous experience with political flaming won’t turn you off the fandom and that, instead, you will proceed constructively as suggested above.
Good luck! And big HUGS from a gay liberal bear LOL!
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.