December 28th, 2013

Politics and Alternate History

This is an adapted version of a comment I wrote for Point of Divergence, kind of a mea culpa for drifting into politics in what should be an Alternate History zine.

Politics has taken over too much of our world already, in my opinion. You can’t even talk about the weather around some people without igniting politics.

Me: “Kind of cool today.”
Conservative friend, mockingly: “Yeah. More of that global warming.”

Me: “It’s a hot one.”
Liberal friend, earnestly: “I know. I can’t believe people still don’t think there’s global warming when they’re sweating in it.”

I know enough about climate and climate change to have to bite my tongue in responding to both of those answers. I usually take the non-confrontational way out, nodding vaguely and changing the subject.

If you can’t safely talk about the weather, there is very little safety from politics anywhere. It’s very easy for politics to creep into Alternate History. Political leanings make a big difference in how you view history. American Civil War? Some of the issues, though fortunately not slavery, are still being fought over. How much power should states properly have versus the federal government? Your view on that will have a big impact on how you view the Civil War, and to some extent your view of the Civil War will impact your view of how states and the federal government should interact. Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan? How do you view them? Depends on your political views.

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