I know Mrs. Moon. Not particularly well. We’ve sat across from each other at dinners, talked while we walked around a con, and so forth. She’s a very nice lady. We differ on many political issues.
She wrote a blog post this year about the proposed mosque at ground zero. I thought it was well written, thoughtful, and I largely agreed with it.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Elizabeth Moon was disinvited as Guest Of Honor from WisCon because of the contents of that post. She is being described as a bigot and a racist. In a shallow search of the internet the negative response to her post was vociferous and ill-informed. By that I mean that the vigor of those decrying her words seemed inversely proportional to how well they understood what she’d actually said in the post itself.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. For decades now ideologues have been preying on individuals who can’t be troubled to fully understand any given issue. If the soundbite doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy, like a kindly revolutionary, well, you must be against that. If the soundbite doesn’t resonate with your own fears, give you a sense of belonging to the in-group, well, you must be against that. Carry on, wave your placard, dump your trash on the ground for the workers to pick up.
Mrs. Moon’s post was largely a call to active citizenship, to responsibility, to personal accountability. A democratic republic cannot function properly if the citizens are worried only about themselves. The well-being of the group, the nation, the country, must figure largely into a good citizen’s responsibility equation. Mrs. Moon is well entitled to make that statement having served in the Marine Corps among a great many other things. Presumably she did at least a few good things that got her the Guest of Honor invitation to WisCon in the first place.
Part of being a good citizen here in the United States is a willingness to openly consider ideas that may be different from your own. Discuss them on their merits. Examine your own ideas in their light to see if, perhaps, you can learn something. It is the mark of intellectual cowardice and dishonesty to refuse to examine, refuse to discuss, refuse even to entertain, ideas that may be different from your own.
I’m looking at you WisCon.