Famous authors write off Donald Trump in new petition
Posted May 29, 2016
More than 400 famous authors have lent their names to a petition against GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump this week, saying that a Trump presidency would be a travesty for America and free speech.
Boasting top literary names like Stephen King, Cheryl Strayed, Amy Tan, Junot Diaz and David Eggers, the petition decries Trump "because, as writers, we are particularly aware of the many ways that language can be abused in the name of power," the petition reads.
While some media commentators (including the Washington Post's Alyssa Rosenberg) and others in the publishing industry have expressed support for the petition, not everyone is convinced the authors are going about their dislike of Trump in the right way.
Rosenberg herself, while saying she "agreed" with the writers, admitted she wasn't sure the petition mattered.
"I agree with the list of propositions these authors have articulated and their vision of American democracy," Rosenberg wrote. "But as someone who writes both about Donald Trump as a cultural phenomenon and the cultural responses to him, it’s hard not to feel pessimistic about the prospect of their petition turning the tide."
Others, like the New Republic's Alex Shephard, were even less conciliatory about the petition. Shephard called the petition "at best, a missed opportunity."
"Trump has made very clear threats to free expression. He wants to loosen libel laws, for instance, to make it easier to sue journalists," Shephard wrote. "The biggest problem with the petition is its naked self-importance. There is nothing brave or noteworthy about signing a generic petition saying you’re against Trump."
Rather, Shephard points out, it would be more sharp and daring for these writers to do what they do best: Turn their feelings into influential art.
"Trump’s entire worldview is one in which art and the arts do not have much value," Shephard wrote. "Fiction is one of the best vehicles we have for making sense of difference and difficulty, but Trump’s approach is to steamroll diversity of thought and opinion."