Should People of Value Express their Political Opinions: What good is freedom if we don’t live to support it?

Everyone must come to these things in their own way, but the question continues to be asked among people in the community who are “valuable,” whether or not they should get involved in politics beyond the occasional donation or remain in obscurity. My answer to that must be defined by the understanding of social value. It’s not politically correct to make such a judgement, but that is also why as a society we have trouble, because under political correctness, value is a loose term defined by government efforts, not reality. People of value are those who move mankind forward. It might be the owner of your local Taco Bell or the industrialist who is running five or six manufacturing plants. The workers who are employed by those establishments can come and go as they’d like, so their impact to that future growth, for which all economic measures are leveraged against is minimal. Meanwhile, it is the risktakers and investors in our society who have more value over those who don’t do such things. So the question is, should such people, such as President Trump who could be living a good life in his retirement years watching the world go by, should they get involved and letting it be known that their business is ran by a liberal or a conservative—or should they show themselves as middle of the road political supporters?

Well for the political left, they have already answered that question. They are not shy about their political beliefs. And for establishments like Chick-Fil-A, they lean toward the religious conservative side and we’ve seen how the political left has treated them—bullying them at every opportunity. Most people who invest in businesses don’t want the extra headache of a teacher’s union protest outside a place they’ve poured a huge amount of their time into at great risk to give jobs to people, so they are shy about such conflict, which unfortunately is the way the political left has established things will be. They are not peace lovers, they are bullies, pure and simple.

I can’t say that I’ve ever been shy about my political affiliation, but for a time while I was contemplating a career as a film director and movie writer, I didn’t run down the street screaming about it. I have always been able to get along with people of all types and never had a problem with people of color, the opposite sex or people from entirely different political beliefs. Even though I have very firm beliefs; I never have felt that my roots were so insecure that I had to yell and scream at people who didn’t think the way I did. So in spite of the Hollywood bias against people with my political affiliation, I found myself at one of those dinners in Glendale, California with around nine people all of whom were at a minimum, millionaires and were looking for ways to make more money, which is why I was at that table.

I remember it vividly; I was at a very nice restaurant at the Americana shopping complex eating at a big round table overlooking a courtyard set in the middle of the complex on a Friday night in early summer. It was literally a seat at the table of some big-time movers and shakers in Hollywood, producer types and money people. I was brought in because of my firewhip demonstrations that I had done at a film festival representing my membership in the World Stunt Association and because I had a hot script that had won some awards there were buyers for it. The talk was to change that script a bit from an anti-progressive horror adventure film to something more mainstream and less violent. This was before the days of Kill Bill, so producers were concerned that would hurt the potential box office. But essentially the people at that table didn’t care about the script or my bullwhip skills, they wanted to know if I would play along with the rest of the industry or would a be a pain in the ass. And that question was asked of me point blank, I was expected to talk down about George W. Bush who was president at the time. I of course didn’t, even though he wasn’t my favorite guy, he was the best that Republicans had at that time. And I thought about the consequences. I had literally worked 20 years to get to that point and the offer was on the table.

After that project I wasn’t invited to do any more, it really does come down to peer pressure and who you know in that business, unless you put up the money for your own movie. I had decided that I’d rather be honest about my opinions than to have a show business career making a lot of money, but not having the freedom to express myself. And that should not have been a decision I had to make. Long time readers here probably will notice that I took a year off after all that to travel the world and do many things with my wife that I had long planned. Then thereafter, I started this blog and became politically active because if I had to choose, I was at least going to be free to have my own opinion about things.

Growing up I loved the Disney version of Zorro and I watched every episode countless times. But I had always promised myself that I could never be like Don Diego and pretend to be foppish. I’d want to be Zorro all hours of the day seven days of the week. When I created the Cliffhanger character in my book The Symposium of Justice which was one of the projects that had landed me at that table in Glendale, California I wanted to answer my opinion about the Don Diego complex. So pushed in reality I had to pick my Cliffhanger character which was unyielding to the pressures of society as opposed to Zorro who played hero at night, but rich fop during the day so that he could have the approval of his peers and not lose his land to corruption.

Yet all conservatives are expected to be like Don Diego. Even if they do give to a political campaign of their choosing, if it isn’t the liberal candidate there will be consequences, and the political left is quite adamant about that. However, I wasn’t about to write about something and not live it in my real life, so that is the paradox we all face these days and that is my opinion on it. You can’t make peace with the political left. And if you go against them, they will come after you. But my experience is that they aren’t that powerful. They don’t have much in their bag of tricks. When pressed, they come up short most of the time, so why be afraid of them. People of value shouldn’t. I understand making decisions to avoid that conflict. But if you run from it, then you empower them even greater in the future, because they know their pressure worked. And we can’t have that. Everyone must make their own decisions about things, but one of the greatest things we have in life is our opinions and the freedom to have them. To squander that away is a crime in and of itself, not worth the money you might make otherwise. And that is the grim reality when such a choice is made, and it’s never easy.

Rich Hoffman

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