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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: OT - Not voting...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/15/2000 6:47:00 AM  

Message 1 in thread 

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>It's hard not to vote, especially when you've seen newscoverage of
>Hatians(?) being gunned down as they stand in line to vote. (This was
>a few years, when the dictatorship was opposing open elections and
>sought to prevent people from voting, thus maintain power.)
>

Voting is the absolute, bare minimum requirement for being a citizen.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
B5 Official Fan Club at:
http://www.thestation.com
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
to reprint specifically denied to
SFX Magazine)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: OT - Not voting...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/15/2000 7:49:00 AM  

Message 2 in thread 

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>Requirement? Don't think so. It is a tool of the citizenry...a tool that
>no one is required to use. It is a little thing called freedom.

Is it a rule? No, of course not. I was speaking of the matter of honor and of
principle and of responsibility, things not overmuch popular in a time of
"Leave me alone, I can do whatever I want, you're not the boss of me."

One is not *required* to help a person who is being assaulted in the
street...but a basic requirement of decency and humanity is that we *try*.

When I was a guest at Chicago Comic Con a few years ago, some guy was caught
shoplifting in the dealer's room. He punched the dealer and started running,
the dealer followed, yelling for somebody, ANYbody, to stop the guy.

Nobody moved, which is when it came inside my peripheral vision.

The dealer got a partial hand on the guy, but the dealer was an older man, he
wasn't going to be able to take this guy, who was a toned (as it turned out
Navy) guy.

So I jumped in and tackled the guy. The two of us brought him down, and we
held him, against his struggling, until the cops finally showed up.

We live in a representational form of government, which has a lot of problems
and a lot wrong with it. It also has a great deal to offer: the street lights
generally work, the mail generally comes, we are generally free to voice our
opinions without fear of gulags or death squads.

To vote is *our part of the bargain*. If we want government to keep to THEIR
part of the bargain, how can we in all good conscience not keep *our* part of
the bargain?

I'm not jingoisitic, I know and am quite open about all the problems of this
country and this government. But I also vote every year, year in and year out,
good candidates and goofballs, because if I don't, then I'm not entitled to
gripe about the consequences.

Every year, fewer and fewer people vote, meaning that our futures and our
fortunes are being dictated by an increasingly smaller portion of the
population because the rest just don't want to be bothered.

And I'm sorry, but to me, that ain't the proper perspective of a citizen. It's
not just a one-way "gimme" street.

To vote is not the *legal* requirement of a citizen -- and by the way, the
freedom you cite is first and foremost the freedom to choose the form of your
elected government -- but it *is* a moral and ethical requirement.

Because if you don't exercise it, sooner or later you will lose that freedom
and all the others you cherish, because those with a vested interest in making
those freedoms go away will be the ones to pass the final laws, unopposed by
dissenting voices at the ballot box.

Freedom does not equate laziness.

I said it in the show: you must choose the future you want, or others will
choose it for you.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
B5 Official Fan Club at:
http://www.thestation.com
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
to reprint specifically denied to
SFX Magazine)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: OT - Not voting...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/16/2000 12:25:00 PM  

Message 3 in thread 

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>In B5, you clearly took the opportunity to deal with this and similar
>issues. You had the whole 5-year story - the whole universe, in fact -
>at your disposal to allow you to do this. But what about before, when
>you had less control - and what other about jobbing freelance writers?

I've always tried to express a point of view in the work...when I worked on
Twilight Zone, I did stories about wife beaters and such; when I did Murder She
Wrote I tried to slip in a point of view (Jessica going toe to toe about Gulags
with the former head of the KGB and criticizing their treatment of writers and
other intellectuals), that sort of thing...but I tried never to get *political*
in the sense of saying, in or out of B5, "Democrats are better," or
"Conservatives suck."

They were really about the importance of taking personal action and
responsibility for both yourself and the world around you.

Which was the point of my story about the comic con incident (typical of late
night postings, I started the tale, got distracted, and forgot to get to the
*point* of the thing, the reason I mentioned it, which is that as a citizen, I
could not ignore someone who is being unjustly treated by a thief, and felt it
necessary to intervene. Similarly, how can one not hear the cry of a nation in
distress and not take action, even if that action is nothing more revolutionary
than the casting of a vote (which in historical terms is a very revolutionary
thing in and of itself)?

>For example, imagine at some point in the past you'd been working on
>some show and been presented with an outline for an episode much like
>"By Any Means Necessary", but in which the protagonist came down firmly
>*against* the docking unions. Would you do it and try to sneak in a plot
>thread or two to try and make it a little more acceptable? Or would you
>walk?

If it was a freelancer's story...no, of course not, it all comes down to how
well that particular story is told. Had the unions lost in that story, it
would've been equally fine with me if the story had been told with logic and a
point of view and integrity, if it ahd made a point.

If, on the other hand, we had that script as written, and the network insisted
that it be changed the way you suggest because it didn't want to be pro-union,
THEN we'd have words....


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
B5 Official Fan Club at:
http://www.thestation.com
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
to reprint specifically denied to
SFX Magazine)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: OT - Not voting...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/18/2000 10:47:00 AM  

Message 4 in thread 

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>So I'm wondering: in the above scenario, would *you* have considered
>writing Sinclair as anti-Union? Or would you worry that by putting
>vaguely illiberal attitudes in the mouth of the lead character - the
>person the audience are most likely to identify with - the story risked
>being misinterpreted; a milder form of the sort of problem Paul Schrader
>encountered with audience reaction to Travis Bickle, for example?
>

Why must the protagonist be anti-union for the union to lose? There are other
ways of doing the story.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
B5 Official Fan Club at:
http://www.thestation.com
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
to reprint specifically denied to
SFX Magazine)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: OT - Not voting...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/19/2000 4:52:00 AM  

Message 5 in thread 

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>But
>what I wondered was whether - whoever won in the end - you'd contemplate
>having your top-billed, most audience-friendly character (Sinclair)
>stand alongside EarthGov interests against them.

I'd have no problem with that propect. As long as a character has a logical,
justifiable reason for taking a particular stance, it's all grist for the mill.
Why shouldn't he take that stance if he genuinely believes it's right?


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
B5 Official Fan Club at:
http://www.thestation.com
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
to reprint specifically denied to
SFX Magazine)

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