Romance has always been about honoring and celebrating VERY liberal values. You do not win your HEA if you don't take a risk and open your heart to someone who starts out feeling very "other" to you. You do not win your HEA if you don't take a RISK.
Liberal = let me try this new thing/see what's over that mountain/welcome the stranger at the gate
Conservative = the old ways should not be changed/we're safer here in our cave/KEEP THAT GATE SECURELY LOCKED!! (don't let that stranger bring us disease, murder, unrest!)
Unrest being the most frightening to the people in power, who tend to become conservative in order to hold on to that power. (Change? What? Why? Never! It's all perfect exactly as it is!!) But now here's some pesky stranger at the gate, bringing in new spices and new stories.
And god (and usually their god is someone who absolutely wants them to stay in power, right?) forbid that those new stories and tales of faraway places give those who are NOT in power (like, oh, say, women and people of color) the idea that the status quo sucks for them.
So instead of running through the streets screaming "the stranger at the gate will bring new ideas that might be dangerous to me," the people in power scream about disease and murder! THE STRANGER WILL KILL YOU DOUBLE-DEAD!! Don't open the gate, in fact build the wall HIGHER!!
But let's get back to the romance genre, (which is usually mocked & belittled by people in power, right? That's not by accident!) which has been a source of liberal ideas from its very start. LOVE IS A GIFT. Radical! IF YOU TAKE A RISK, YOU'LL EARN YOUR HEA #HappilyEverAfter
Think abt it: What romance doesn't require at least 1 of the 2 main chars to NOT take a giant risk to win their HEA? Cinderella had to break a shit-ton of rules & trust the crazy lady who turned a pumpkin into a carriage, & yeah, I'M not easily trusting footmen who were mice...
I'm going for the easy joke there, but think abt how hard Cinderella had to fight for her HEA.
Think, too, abt the prince who was being pressured to just pick any pretty woman for his bride. The old way says love doesn't matter--does she have good child-bearing hips? But he fell in insta-love @ the ball & took risks to find her.
And yet this story has the fingerprints of men-in-power all over it. The hero's a prince, not the blacksmith, right. (That would interest me more...) I'm sure Cinderella vowed to obey her husband when they married. But he was kind to her until someone else caught his eye...
Except, no! If this is a true romance, THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER. And yes, such a thing is entirely possible if you reject the (obviously completely embraced by the GOP) conservative value that "if you have power, you can do anything, the rules don't apply to you."
Romance novels are, by nature, extremely liberal messaging. Seriously, tell me one romance--JUST ONE--in which the HEA is not won by taking a risk and trying something scary and new.
Tell me one romance--JUST ONE--in which the HEA is not won by the main chars opening their hearts to either a stranger--someone they viewed as "other" at the start of the story--or by opening their hearts to an idea that challenged or frightened them.
(Ex. the friends-to-lovers trope. The scary "other" in that story is an idea. Main chars have to throw away long-held beliefs & prejudices: (we could never be more than friends or she/he only thinks of me as a friend so if I confess my feelings I risk--RISK--losing everything.)
So yes. Every single romance I've ever written has actively attacked conservative values that try to convince us that women (and people of color & gay people) should "know their place."
Every single romance I've ever written has actively attacked conservative values that try to convince us that women (and people of color & gay people) should not talk or laugh too loudly (or even be visible in many cases)...
Every single romance I've ever written has actively attacked conservative values that try to convince us that love is not as important as money & power, and that happily-ever-afters are reserved for old white men who regularly trade in their wives for newer, younger versions.
And don't @ me with "those aren't *true* conservative values!" Because yes, they certainly are. Every time you choose to let someone go hungry or wo health care instead of paying higher taxes, you are choosing money over love.
Every day that passes that you aren't joining me in screaming in outrage over family separation--toddlers torn from their mothers' & fathers' arms--you are choosing power (kept in place via creating fear) over love.
Someone taught some of us (53% of us, white women?) that love is not as important as money and power. Someone is making some of us afraid to choose love & compassion & kindness over fear.
But they sure as hell didn't learn that by reading MY (& everyone else's!!) UNAPOLOGETICALLY LIBERAL ROMANCE NOVELS.
Check your registration (or register!!) again and #VoteBlue2018 as if our lives depend upon it. (They do!)

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More from @SuzBrockmann

Aug 15, 2018
I've been thinking abt this thread nonstop, & I want to talk about that speech I gave at RWA. Right after I gave it, I didn't have much time to discuss or respond because I had some serious stuff going on in my life.
2.5 years ago, my best friend & brother-from-another-mother, @BillKuhlman, was diagnosed w stage IV cancer & given 6 mos. I signed up for his private army & helped him fight. Targeted chemo & a healthy diet worked well, until it didn't.
But it gave Bill a little extra time & he and his family got to celebrate Jason & Matt's wedding with us, among other things...
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