I didn’t write The Raffle Series to be political. Yes, I studied geopolitics and history in college, but The Raffle is not a manifesto. It’s science fiction heavily influenced by what’s happening in our world.
BUT, it’s impossible to ignore the rampant shootings frequently occurring in the United States today. The very recent terrible events in Gilroy, El Paso and then in Dayton have caused reflection this past week about the American Gun Debate and how it plays out in The Raffle Series.
According to one study cited in a recent Guardian story, “…white supremacy is the key to understanding America’s gun debate.” When I read that line, I thought, yes, and white supremacy is a key to understanding several complex themes in The Raffle Series too.
Without spoiling too much of The Series, if you read all four Parts, you know a religious, subversive white supremacist group isn’t satisfied with the autonomy it has received in the New United States. It wants to dominate rather than just exist more openly. It’s just never enough. Much like the ability to carry guns in this country: Gun right purists don’t want any regulation and want the ability to carry assault weapons and advanced ammunition. And they want to be able to do so in public.
Tying this demand to the tenets of white supremacy, the study provides that, “The intensity and polarization of the US gun debate makes much more sense when understood in the context of whiteness and white privilege.” The story cites Dr. Johnathan Metzl, who notes that, “Carrying a gun in public (emphasis added) has been coded as a white privilege.”
Metzl further notes that the shooter’s identity dictates the after-shooting narrative: It will either be focused on the individual or a cultural group/religion depending on the skin color of the shooter. “When the shooter is white, the context is the individual narrative – this individual (emphasis added) disordered white mind. When the shooter is black or brown, all of a sudden the disorder is culture. The narrative we tell then is about terrorism or gangs.”
In other words, one “bad” brown or black person makes all brown and black people guilty. Because nonwhites are unofficially under “heightened scrutiny” in the United States. As Metzl notes, “…there are… stories about African American gun owners who would go to Walmart and get tackled and shot.”
So, what does this have to do with The Raffle Series? Unfortunately, it has a tremendous impact on The Raffle Series.
One of the many correct predictions in the novel (which will be the subject of future posts) was the election of Donald Trump in 2016. When Part 1 of The Raffle was published in January 2016, the racial tensions, threats of global terrorism/rogue actors like North Korea, and our country’s hangover of the same political participants caused me to think that an outsider like Trump had a chance.
Other people thought I was crazy, and then I started to believe them. I thought, the only way someone like Trump could win would be if a massive terror attack occurred. And I was wrong. While I feared the racist elements in this country could have an influence on the election, they mixed perfectly with the religious fundamentalist elements and produced a win. A win that caused the dawn of The New United States in the “real world” starting in November 2016.
Attacks on immigrants in the “real world” like what occurred in El Paso would not occur in The Raffle Series because of their removal during The Great Expulsion. The Great Expulsion was the event in the Series where all non citizens were removed from the United States. It is also when certain Americans with ties to questionable regions of the world (namely the Middle East) were placed on “heightened scrutiny.” Does that really sound that crazy or like science fiction? Or is it just one step further than our current world today? Just today the Administration announced new penalties on legal non citizens. I’m telling you soon The Great Expulsion will be a reality.
With the gun debate inextricably connected with the last bastion of white supremacy in the United States, the immigrant question and fear of the other will always be included as side stories to the gun debate. And with all of those themes playing out in The Raffle Series, you cannot divorce the Series from the gun debate. Because we will always ask, are we already living in The New United States?