So I said to myself after the last book came out, “Dude, you should do a blog post about your thoughts on the new book and the new direction for Tanner’s life.” I’ve had that in mind for a while now. As I’ve said before, though, part of the reason I don’t blog much is because I feel like it’s more important to spend my time on writing the books rather than, say, writing about the books, or promoting them, or whatever. The blogging is important, too. A rule of being a writer is “always be promoting,” and part of that is staying connected with readers. So I’ve been meaning to do this in the limited amount of time I devote to blogging.

But some things are more important. Recently, the White House instituted a “zero tolerance policy” at the border which has authorities literally arresting asylum seekers and separating families for an extended period. Parents have been deported without their kids. Some kids have just gone missing altogether.

If you can’t wrap your head around this, if you find yourself rejecting the whole notion because Democrats or because the liberal media or because “we would never do that,” I have a lot of awful things to tell you about American history. If you have a hard time believing it’s happening because of the responses the administration has made about this issue, you might consider the spread of those responses:

Trump has said it’s because of a law Democrats passed, which is a flat lie. There is no such law.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it’s the Christian thing to do to follow the law. This is a lie, because there is no such law compelling anyone to do this. It also calls her idea of Christianity into question and, oh yeah, we’re not a theocracy. Jeff Sessions hides behind Romans 13, which is where governments consistently go when they want to defend an atrocity (this happened over slavery, too)—and, again, we’re not a theocracy. And then, last night on Twitter, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said this isn’t happening at all and there is no such policy.

So we’ve gone from “we have to do it” to “the Bible says we have to do it” to “we’re not doing it.” Somehow, none of this is convincing—particularly against the mountain of evidence from journalists and Congressional representatives who have visited the detention centers.

Additionally: if your response to this is “don’t cross the border illegally,” again: seeking asylum is not illegal; this is a thing civilized countries allow, coming from simple humanity and empathy. The administration’s current practices are wildly cruel measures that inflict lasting harm to no good end. If your response to all this is “how do we know these children really belong to the people claiming to be their parents?” you might want to ask yourself how often you’ve ever asked this in any situation ever, and why you’re suddenly so doubtful here. (Spoiler alert: it’s called racism.)

You might also note how members of the administration are openly telling its supporters to reject what the media is telling them. So we have widespread media coverage of a cruel and damaging government practice, with everything from witness statements to records to video, against a government saying, “Shut up, this isn’t happening.” Ask yourself how many times in history this sort of thing has played out to show the government was in the right. Nothing good ever comes from a government telling its people to ignore its media. That’s how you get fascism.

And finally, if you’re really that hung up on blaming Democrats, you might consider that the Republican Party currently holds majorities in both houses of Congress and the White House along with a conservative-leaning Supreme Court. If Republicans wanted to change this shit, they could do so overnight. Democrats aren’t shouting about this because they want it to continue.

As a note: before anyone comments with something along the lines of how I should stay out of politics and stick to writing books, I’ll note that we’ve been around that subject before. Oh, and the government is currently separating families who come to us looking for asylum and keeping their children imprisoned. I’ve taught in juvenile detention—literal jail, folks. I know what I’m seeing. So at this point, if you’re about to tell me to stay out of politics, I can give you my response to that right now:

Fuck off.

You can read more detail about this current policy and practice here.

For ways to help, Slate has put together a list of groups to support here.

And please, call or write to your representatives in Congress. Especially if they’re Republicans. Tell them to stop this. Now.

33 thoughts on “Priorities

  1. Giant phat grumpy guy

    Arsehole Politics

    To be honest, IMHO politics became corrupted when, payed lobbyists became a thing, that bought off Morals and Principles, and allowed Arsehole politicians to maintain their positions and corrupt any idealistic politicians that got their foot in the door.

    It is all about the money.

    The ironic thing is that the American government is about 15 trillion dollars in debt, and yet they are still haemorrhaging money.

    “Tronald Dump” is trying to fix this, by not letting anyone emigrate (the separating children from parents is a Moral issue – see Arsehole politicians) as he thinks that is putting pressure on the welfare system, putting tariffs on a significate amounts of incoming products, so that Americans will buy American, which isn’t going to happen because Asian stuff is still cheaper.

    But ultimately China holds that debt, and is not playing fare and allowing the US to pay off that debt due to American currency issues.

    Don’t get me started on Chinese government issues, it is even worse than what “Dump” is doing.

    My solution is to put all the Arsehole politicians on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic and “accidentally on purpose” sink it.

    I could be a bit grumpier than usual as it is 3:14am here and I have to go to work in 3 hours!!!

    1. Bob

      This is a world economy if China sells off our debt or calls in the debt the value of the dollar drops and China will lose money. The idea is they bought debt valued at $1 but when they sell it off this may be worth $.50 because there is so much debt. They lost money on the investment so the value of the Yuan will lose value. So they can’t sell off the debt without incurring a loss, and because all world economies are interconnected the value of all currency will drop across the board. Which would be a bad thing because a lot of things are linked to the dollar. Not only that but we own China’s debts and other countries debts needless to say we wouldn’t be able to pay off our debts but the majority of the world wouldn’t be able to pay their debts to our country.

  2. Erik

    OK, so I totally felt like that was bait and switch. I was excited to hear what you had to say about the direction for Tanner and that universe and then…
    Oh well. Since you’re sharing links, The Economist has a good article right now about regression of liberal democracy. It’s focus is primarily on Turkey, but plenty there to supplement your topic.

    1. Elliott Kay Post author

      Yeah, I can see how it’s a bait and switch, and I feel a little bad about that, but I also feel like I come by it honestly.
      Most of my readers know who I am. And, y’know, this is a nightmare. Thanks for the share.

      1. Sci-Fi Fan

        Regarding the Bait and Switch, of the original post it is understandable given the high amount of frustration you have with the current political environment in the United States Trump. I say Trump as I am personally afraid we are heading towards some form Populist/Fascist coup scenario led by the current President when he is forced out by term limits in 2024. As I do see him winning in 2020 regardless of his offensive policies, the criminal investigations, and the trade war he is determined to start. Since all he needs to do, to win the Electoral College votes is add 10-15% more of the popular vote in each state to the votes of his solid 30% base. Which he already proved was possible in 2016 thanks to voter suppression, complacent non republican voters, gerrymandering, and naïve so called conservative evangelical women accepting Trump’s faults in exchange for his pro-life stance. Thankfully we all can forget about the real world for a few minutes a day when we read or listen to any Tanner’s mis-adventures in space. And for that I do thank you Mr. Kay and for the excellent work you all share with us.
        Please forgive me but I may have missed it somewhere between this website and your twitter and facebook posts but is an Audible edition of Last Man out in the works? I enjoy listening to all of your works as I do home improvement projects, on long drives, or when I pretend to work at the office. Thank you again for your time and keep up the good work and know that others do share your opinions regarding the current administration within the US.

  3. Tobias

    Hot damn.

    I don’t live in the US, so this isn’t affecting me… but this is really really really…

    I live in Denmark. I get that not every country can be Denmark, and neither should every country; we have our own problems, and we got our strength. We’ve got our ups and downs when it come to immigration and asylm, and I think we’ve done good. I can’t imagene us doing this.

    Then again, I can’t imagene us doing a lot of things in the US, so it could just be that somethings going on over there. Mostly though, I think what you’re saying is spot on.

  4. Todd

    I have no problem with you talking about politics. My problem is when I see something mentioning some aspect of the books, I would like the end result before talking about politics and never getting back to the books.

  5. Todd Ellner

    To fail to talk about politics at a time like this would be the most politically motivated act imaginable.

  6. Travis

    I know this is the unpopular opinion but …they are breaking the law. It doesn’t matter why. They are engaged in illegal activities. They are illegal. Again it doesn’t matter why. A starving man who steals a loaf of bread is still a thief. The whys don’t matter. I get it, its upsetting that families are being separated, but the US isn’t going to their countries and tearing the families apart. Its annoying that people seem to gloss over this fact and wail about children being torn from the arms of their parents. It happens with other crimes as well…if parents break the law, their children are taken by CPS while the parents work through the system. Anyway, this a pointless debate as I believe everyone has settled on their side of the issue. In other news 1/3 of Americans think we are heading towards civil war, so there’s that

    1. Elliott Kay Post author


      They’re arresting and separating families seeking asylum. That isn’t the same as secretly crossing the border. Their “zero tolerance” includes people who presented themselves at ports of entry to throw themselves on the mercy of this country while fleeing violence, only to find there’s no mercy from this government at all. This is utterly inexcusable.

      1. Elliott Kay Post author

        Additionally: the vast majority of them are being charged with a misdemeanor, and a low-level one at that. You’re saying it’s okay to separate families and put their children through trauma that will leave lifelong effects on them over something as legally serious as a traffic violation.

  7. carl

    Good to hear your thoughts on the insanity the Trump administration. I completely agree – tearing children away from their parents is WRONG. Making three year olds stand alone before a judge to make legal decisions is WRONG. As usual, our very vocal so-called christians show no empathy or concern for people other than them selves. Their hypocrisy is stunning.

    IMO, Donald Trump is a foreign agent. He is openly working for a hostile foreign government – the democracy hating country of Russia – to advance himself at the expanse of our country. He is openly destroying our alliances with NATO and all the other western countries, while advancing the interests of Russia and other dictatorships. He is a fascist.

    He is also a traitor, and has broken his oath of office, to protect and defend the constitution of the United States. The republicans in congress (and many democrats) are supporting him in an effort to protect their personal careers, and complete opposition of their duty to our republic. IMO, we are witnessing the end of the United States.

    As President Lincoln once said, “From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia…could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.”

    The willfully ignorant Trumptards that support his madness and congressional leaders who support his madness are destroying our country – by suicide. Sad days. Shameful days. And I fear, it will get much much worse before it gets better. This lying narcissistic man-baby famous for being a shrewd business man who has several bankruptcies on record and who refuses to release his tax records, will certainly led us into a war, probably with Iran.

    I want to be optimistic, but the ignorance of the Trumptards, the failing corporate media that has abrogated its responsibility as the fourth estate, and the corporate owned Congress make things very dark intend.

    I thank you for your stories of courage and adventure. They are an oasis on this desert of darkness we call reality.

    – carl t

    1. carl

      … and for the inevitable trumptards who respond. Sir or Madam : I wish you well, I wish you and your family success and a life free of fear. However, I believe you politics are evil. You are not evil, and I will defend your right to completely disagree with me with my life. Can you say the same?

      Please, examine this short and entertaining video made by Stephen Fry. I sincerely assure you, it is not insulting, and you may find it helpful. As a liberal, as a progressive, I salute you, and wish you well.

  8. David

    Hmm interesting perspective. No our country is not a theocracy however it was founded on Christian ideals. that being said it has slipped a great deal from being christian. The bible does say to follow the laws of the land but ONLY if those rules do not violate the biblical principles. I also recall from the Bible for those that are able to protect and and care for widows and children… perhaps one day out leaders who claim to be Christian will read the Bible then perhaps they will start to do things biblically.

  9. Mathew

    Hey, your messaging system seems to be down. If you have time, could you reply to this?

  10. Schrodingers Cat

    Please stop with the bait and switch titles. I am a constitutional conservative and I enjoy your books (Tanner has me excited for the next books, I feel Good Intentions has lost some of the enjoyment I had in the first two books). I know your politics and I specifically avoid your blog. So when you post something about the books specifically I click over and take the time to read your post. I have stopped reading authors, watching movies, and listening to music of authors, actors, and artists who spend their time while they are not working telling me I’m an ass.

    You are entitled to you opinions and should be allowed to express them as you see fit (short of physical intimidation or violence). I am asking, if you are making a book post, make it a book post, if it’s a political rant, just make it clear from the title.

    I do not have the desire to argue on message boards, it will do no good here. If I am ever in your neck of the woods I’ll invite you for drinks and we can discuss politics or books civilly, both knowing we are not going to change the others opinion but hopefully giving each other a little insight as to why the other side thinks the way they do.

  11. Joseph vanhoose

    I remember reading somewhere that the reason or at least the justification for why children are separated from their parents at the border is to make sure whether or not they actually are their parents and not actually human traffickers working for the cartels.

    1. Elliott Kay Post author

      Ask yourself whether that would ever be suspected of white parents in any significant numbers. One or two distinctly suspicious cases? I’m sure it’s possible. These numbers? Come on.

      It’s racism. Flat-out racism.

  12. Joseph vanhoose

    I remember reading like an article that said they do like DNA tests to make sure because there’s a lot of instances of like children being smuggled into the US and being forced into prostitution I agree that this is horrible but I don’t really see another way of making sure

    1. Ulzgoroth

      The only thing they’re making sure of is that the damage done is as hard to do anything about as possible.

      Even if there was any defensible reason for such a general separation policy in the first place, and there really isn’t, you’d think that such devoted protectors of children would be promptly returning children to their subsequently verified parents (if, as the purported article claims, any such verification was being made). In great numbers and with fanfare. It’s not like they couldn’t use the good press.

      As opposed to, say, not keeping any records of what children came with which adults (which would make those alleged DNA tests rather tricky to interpret), and throwing the adults back out of the country without their children as soon as they can be herded through an immigration court. Which is the thing that is actually happening.

  13. Robert Rehcra

    First off I would not constitute this as racism although in many ways it is perpetrated by a racist attitude. Secondly the whole DNA tests thing was only brought up because the government never had a way to reunite the children with their parents. Think about that. The only reasonable conclusion is at best they Don’t Care. Not about the children. not about the legality of it and not about an end goal.

    As for child prostitution….. It doesn’t make economic sense to smuggle them across in mass through small family units. To many people involved increases risk and decreases profits and… it just doesn’t make sense and thinking about the logistics of it all is getting me depressed so I am done. Even if it was prevalent enough to occur in such a manner a better use of that information would be hunting down the buyers. Also in the illogical happen stance that such an act actually did occur through pure luck and odds of chance, if you took the net gain out of the increased potential of it occurring because they were separated you would clearly end up in the negative.


  14. Turnnjersey

    This “Immigration Problem” has been bothering me for a while now. I am not a republican or democrat I am an independent pure and simple. I believe in the philosophy that if you have two parties that have completely the opposite positions the best deal is when they both walk away unhappy but not angry.

    Maybe my view is a bit simplistic but here goes. My solution to the “Problem”:
    If you come to this country to work you must come across the boarder and be identified. You will be given an ID card and have to pay taxes. If you have a criminal record you will be denied entry.
    You will not be able to vote. You will not be eligible for social welfare programs. If you find yourself unemployed for a period more than 6 months you must return to your country of origin. If you can not afford transportation it will be arranged.
    For those that have lived here “illegally” for a period of time more than 2 years , they must come forward be identified and given ID to that effect. If they are employed or have a family that can support them they can remain.
    If you were a child when brought to this country and have lived the majority of your life in this country. The same as above applies. For the above conditions the option for citizenship will be offered for those who take the classes and pass the test.
    Anyone who enters this country and commits a felony will be given the option of serving the time or deportation. If three or more felonies are committed they will be summarily deported.
    I know that my view is a bit simplistic on a very complicated problem but sometimes a simple answer is best.
    This will provide people that want to come to this county to work legal access. This will free up boarder patrol resources to focus on the criminals who would not be able to cross at boarder stations.

    The fact is that this is not the biggest problem we face right now, but it is the one that has the most visible in the media today. Our biggest problem is that we have politicians that won’t listen to the people. Career politicians that will say or do anything to keep their job.

    An Anti incumbent movement is needed in this Country. You want to see real change, vote out everyone that has been in office more than 12 years and you will see a huge change.

  15. Vtech

    I hope this an appropriate form for it because I have a few questions about your urban fantasy series.

    Is Lorelei stuck as a demon forever? Even after completely repenting?

    1. Elliott Kay Post author

      Hi there, sorry I didn’t reply sooner!
      Lorelei is permanently a demon, yes. While it’s fantasy and anything is possible, I don’t foresee any change to that.
      I wouldn’t say she has completely repented. She regrets much of what she did, but at the same time, her “origin story” as shown in Natural Consequences leaves her with a lot of reasonable bitterness toward Heaven and the angels for their expectations. She has thousands of years of regret, but also a sense of “What else was I supposed to do?” The course of history and the suffering she has witnessed hasn’t exactly resolved that anger. I’m not sure what would.

  16. DoorMantle

    How far ahead do you plan your stories? Like; did you have a final ending in mind for all of them before you even published the first book?

    1. Elliott Kay Post author

      It usually isn’t the same process from one to the next. Usually I have an ending in mind, but sometimes I don’t. I’m kind of big on “exploratory writing,” or “pantsing” (writing by the seat of your pants). Sometimes I only have the starting pint and I have to get into the writing of the book to know how I’ll want it to end.

  17. Bill


    Go watch BlackKKlansman

    I saw it last night with my wife…. when the movie was done, utter silence for what felt like 5 minuets, likely 1

    But wow…

  18. Phillip Mosley

    On Facebook I’ve openly disagreed with some issues I have with your politics, Elliott Kay. But to me that doesn’t mean you can’t put part of what you believe in into the books. Hell, you don’t just rip what’s going on in the US into your books. You right compelling stories that are damn good. I don’t sit down in with a pad and pen while reading your works to find the parallels that may exist. Anyone who does is pretty pathetic in my eyes.. but hey, I say take their money and laugh all the way to the bank.

    Anyways, just came to see if there was any news on the next novel when I saw this. Keep up the fantastic work!

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