by Alan Beatts
Once again, we've made our minimum goal for sponsors. So, we'll be staying open throughout 2017. If you're not familiar with our Sponsorship Program and how it is critical for the continued operation of Borderlands Books, you can find information about it here - http://borderlands-sponsors.blogspot.com/p/why-sponsorships.html .
I want to personally thank all our 2017 sponsors for allowing us to continue to do what we love -- run a fine shop and put great books in the hands of readers. If you're not a sponsor or if you haven't renewed your sponsorship yet, you're welcome to do so anytime this year. There are some nice benefits <http://borderlands-sponsors.blogspot.com/p/sponsor-benefits-and-privilidges.html> to being a sponsor and, each sponsor who supports us over the minimum gets us one step closer to our long-term goal of buying a building before our current lease expires in 2021. You can sign up on-line <https://borderlands-books.com/buysponsorship17.html>, in person at the store, by phone with a credit card (toll free 888 893-4008), or with a check by physical mail. We sincerely appreciate everyone's support.
That said, I'm going to jump to a mostly unrelated topic.
It has been my policy since opening Borderlands to keep the business as thoroughly separated from politics as possible. It's not that I (and the rest of the staff) lack political convictions. But, the staff and customers at Borderlands are a very diverse group with a range of political and social views as broad as the general public. If I were to take political positions in my role as the owner of this business, to some extent I would be demanding that my customers, fellow members of our community like authors and publishers, and, most of all, my staff make a choice. They could either tacitly support my views by continuing to be associated with Borderlands or they could sever their relationship. Although that tacit support would be minor and of small degree, it would be present.
Since I don't think it would be right for me to place people whom I respect in that position and, more so, because I don't think that my views are something that I should force on anyone, I have always maintained that apolitical standard for our business. The one exception to that standard has been the very rare laws that directly affect bookselling and booksellers (such as the recent California autograph law - AB1570). Beyond that, the larger political arena has been off-limits. We won't even put up signs for local candidates or host meetings for them.
But, there are times when political matters transcend mere questions of governance and begin to touch upon more vital questions of essential civil rights and the rule of law. I believe that, when politics treads into the territory of civil rights, I have an ethical obligation to not be silent. Likewise, if the fundamental legal bases of our nation and society are threatened or abridged, I feel a duty to speak out.
I believe we are living through a remarkable period of American politics. We are truly seeing history being made and we are witnessing events that will be discussed 50 and 100 years from now. And I am concerned that we are also living through a period in which matters of civil rights and the rule of law may be sharply contested. And so, this note is along the lines of giving fair warning: if my ethics or duty require that I speak up, I will do so -- regardless of the discomfort it might cause me or other people associated with Borderlands.
I'm aware that there's a possibility that, were I to take political positions in my capacity as the owner of Borderlands, it will be a slippery slope that leads farther than I would wish. I also know that I might offend some of our customers in the process. I hope that, if I go to farther into the realm of the political than the guidelines I mentioned would allow, you'll let me know. And I also hope that, if you disagree with something I've said or are offended by it, you'll write or call and hopefully we can have a useful and respectful conversation about it.
But, most of all, I hope that the next few years will not hold anything that I feel I have to comment on. I think that really would be best, for me and for our country.