Today someone told me to stop tweeting my recommendations for this year's Hugo Awards because "Recommending I vote a particular way is an attempt to sway my vote." The person then unfollowed me because I'd politicized the Hugos and didn't respect my fellow voters.
Which was interesting because I have been merely stating my opinion about the authors and stories on this year's ballot. I wasn't organizing people to vote a certain way, or threatening people if they didn't vote how I wanted.
Since this happened I've been pondering this person's point of view. My speculation is that this person wants the Hugos to be a non-political award given solely on the basis of merit. While I personally disagree with this view—the Hugo Awards have always been political, as everything to do with humanity is political—I also know that many fans of science fiction and fantasy cling to this non-political dream. This position also makes these "non-political" SF/F lovers seem like the true norm in our genre.
But as Martin McGrath so wonderfully put it today, "Attempts to deny that one's position is inherently political are often attempts to make personal prejudices appear universal."
I wish the Hugo Awards were less susceptible to being gamed—although stating one's opinion about award finalists isn't gaming the system—and to this end I've made some suggestions. But even if the awards were improved they'd still be political. That won't change as long as humans are involved in selecting the winners.
Yes, I have strong views on the directions I'd like our genre to take. The same can be said of those in the genre I both agree and disagree with. But this isn't a bad thing. Stating one's opinion is a very simply human act. In fact, it may be the most human of acts.
People are free to listen to my opinion or ignore my opinion or debate my opinion or laugh at my opinion.
But pretending the Hugo Award aren't political is as political an act as anything our genre has seen in recent years.