Winter Sunlight

Untitled political fluff

Fandom: SGA
Word Count: ~900

Falling asleep last night, I was amusing myself by contemplating the political affiliation of various people on Atlantis (hey, I'm easily amused) and this happened as a result. Gen, John and Rodney bickering, no plot to speak of.

"I can't believe you're a Republican."

Rodney sounded personally affronted. John spared a moment to smirk at him before trotting up the stairs to the transporter. "That's what you get for poking around in other people's personal files, Rodney."

Rodney didn't deny it, just continued to glower as he caught up. "Seriously, I thought you had more sense than that."

"Rodney," John said patiently, "we're on a military base. I'm a ranking officer in the U.S. armed forces. What, did you expect me to be a member of the Green Party or something?"

"It's a civilian-run operation," Rodney sulked, as John tapped the infirmary on the city map.

"With a huge military presence. Besides, take a look at your side once in a while. Have you talked to Simpson about politics lately?"

"That's completely --"


"Okay, I'll grant you she might be, but --"


"What? Now you're totally pulling this out of your ass!"

"Kavanagh?" John winced at the look on Rodney's face. "Okay, forget that one."

"See, him, I would have guessed. But seriously," Rodney whined as he trailed John into the infirmary, "why?"

The other two teammates looked up; Keller was just removing the blood pressure cuff from Teyla's arm, finishing up her physical. Keller rolled her eyes and slid in the direction of her tray of supplies.

"I'm not gonna want to know about this one, am I?" Ronon asked quietly.

"No," Teyla said with a sigh.

The argument carried on without a break as John hopped up on the nearest gurney and rolled up his sleeve. "What do the Democrats want to do, Rodney? Cut military spending."

"Yes yes, I'll take your word for it, being as I'm Canadian and all, but your country spends far too much on its military as it is."

John snorted. "Yeah, and what's the biggest unexplained chunk of pork on the military budget right now?"

"How should I know? It's not my country. Iraq?"

"This, Rodney, you nit." John poked him in the forehead. "Us. Atlantis. You actually expect me to cast a vote that's going to get me sent home?"

"Are you even voting at all?" Rodney asked suspiciously, swatting him away.

"Well, probably not, but it's the principle of the thing. Two words, Rodney: gun control." John mimed firing a handgun into the middle distance.

"I can't believe I ever bothered speaking to you," Rodney snapped, turning his back. Unfortunately this gave him no choice but to meet the eyes of his other teammates. Ronon looked bored. Teyla looked as if any Earth human so much as mentioned the word "election" around her again, they'd have two broken arms. Rodney hastily looked away.

"Your people take this very seriously," Teyla said, with a clear subtext of Because they lack real problems, such as enemies who use them as a food supply.

"I just can't believe I actually respected you," Rodney informed John over his shoulder.

"Rodney, if you don't shut up about it, I'm putting you on Lorne's team and we'll see how you like dealing with four heavily armed Republicans instead of one."

"You're not a Republican, are you?" Rodney asked Keller morosely as she came back to draw John's blood.

Keller stared at him. "What? God, no; what do you take me for?"

"At least someone has some sense." Rodney projected an air of cheerful smugness, loudly, in John's direction.

Keller wiped down John's inner elbow with an alcohol swab. "Lifelong Democrats, my entire family, back three generations."

"You know, Doc, I hear your condition's curable," John said, grinning, and winced as she jabbed his arm for the puncture a little harder than necessary. "Ow. And while we're on the subject, I suggest you have a gurney waiting on standby for Rodney, in case he tries to discuss politics in the mess with the entire military contingent present."

"Not everyone in the military is a Republican, you know, Colonel," Keller said, briskly capping tubes of blood. "You never discussed politics with Carter, I take it."

"I try not to discuss it in general, if I can help it," John said, shooting a glare at Rodney, who was radiating little smug rays again.

"See, Sam has excellent political taste, like her taste in all other things."

"Such as her purely platonic interest in you?" John shot across his bow.

Rodney folded his arms defensively. "We're friends. Platonic friends. We have a respect that transcends mere physical attraction."

By now, Keller and Teyla were both rolling their eyes. John decided that a change of subject was probably wise, considering that one of them had a sharp object stuck in his body and the other kicked his ass on a regularly basis even without provocation. "So! Who's ready for lunch? Tuesday is fishstick day in the mess, you know."

"As soon as I get your fasting bloodwork samples drawn. Both of you," Keller announced sternly, descending on Rodney.

Rodney rolled up his sleeve, but his attention was still fixed on John. "Don't think this is over, Colonel. I plan to grill you on every one of your country's issues until you admit that you're utterly, irrevocably and in all other ways wrong."

John closed his eyes briefly in despair. Two months until the election, but it couldn't get here soon enough for him. He didn't care whether Hayes won re-election or not (it was still Hayes, wasn't it?) if certain people would just shut up about it.

"Your people really need more hobbies," Ronon said.
Thank you!

I think TV shows often tend to avoid discussing their characters' political or religious beliefs because they don't want to alienate any groups of viewers. It produces a weird, sanitized sort of version of reality, though, because of course, in real life people talk about that sort of thing all the time; it colors everything they do. I do like this sort of story as a window onto the characters' minds. I wish that SGA's general format and genre allowed for more of this sort of thing.

It's weird getting into a character you love's head without agreeing with their core beliefs. I know that I keep trying to get into Ziva's head, but I know, know that in RL she'd be right wing, possibly even extreme right wing, and just getting into her POV would mean showing that, whether I'm discussing politics or not. (Just as uncomfortable for me to write a religious character, as an atheist. I usually end up making characters atheists as well.)

It's tricky! I think I've become much better at writing characters whose convictions differ from my own as I've gotten older -- and, actually, this is one area where fanfic has really helped me, because the characters come with a pre-packaged set of personality traits and beliefs, some of which invariably will differ from my own. I usually feel like I'm doing something wrong if I end up writing a character who agrees with me on everything. *g* Part of the fun inherent in writing, for me, is doing justice to a viewpoint different from my own. I'm not sure if people generally assume that my characters' views represent my own, but, while I'm sure it's true to some extent, it's not always true. I like to work with a group of characters who have a variety of viewpoints, and there are many times when I write about a situation where I actually disagree with how the characters handle it -- but I have to write them doing what they think is best, not what I think is best.

For some reason, despite being a lifelong atheist, I don't seem to find it difficult to write religious characters. I think it's probably more comfortable and easier for me to slip into a character who's either openly atheistic or doesn't every think about religion much, but there are a few characters that I actually like to write because I get to do a point of view that is much more religious/spiritual than my own outlook (e.g. Teyla). I don't think I've ever pushed myself to write a sympathetic portrayal of a deeply religious character, though, someone for whom religion colors even their minor everyday actions. Hmm...