Archive | August 2017

What matters, comes after

Angel of Ohlsdorf

I took a trip to Germany years ago. One of the places we stopped was a cemetery.  The person I was with commented on all the swastikas on the graves of the WWII soldiers. As Americans, standing there looking on these graves, that symbol felt wrong to see anywhere. But in a place of mourning, a place that had always been a place of mourning, these scattered graves of local people, who had died in that horrific time, serving that horrific regime, bearing that hated mark, it made sense.

I doubt anyone will ever want to go back through every graveyard in Germany and elsewhere that nazi soliders and sympathizers died, and chip off every swastika. I suppose it could be done, maybe it should be done, but it would take funding, and family approval, and town approval and . . . really all you feel in that place is sadness already. Sadness that someone, anyone, ever fought and died in such a worthless cause as hate, racism, and national socialist whackjob-ism.

When I think about Confederate symbols in graveyards, I feel the same way about them. Lives lost over such an immoral, obscenely worthless cause. But I don’t feel that way about Confederate symbols in public places. I think those symbols should be removed and replaced with symbols of hope. Emancipation Park shouldn’t have a statue of General Robert E Lee. It should have a symbol of the Great Emancipator, Lincoln. Or of Harriet Tubman, whose emancipated so many.

I speak as someone who loves history and has a degree  in it. I also speak as an artist. Now is the time to remove bronze statues, to give them to artists of today to melt down and create something new to go on those empty plinths. Now is the time to give those cenotaphs to sculptors to chip away at and remake into something new. Now is the time, for today’s artists, and today’s historians, to join up and transform these places and with outdated, prejudiced, oppressive symbols in to symbols of our time, symbols of truth, of hope, of aspirations not yet met.

Why can’t Rosa Parks replace Robert E Lee on that plinth? Why can’t Rebecca Lee Crumpler stand tall on a campus quad? Why can’t we celebrate the achievements and progress of our country, of people of color, where once there was a symbol of intimation and oppression? Why can’t a statue of Former Justice Thurgood Marshall (of Brown v Board of Education) stand where Former Justice Roger Tany (of Dred Scott) did?

Why can’t we start to do this now?

Nature abhors a vacuum. I call on you, artists and historians. Let’s create the future now, by celebrating a past that also actually happened, and was good and inspiring and uplifting, not just for people of color but all people. Let’s not leave an empty plinth, a hole in the ground, or a space for a plaque on a monument to be ceded to a new version of racism and intolerance.

I call on cities and counties, states and communities. I call on people to form committees, to get this important work, in this critical time, accomplished. Let the dead, who buried their Confederate soldier and sympathizer dead, and are now themselves dead, lie. Their time is over. They are dust, as we all must someday be.

But in our public spheres, alive and vibrant, let we the living create new art, alive and vibrant, so that 100 or 150 years from now, those monuments will still stand tall and remind living people of the future, of people who lived  in times past and whose lives deserve to be remembered and celebrated still, not just by Americans of color, but by all Americans who pass by.

To destroy what is bad of the past is good, but what really matters is what you create in it’s place. What really matters, is what comes after.

 

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Who’s minding the mint?

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At this point, I guess former US General, John Kelly is now the de facto president running the US govt. I don’t say that as an insult or as praise. I just state it as a fact.

The Republican Congress has decided the Republican president is incompetent to be president but clearly don’t want him replaced by Pence, because then they’d lose the chump base voters, who still cling to the failed president. The GOP are counting on those die-hard chump voters in 2018, even as that base clearly is eroding fast and will likely be gone by the 2018 elections.

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Given the bad situation GOP has found itself in with a chump president who is clearly not a GOP supporter and not qualified to be president, the GOP has had to take some drastic actions. First they had to remove the president’s ability to make foreign policy, because of the head chump’s inability to even care that Russia interfered with the US elections. Then, they had to even go so far as to remove chump’s ability to remove Special Counsel Mueller. The GOP, had to legally stop the GOP president chump from doing something that would get said GOP president impeached.

In other words, the president of the US is considered by his own party, and even his own White House staff, to be a toddler.

Repeated reports from within the White House state that the president can’t read more than half a page without getting bored and distracted — toddler. They also state that the president always decides things based on the last person he spoke to — because he has a toddler’s memory and attention span.

Even new chief of staff Kelly confirmed this. Kelly actually said this about the president: he makes bad decisions because he’s not given good information and he thinks fake news is real news. So, there you go.

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Real general, real president

Because of this reality, Kelly now controls all information that reaches the president. This is what Kelly said he was doing. Kelly is de facto controlling the govt, because only Kelly decides what the president sees in the way of reports and and only Kelly decides who the president talks to last.

This again is not a pro or anti statement. It’s just the stated facts.

I guess president chump having gone to military school is okay taking orders from a ranking officer. But it’s not a good situation for a democracy to have no real democratically elected leader who has no ability to govern or lead and has himself to be lead and governed by his chief of staff.

I guess the GOP is okay with the situation. I guess they think a US General is unlikely to have anything but the country’s’ best interests at heart. Of course one has to consider that the GOP and president chump were okay with General Flynn. I’m not saying Kelly is in the same category as Flynn. But the chump has record of choosing the worst possible person for any job.

And too, people want a real president in the executive branch. Not a puppet whose strings are pulled by his chief of staff. If chump can’t be a real president, which we all know he can’t, he should be removed. That the GOP doesn’t do that, basically means they’re okay with destroying the Constitution and the fabric of our democracy.

The only question now is, how loyal, John Kelly, our de facto second Irish Catholic president, will be to America and her Constitution.

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Real general, shadow president

 

 

 

This entry was posted on August 8, 2017.