Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Call to Arms, 2017. Part One: Hang Up the Fear

Since our recent trip to Salt Lake City, my four and a half year old son has been fascinated with airplanes. We have been building Lego airplanes. We have looked at pictures of airplanes. We have read books about airplanes. His enthusiasm, of course, is contagious. When the subject of the 747 came up in our conversation, I told him that the 747 is really the greatest plane ever to fly. When the inevitable question of why arose, I explained that a 747 can carry the Space Shuttle piggyback. “What Space Shuttle, papa?” Of course, I thought, the Space Shuttle program ended before he born. Space exploration just isn't what it used be when I was his age in the 1970s.

So, we did what you do these days, we looked up the Space Shuttle on Youtube. We watched it launch. We watched it ride on the back of the NASA 747. He watched with wild eyed interest. My face began to sting and my eyes began to water. The Space Shuttle was cool. Putting people inside of space crafts and shooting them out of the atmosphere in the name of science is cool. And it made me patriotic again for the first time in well over sixteen years. Watching those old recordings of American ingenuity just made me so proud and heartbroken.

This month we have a new president. For the safety of all of us, my views on it don't really matter. But one thing sticks out in my mind. I thought Trump's tagline “Make America Great Again” was stupid during the election. I mean come on, when was it so great, I thought. When? And of course it's the connotation that America is not great now and therefore must be restored. Perhaps.

One man, or in this case one office, cannot make America great again. And if those who voted for this man for this office think one man can make America great again, we really have lost. We all have. This faith in one office, one man or even the government as a whole baffles me. When did the health of America, or the consciousness her people become metered by the health of our government? It's a strange thought, no?

I feel like there's fear lurking everywhere. I feel like the fear (whatever it might be) is clouding the judgment of just about everyone. Marches here, boycotts there, symbolic yes and probably important. Speaking out like this is good even if it's a hollow act of civil disobedience. I doubt things will change. I also doubt America will be great again because of this.

A better thought or tagline might be MAKE AMERICANS GREAT AGAIN. We can start on federal level, but why? Start at home. Clean up our communities. Clean up our neighborhoods. Start meeting our neighbors instead of fearing them because of a different skin color or ethnicity. I'm not preaching multiculturalism, I'm suggesting good old fashion attitudes of get to know your neighbors. Treat people kindly which somehow has become a subversive act. Payoff all our debts, also subversive. Stop buying things. Go home and read a book. Or better yet, go home and write book. Go home and make art.

In this thought, I hope everyone just makes art. I think the best way to overcome fear is to hang it up. If all 300 + million Americans started DIY punk bands, independent presses and underground art galleries, it might make America great again. All you women out there who were Riot Grrls in 1990s, please know how much I miss you... if anyone could make America great again Riot Grrls can.

We cannot pull the Space Shuttle out of the museum. But we can pull out our ingenuity out of retirement. We can do it. Meet a neighbor today. Go make some art.

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  1. This was a fun read, but what is art? I don't say that out of disregard to your point, just the fact that i have no idea myself.

  2. Well said Anthony. Think I'll go make some art and keep being kind to others. The change starts with us.