I find myself trying to avoid the news, the rants on facebook, the pictures of violence and jeering and mayhem these days and I am only partially successful. There is a lot of turbulence in the world and as an artist I feel like it is my responsibility to witness it on some level. It is also my responsibility to not get caught up in the entertainment of it all. That is, the need to hang onto every word spoken, to view the multitudes of stories about political gaffes and confidential memos and he said this and she did (or didn’t do) that. I especially get tired of the way the press has become soothsayers, trying mightily to predict what’s going to happen. It is all very confusing and I long for the days when every piece of news was reported after some time had passed, giving the reporters a moment to get the story straight, to put on their game faces and to not look like they were reporting a football game or a Miss Universe pageant that broke out into a catfight.
During this election period it seems that the most difficult thing, for me, is to keep calm, centered and removed from the electoral process. I spend a lot of time each day wondering how I can rise above it all. I don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking that my candidate is the only answer, that the other person’s candidate is pond scum (or worse) or that whoever likes the other candidate is just plain naive, gullible or ignorant. It is easy to believe this because it implies that I am, of course, too intelligent to fall prey to wild rantings and swift political moves.
Unfortunately, I am not that intelligent. I have my fears, beliefs and hopes just like anyone else, regardless of intelligence. I am swayed by what I hear and I tend to hear what reinforces my beliefs. I laugh at jokes that ridicule the other candidate. I revel in the moments when the other candidate stumbles.
What I also have is the ability to see that this really isn’t a football game. There is no winner and loser when it’s done. We don’t get to leave the stadium and go home after the votes are counted. The person who gets the most votes has a hell of a job ahead of them. Running a country is harder than most people think and there are so many unknowns that could happen at any moment that it is difficult to pick just one person that we think might be able to handle that job.
Today I was driving in the car thinking about how I felt about my candidate. I wondered what would happen if I took out “my” candidate’s name and gender in those thoughts and made them “candidate neutral”. I am guessing that if I did this, people on both sides of the great divide would be able to fill them in with their candidate’s name and the results would make as much sense to them as they did to me. But I wasn’t sure I could pull this off. So instead I decided to write a political mad-lib. It seems that we need to lighten up a little bit and this might be one way to do it.
(Name) came to the podium amidst chants of his/her name. One woman screamed (adverb) , “We love you”!!! The crowd (verb) ed at high decibels, drowning out the beginning of the speech.
“My friends!” he/she began. “I am here today to (verb)___________ the nomination for the highest (noun) in the country. This is truly a (adjective) time for our nation. I stand here to tell you that when I am elected I promise to (verb) wages and lower (noun) s. By (date) there will be (number) percent more (noun) s and (number) more of you will be able to (verb) . This country will be (adjective) again and you will love me or my name is not (name of cartoon character) .
The crowd was (adjective) and one lady even (verb) ed. The candidate, knowing a good time to exit, said one last (exclamation) , (verb) ed and walked off the stage.
I probably could have gone on for a while but this was difficult to write with all the underlines and parentheses. I invite you to have fun with your own political mad libs…I’m guessing they won’t really sound much different than the real thing…
The next post will be about the studio and the work I’m doing…I promise…I leave you with this latest picture of the second seed pod.