20 March, 2017

Letters from Trumplandia 5: The doghead comes to town (with apologies to all dogs, great and small)

A man can be in two different places and he will be two different men. Maybe if you think of more places he will be more men, but two is enough for now. ― Elmore Leonard, Valdez Is Coming

You don't fight fascism because you're going to win. You fight fascism because it is fascist. - Jean-Paul Sartre 


River City is all a twitter because the WWE is coming to town. Trump is going to be at Freedom Hall this evening, giving his supporters, followers, worshipers, and the underbelly of bigots, racists, white power inbreeds, and generally all around delusional people a chance to catch a glimpse of the Mighty Orange Man himself.

There will also be protesters, I'm sure. Trump attracts a lot of attention, and he has done a lot to stir the pot in the last week. In releasing his budget proposal, he has done pretty much what he said he would do. He's proposing to eliminate funding for PBS, NPR, the NEA, Amtrak, and Meals on Wheels. The first three he talked about copiously on the campaign trail. That anyone is surprised now is only proof that
  1. they didn't REALLY pay attention, and
  2. they lulled themselves into complacency because that's what most liberals do.
And of course, the calls to call our congress people -- most of whom are Republicans who have had a grudge against PBS, NPR, the NEA, and Amtrak for years --  have been put forth like mighty beacons. Now, they say, is the time to act. Now, we can save democracy. Now we can protect the arts and the cultural soul of America.

Please.

If those hatchet men and warmongers want to put cultural institutions under the ax, they will. They have been for years.  The only difference is, now we have a president who, for all of the oozing evil he's unleashed, is an honest representation of who we are as country. There's no more delusion. As Plato pointed out in the mouth of his state-murdered teacher, Socrates, democracy most often falls back into dictatorship. In our case, we've got a festering form of fascism that's been part of the American psyche since the Puritans came here believing God gave them this land -- in spite of the fact that there were well established cultures living here already.  This same fascism bubbled to the surface in the mid 1800's (See also: The Know-Nothings). It's bubbled up other times, too.

We've allowed the oligarchs to hold power by turning a blind eye to the exploitation that has made them wealthy and let them control the language and the narrative by which we could condemn them. Those in the best position to truly articulate what is wrong with all this -- artists -- have always been the cross hairs. This too, is nothing new. The moneyed elite always seek to control the arts, whether it's by making it commodity, or by controlling purse strings.

If you're angry about these things, please consider the words of poet Robinson Jeffers , written in 1941:

Be angry at the sun for setting
If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope and turn,
They are all bound on the wheel, these people, those warriors.
This republic, Europe, Asia.


Our hope -- the only hope really -- is knowing and having faith in the fact that art lasts longer than culture as long as we keep making art and keep passing it on. Art will outlast the dictators as long we pass on the knowledge to make art. Art will outlast because art always does... because someday, art eventually becomes the true historical record of a culture... not manufactured propaganda.

Just remember: your art is more than just a hobby. It is more than a weapon against fascism (which it absolutely is). Your art is part of the long memory. It is bigger than all of us, bigger than the institutions that were supposed to safe guard, and bigger than the engorged ego of one orange fascist and his fans. 

Get to it.



If you like what you're reading here, I have work for sale on my amazon author page:
www.amazon.com/author/mickparsons
Post a Comment