There are a couple of associates I work with at that large orange hardware store that I think perfectly encapsulates the sense of white rage that lead up to the Capitol insurrection a few weeks back. In truth because of the conservatism in this little corner of Pennsylvania, most of the white folks I know and work with here are Trumpers and believers in Q. Jim and Bryan, the associates of whom I speak, are unique because of the depth of they’re conviction to these ridiculous far-right conspiracy theories. But where Bryan, a genial older man in his 70’s, was lead down the rabbit-hole likely due to a diet of Fox News every night; Jim indulges in these conspiracies because he’s an anarchist by nature. A product I believe of being a gay man and always feeling like an outsider, and always having to fight. Who knows ultimately with these two. It’s all speculation on my part, but in my mind they represent a type of mass insanity that has gripped the country and makes me feel like we are on the tip of a knifes edge. In the run up to the election and for weeks after I would listen to these two spout off and it would drive me crazy. To keep my sanity because otherwise I like these two people I just had to hold my tongue. For my part I just don’t see how the world view of these adherents is possible. One where a white, soon-to-be-minority have more rights and everyone else have little to none. How is this white increasingly-shrinking majority going to compel everyone to do and think what they want. This of course presupposes that there is unanimity in thought with all whites to oppress all minorities, which there of course is not. It’s just not a well thought out world view to me, but because so many people seem to support this supremist thinking in this country represented in Trumpism, I worry.
Now that we are a few days into a Biden administration there’s a hope out there that healing can occur and some of these divisions be mended. However, I think the it’s too late for many on the far right. They’ll never be convinced Trump lost the election. I think this really is a problem of visibility. Where I live before the election there was a sea of Trump signs everywhere and anyone who supported Biden seemed to be pretty well muzzled – I think partially out of fear because the Trumpers were so rabid. I remember seeing them driving caravans down highways waving flags and nearly causing accidents, not an environment a Biden supporter might want to speak up in. So I can imagine how enraging it must be to these people that these black and brown cities delivered Biden his victory through their superior numbers and organization. Demographics are not on the side of the right and of Republicans in general and they know it and have known it for generations.
I worry most about what happens when this white rage at how these black and brown populations voted filters back into society through aggressive policing since many of these communities are patrolled by people who don’t live in these communities. It makes me look at the race art I’m making right now in another light because while I think of these several series I created as memorials to the fallen, they’re more like looking glasses into the future. “It is what it is.” I still hate that phrase. But as I look to my black elders and their deep recognition of the imbedded racial inertia in this country, I can’t help but regard the coming Biden years with trepidation because the Jim’s and the Bryan’s of the world are multiplying and spreading their illiberal ideas into minority communities as well.
As I’m writing this post I’m relaxing to some Lester Young and “These Foolish Things”. I love a little jazz to clear my mind when things feel overwhelming. Last week I found myself unexpectedly in Key West and before I went and relaxed my troubles away I listed to Phoebe Snow “Second Childhood” over and over again. I really like the song “Pre-Dawn Imagination”, so sad with all those melancholy longings that artists love so much. Here are two YouTube videos of those songs
The last few weeks have been a shaky start to the new year. I still feel like I haven’t quite got into a groove into my new reality since my move in December and since the election. Art hasn’t happened as quickly, my Instagram page hasn’t been updated since mid December, everything feels slightly out of wack. And yet I slowly am getting into some new rhythms. I can’t say its comfortable. Maybe that’s a good thing. Things feel strange. Patterns feel unnatural. I find myself more irritable and less at ease. Hopefully it keeps me sharp and allows for new discoveries. In any case, I’ll keep trucking on with my commissions and this cedar shingle race work. I’m sure in the next few weeks I will have something to show. Until then do be well and stay safe.