This Morning in America

"We need to stop looking to politicians to make our world better. Politicians don't make the world a better place. Everything that's ever made the world a better place has come from inventors, engineers, scientists, teachers, artists, builders, philosophers, healers, and people that choose love over hate."
Don Freeman

I have a personal rule here at Lost Coast Post: Don't talk about politics. Today - and today only - I am breaking that rule. 

I am fairly active on Twitter and anyone who scans my tweet history can quickly determine my political leanings. Here at my blog, I have stubbornly kept the focus on art, even when it was painful to do so. This morning, however, I feel it would be irresponsible and disingenious to not discuss how I am feeling right now. 

I wrote my previous post (regarding Inktober) before the election. In an effort to post more frequently, I try to write things ahead of time and schedule them to run throughout the month. So, on the morning after such a momentous event in our nation's history, I am apparently doodling science fiction creatures, either blissfully unaware of what just happened at our voting booths, completely uncaring or worse, celebrating gleefully. There is nothing further from the truth.

Just for today, I am choosing to write here and now about politics. There is the certain risk of losing followers. I don't care. I stand for inclusion, kindness, education, tolerance, compassion, and thoughtfulness; I have no idea how a vote for Trump supports any of those ideals. Think about this: our nation's first black president will be handing the keys to the White House to a man (using the term very loosely) endorsed by the KKK. If you read that, and believe deep down in your soul, that that reality is a measure of progress, please unfollow me. I can't stand the idea that someone with that kind of hate in their hearts would come here and claim to be moved by my work.

This morning, and I'm sure for days, weeks, and months to come, I will be in mourning for what America has done to itself and the world. This *morning* though, I will do art. And I will go to work and teach art to 40 sweet-faced, enthusiastic middle schoolers. We will draw and color and laugh at our efforts and celebrate them too. We will tackle hard things, learn from our mistakes, and try again even if we are afraid because that is how real, lasting, meaningful progress is made. 

As devastated, embarassed, and ashamed as I feel, I am going to stand my ground. I will make art with abandon, no matter my personal obstacles, for as long as I am able. Now, more than ever, beauty must be sown. Anyone who believes in positivity, light, love, hope, and togetherness needs to stand strong, especially for those most threatened and disenfranchised by this election outcome. I stand up for those things through my work. It is a small thing to be sure but it is what I have to offer. I know, that through art and invention and writing, we push back against ignorance and fear. I see that fact in action everyday in the classroom, whether my students are middle school children or adults.

And so, I turn back to my paint, paper, canvas, clay, journals, joy...because that is what heals me. I hope each of us finds our way and that in the end, when this nightmare ends (and it will,) I hope, with every fiber of my being, that we will find ourselves standing together. Go make art people - in whatever form or fashion suits you - and sow that in your world...please, please, please...  


iHanna said…
#I'm with her!

Heal and take care of your self and those kids my friend, it's sad times for women and men and children when this can happen!
Anonymous said…
Thank you for this post - it says everything. We can only battle the hatred by standing up to it with hope and joy and creativity.
Zuza said…
I am with you with all my heart. Unfortunately people in Poland one year ago made the same mistake. We pay for it and will pay even more. And i don't mean only money.
I love the quote. I totally think the same way.
Hugs from Poland.
Unknown said…
Thank you for speaking your mind. It is important to speak the truth. I am also a teacher. I am an outdoor classroom teacher for 2- 4 year olds. As we celebrated the warm colors of the season while experimenting with watercolors and looked with awe upon a newly discovered monarch chrysalis a little child of 4 years old came to me and said, "You know, Donald "Truck" is now president and he's not good. He says bad words." Another teacher was standing next to me and we looked at each other in dismay. I asked the child, "Where did you hear that." She told me she heard it in the news. All I could do, was take her into my arms and tell her, I think the new president is going try very hard not to say any more bad words and be a good president. That is what I am hoping for. Trying to focus on the joy, Francie
Karyl Howard said…
Yes! to everything that you wrote. So many of us have had a difficult day today. My allergies are going crazy this week and I woke up this morning with a pain in my heart, a sore throat and not much of a voice! That was probable a blessing in disguise for the people around me! :-)

We all need to be brave and as kind as we can be to the people around us. Then, we can run to our art projects and take out our anger, sadness and frustrations. Hah! I can't wait to look back a year from now and see that!

Oh Michelle i do not know where to begin...Politics has never done any good to happiness, as you have quoted, it comes from the very bottom of our hearts, among people. In my country we are experiencing a similar situation. This discriminatory politics on a state level is creeping among the society, into families, individuals. But i keep on hoping in a very naive way that one day we will learn to live in peace.Until then let's keep on making art to express what we feel and think :) Best wishes from the other side of the world...
Katrina said…
I know how you feel, we made the same stupid mistake here in the UK to leave Europe and I felt exactly the same as you do now. I thought we were the enlightened tolerant generation but apparently we are not. Sending love and hugs your way and to everyone out there.
gretchen said…
thank you for breaking your "no politics" rule, michelle. my heart is broken, too, but i'm encouraged to know that the people i respect are with me. i'll make art today in the hopes that it will help in some way.
OMah said…
Thanks for speaking your mind, Michele--you have successuflly reflected my feelings as well. I sincerely believe that Americans are good people at heart and that those who voted for the orange gremlin are not all racist bigots--they are simply people who want to see change and who are weary of gridlock. The problem is, they are clueless about the ugly changes that are about to occur. Watch for the "absolute power" enabled party to eventually overreach. We have just witnessed a bloodless revolution. Now it's our responsibility to produce the changes we desire. The ball is in our court.
Michelle, thank you for expressing your thoughts, and doing so eloquently. It makes me happy that there are teachers like you out there. I love the quote you posted - I had posted the same quote on Facebook. Maybe the artists, inventors, scientists, et al, need to be the leaders - leading through our voices, our art.

Love and Light!
Liz Saxen said…
HI Michelle

I woke up the day after feeling the same way. today it is April 2, 2017. I still wake up every morning in disbelief. I was never political I am a democrat but never felt concerned when a republican was POTUS I am concerned now. I have become a political junkie. I went to the Womens March in DC, I can name every cabinet member I know who is who in Washington and I am finding out there are evil people there. it is scary times we live in. But back to your Art. I love it! I think I used to visit your Blog a few years ago. I just rediscovered it today. I am so glad I did!

Thanks, Liz