Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Con Artist vs Artist

I give up. In a previous blog I said he is an aggregate of ignorance, arrogance, mendacity and malice. My store of invective against the Nameless One is exhausted. I have the feeling he enjoys being vilified as long as his name appears…. which I no longer can bring myself to utter. We’ve been sucker-punched. What is red meat for his cohorts has also been our empty feast. The maggots and the birds together get their bellyful. The menu for Fox (faux) news to be revered is the same for MSNBC to be ridiculed.

It keeps us busy for the news cycle and distracts us from creating our own agenda. We need to make news, grab the narrative. Make the case for taxes as providing services, for Entitlements as compensation earned, that education is a Right without becoming a debtor for decades. For diversity. For healthcare, clean air and water as Rights which can be afforded by the wealthiest country in the history of the world.

If the Nameless One is an artist it is a con artist, creating a model for Mussolini-like Fascism. He is the master sculptor having turned the soft clay of amorphous fear and grievance into a hard edged hatred impervious to reason. He promises order out of the chaos of his own creation, repairing what he just broke. He resets the clock, makes sure the trains run on time…and the train of thought as well, absent of dissent.

Fifty years ago I had dear friends who saw their lives also in turmoil and the country mean and soulless. They joined in a counter-culture community with a powerful leader. I attended one of their meetings in San Francisco. The group of a few hundred were clearly under his spell in what I regarded as hocus-pocus paranoia. There was a jazz band. The members had been persuaded that society threatened their fellowship. Gradually they gave up their autonomy. Their dying began when doubt was forbidden. The judgement of the man at the helm was not to be questioned. His name was Jim Jones. My friends, Claire and Richard survived but lost their two teenage children.

The one whose name I cannot utter has also reached cult status. He can insult, act impetuously, fabricate, have tantrums and surround himself with incompetent and admitted criminals … all with impunity. His rallies generate chants. On cue his base drinks Kool-Aid staunchly supporting policies detrimental to their own livelihood.

To call him an artist does a disservice to all artists. True art doesn’t promise Order. In fact its vitality is in its association with the disreputable, disruptive and reckless. It more closely resembles the demography of this country in all its shades of skin and beliefs. It is inclusive and welcoming of the new. It challenges convention which Republican reactionaries uphold as a fixed ideal. Art resists margins. There is a democracy inherent in paint and words ever pushing toward a new way of seeing, rearranging the senses and interrogating the unknown.