Friday, January 20, 2017

How Artists and Persistent Creative Expression Can Light The Way Forward

Personally, as an artist and an activist, in between bouts of despair and anger, I spent inauguration day  2017 reflecting on what I can do in my own way to tangibly engage in creating a brighter future. I've never felt a greater sense of urgency, or a greater need for hope, empowerment. And we can create both of those things, and pass them along like gifts, using whatever time we have available. Please give me feedback on this post, just a note to say what you are already doing for change, and if you are in NYC, if you'd like to chat, collaborate, work together for creative actions.

 Rallies, marches, giving money to nonprofits are great, but they are a drop in the bucket of what is needed. All artists and creative professionals can impact society for the better. Films, TV, music and theater have already proven that for generations. From poster art to viral videos, theater, dance, music, we all have ways to reach out, and prove to young voters that engagement is the key to a thriving democracy. To me, it feels like we are on life-support. We are all held hostage to the destructive politics of greed and vengeance. For now.

I am ready to work w my creative pals, NOW. REACH OUT! Lets talk! Meet for coffee! Having ideas won't be enough. Tangible results are needed, immediately. Who else is ready now to take part in a long campaign of professional slick, super creative, positive, engaging (even funny) viral videos, music, written essays, performance messaging to get Americans involved in the democratic process? Feeling helpless and resigned has lowered our voting turnout and political engagement over and over again. This goes for local as well as national politics. And here we are, facing a crisis that the entire civilized world is watching in horror. We can do something about that! And it can be fun. New friendships will be formed. Will we rise to the task, or just let humanity descend into the abyss w greed, fear, hate, and jealousy? Put aside your support of Hillary, Bernie, Stein or anyone else. The 2016 election is long, long gone, and we are living with the results of division. A new, dark reality.

Writers, actors, comics, singers, all musicians, film makers, videographers, playwrights, choreographers, publicists all can make powerful contributions to opening minds and stirring hearts that might otherwise remain passive. Marches and protests are a tiny fraction of what needs to be done. And activists expect a crackdown on public demonstrations w the new administration. Getting in line to vote once every few years is the smallest of our obligations to preserve our democracy and shape our government so it serves all. Recent generations have forgotten that. Everyone can contribute. Even simple things like calling politicians, visiting local offices have been brushed aside by the majority of citizens.

It seems inconceivable that we have to rise up to safeguard things as BASIC as science and facts in 2017. The coarsening of culture, the suppression, even elimination of ideas dishonors every American value every soldier went to war to protect for all of us. Fire is racing toward the national powder-keg of ignorance and intolerance. Millions have died to preserve freedom, inclusion and truth. Activism is extremely empowering, and if ever Americans needed empowerment, it is now. Every race, religion and demographic has a stake in what is happening.
Every hostile, ignorant, greedy, destructive, non-inclusive statement made by the new administration must be called out, overwhelmingly challenged and crushed. The world is watching, and the world is terrified. The wind is behind our backs in 2017. We can't allow ourselves to sit back in despair while the foundations of decency, fairness, civility and discourse are demolished. The harm done could be irreparable.

Now, like never before, creative people have a responsibility to use their creativity in a positive, but serious light. Artists alive in 2017 have a moral obligation to create visions of a hopeful future that will be inspiring, and not depressing, to our youth. We can do it. Yes we can.

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