Anti-gerrymandering art quilt is probably not a phrase that too many people have found occasion to utter, but it’s been on my tongue for the last few months as I worked on this piece.
I’m happy to say that you can currently see it in person if you can get to Mount Pleasant this month, as it’s part of the Pop Up Show currently happening at the Morey Gallery at Art Reach.
In this year of What-In-The-World-Is-Happening-Here 2017, politics feel super messed up and there are so many people in power doing terrible things that hurt all of us, but especially the most vulnerable among us. How those politicians can live with themselves, I can’t imagine, except that I guess human brains are pretty good at justifying things that are in one’s own self-interest and the generally Old White Dudes in power have a lot of practice. It feels so overwhelming – how do we fix what’s wrong when many of our elected officials are actively undoing the good we’ve been able to achieve in the past? It can be hard to know what to do or where to even start, but I’ve been trying to identify smallish things that I can actively take part in that might help. Working to end gerrymandering is one of those things and this art quilt is an expression of my frustration with the current system and an attempt to bring attention to this problem. As part of the gallery show, it is, if anyone is interested, for sale. If it does sell I’ll be donating half the proceeds to Voters Not Politicians, an anti-gerrymandering group in Michigan. And I fully encourage y’all to donate to this good cause regardless! Michigandalfs (and everyone) deserve better.
You can also check out a process video of me working on this piece:
Today’s inauguration was so inspiring to me. I was at work and watched the footage on TV with some of my coworkers and could really feel the excitement and emotion in the room. People kept randomly bursting out with joyful laughter and catching their breath and wiping away tears. Listening to President Obama is so inspiring. Beside the fact that he is truly a great orator, he also expressed so many things that I’d been hoping to hear. He didn’t sugarcoat the state of things, which it seems to me might have been tempting given how fucking exciting today is. He also touched on a number of points that I’d hoped he would. Here are a few highlights:
“On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics….What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them— that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.” Hear, hear!
“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers.” He mentioned the non-believers!
“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” YES!
Just when you think he’s trying to do something good, our lame duck presents some more freedom-limiting bullshit. I know at least one person who has been told by his doctor that he can’t get a vasectomy because that doctor believes every single person should have as many children as possible regardless of whether the kids are wanted or can be supported or not. Really, let’s make more children when the world is already overpopulated and there are thousands of children in need. With all the restrictions on which doctors people can see under their increasingly pitiful health insurance coverage, it really pisses me off that health care professionals are being encouraged to push their personal religious views as part of their professional duties. Do no harm, except when it suits you, I guess?
Probably not, but if Bill Moyers could decide, he would be. Moyers interviewed Pollan on his PBS show and if he didn’t convince Pollan to agree that he wants the Secretary of Agriculture post, he did elicit some very good information about food and farming in America. Check out parts one and two of the interview (video and transcript both available).
While Pollan remains optimistic about the future, it’s easy to get caught up in the negativity of the current situation. As Pollan states, agribusiness owns the U.S. government in terms of agriculture, farming, and food. This extends all the way to something as seemingly tangential as school lunches. How many parents would agree that it’s a good idea to let a business decide what into their children’s lunches?
Since I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I’ve been keeping a vegetable garden and trying to grow my own food during the seasons it’s possible here in Michigan. It’s comforting to know that if something catastrophic happened, we could hopefully get along without the need for store-bought food for at least a short while. Pollan points out, though, that you need to know how to cook to really get along. This is an area in which I seriously need to improve. I can throw a stir-fry together, but that’s a pretty limited range of kitchen skills. Having read Pollan’s In Defense of Food, I can see the many benefits of reducing the amount of food products in my diet, and being able to cook would help me accomplish this goal as well. As silly as it seems, though, learning to cook seems daunting to me. I should probably look into community education to see if there are any how-to courses for vegetarians.
So, apparently you can’t take a picture of your vote if you vote in person in Michigan:
The use of video cameras, still cameras and other recording devices — including cell phone cameras — is banned at Michigan polling places.
I can understand that there should be no way someone could take a photo of someone else’s vote without permission, but it seems sort of like overkill. We’ll be voting absentee, so I suppose we could legally take photos of our votes since we’ll be at home.
We took the dogs for a walk today and it was encouraging to note that there were more political yard signs than for sale signs. There are still plenty of houses on the market (and the asking prices are almost obscene when we think about what the range was when we bought 2+ years ago) but not nearly as many as there were six months ago. I was also encouraged to notice more signs for Obama than for any other candidate.