Claps and Cheers: To You, you artist, you.

by Ramona Pilar

In the first few dizzying days following the most recent presidential election and circus-level campaign season, I observed an array of reactions and emotions. I was not a Trump supporter and do not know of any close family members who were. I did not see pro-Trump propaganda in my newsfeed unless it was part of a satirical or critical news piece.

I was stunned at his winning the election, but not shocked. It is stunning that the country that I was born into would rather have a fratboy running the government and managing their future, but not surprising. Stunning in the way you can see a car crash happening in slow motion right before your car hits another, and you break, and airbags deploy, and you’re sitting with your mouth full of powder trying to determine if it’s one of those anxiety dreams or if the car accident you’ve been lucky enough to avoid for most of your adult life has finally happened.

I was stunned to see the profound misogyny, racism, classism, and xenophobia of this country become prevalent enough for those long unaffected by it to finally see it, to begin discussing it.

As diverse individuals in this country we can see what is happening from a multitude of points of view, and, now that it’s more out in the open than it’s ever been, there is an opportunity to finally begin to deal with it as country of communities.

Maria Popova recently posted on Brain Pickings (which she founded) Toni Morrison’s piece No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear: Toni Morrison on the Artist’s Task in Troubled Times from The Nation, written after Christmas in 2004, following the reelection of George W. Bush. She writes of feeling paralyzed with the weight of helplessness, unable to work from worry. An artist friend tells her, “…This is precisely the time when artists go to work—not when everything is fine, but in times of dread. That’s our job!”

Claps & Cheers to everyone who has been driven and pulled to do this job and to those who follow through, no matter the scale of the output. To artists who are called to respond directly to injustice who do the work on the daily and have, may your resolve hold fast now and keep the burnout at bay. To the artists who are called to create beauty, whimsy, comedy, and satire as resistance, may your vision never stray and may you continue to have more bounce to your ounce. To those who work towards amplifying their voices and the voices of others, may you continue to find venues and larger stages. To those holding it down daily with blurbs, memes, and smiles, remember that your locals and neighborhoods appreciate you.

May 2017 hold for all of us the wherewithal to continue to inspire and be inspired.

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