It began with Chaffetz. My itch to blog grew as our most embarrassing congressman politicized tragedy and used verifiably false data, unabashed partisanship, and a powerful chairmanship for self-promotion. His lack of self-awareness and introspection and aggressive self-aggrandizing serve him well in the current regime. A brief moment of hope surprised us all, I suspect, when he expressed outrage, albeit feigned for political theater we would learn, over his candidate's unvarnished hubris about what he does—and is entitled to do—to women because he is . . . well . . . him.
The news clip we deserved to see? "After father's moral abandonment, court grants 15-year-old's emancipation petition and terminates parental rights. Reached for comment, Chaffetz renounced his daughter: 'If malignant narcissism, xenophobia, misogyny, alternative facts, racial and religious discrimination, fear-mongering, nuclear proliferation, conflicts of interest, breaching alliances, undermining US credibility throughout the world, and governance by impulse, and a very very important father, are not good enough for her, she deserves to be on her own. Good riddance. Hillary Clinton's emails could have been hacked, for heck's sake. And did I mention how important her father is?'"
Trump, of course, bore on my motivation. After listening to a twelve-year-old bully, or its equivalent, for 18 months I thought I had hopelessly concluded we deserve whatever this thing is we elected. Immediately after 12:00 noon on January 20, 2017, the big-league carnage ensued, only to escalate through the first week.
We all want to feel better and if we can't to feel less. I could not see my way to feeling better. It was time to check out, turn off the news, cancel my Times subscription. Then, I listened--twice--to Mr. Obama's final speech as President. The itch returned. I put on and laced-up my shoes.
My father's struggle is metaphor for my own. Although of few words, my dad was a most expressive person. As a visual artist, a painter primarily and sometimes-sculptor, he gave the world glimpses into his mind through two- and three-dimensional images which, as with words, are subject to differing interpretations based largely on the observers' filters. Often subtle, sometimes emphatic, seldom sarcastic and satirical, occasionally portentous, frequently defiant, abstractly descriptive, hauntingly realistic, his work divulged an inner turmoil in sharp contrast to his deportment. I leave for a later post discussion of his curiosity, exploration, and stuckness.
What seems relevant to me, however, is his life-long archetypal struggle for meaning, for purpose, for relevance. Does art matter? Does his art matter? Does his expression make a difference? Why does he create? For whom? In the end, he found peace--he felt better--in self-expression as an end in itself, both process and product. He passed on Christmas day 2013, leaving as legacy proliferate reminders, many still buried I suspect, of an extraordinarily rich and conflicted mind.
Whether what I say has meaning, purpose or relevance, whether it matters or makes a difference, whether anyone else cares, the process matters to me. The product will pale by comparison to the importance, complexity and beauty of my father's work. But that's okay. Many of his important pieces hang on the walls of my home and office. I plan to publish some of his works here.
As I considered the regime's manipulation and suppression of information, its stated goals of preventing transparency and expression, its curtailment of thought and ideas, "Last Amendment" came to me as a URL for a blog. I'll try feeling better, and not less, at least for now. It's time to launch.
My plan is to post at least weekly, whether my own thoughts or those of contributors. If you are there, please stay tuned.