Thursday, January 27, 2005

I'm more and more wary of the new rhetoric --

hearing words differently, with suspicion and fear. This morning I read my email copy of AlterNet and was struck by the new jargon that places emphasis on "The Ownership Society." For all intents and purposes it brought forth the image of slavery. Not sure the capital wordsmiths thought of that, or, if the words strike fear in anyone else as they do in me ... .

Maybe the slippage in Ohio that disenfranchised so many darkskinned voters has reawakened those feelings. The fact that the voters rights legislation is up for renewal and that I'm actually fearful that what is now accomplished by diversion and chicanery will be formally achieved by law. It's possible to simply allow the law to lapse, I believe, or to get caught up in committee never to see the light of day. Feels like treading water in 30 foot depth of the ocean of life, without an oxygen tank ... and this time political expediency has allowed black conservatives to be co-opted into a corrupt system headed by those who can only maintain power to controlling the large blocs of black voters -- all for a price or political gain.

It seems unlikely that liberals will be able to sustain enough clout to undo the damage being done to the body politic over the next two years -- before another election can alter the balance of power between parties. It will take a lot of crossing over the aisle by conservatives of conscience to get us there. Olympia Dukakis and the other moderate Republicans will have to join forces with like-minded Democrats if we're to work our way back to some reasonable semblance of constitutional order. The only thing sustaining me is the feeling that this is already happening in the back halls of Congress, and that the pendulum is already beginning its swing toward equity in governance and a balance of power. Otherwise ... .

New Yorker columnist, Seymour Hersch, has been giving stinging interviews over the tube -- and the fact that his charges in re an invasion of Iran are not being denied by the administration. If there is any hope to be gained from these disturbing developments it is that he is being fed critical information by fearful and powerful staffers in high places -- or he wouldn't be able to release such information with impunity.

Fear for their lives has practically eliminated any direct news reports from Iraq so we're now totally dependent upon independent freelancers, Al Jazeera and other Mideast media, and Seymour Hersch. Our kids are out there on their own -- killing and being killed with few on site to observe the conditions under which these lives are being lost. My granddaughter will soon be among them. Jessica has enlisted -- fresh out of highschool with no prospects for employment and no way to move out to live on her own without marrying someone she's not yet met.

...a day of confusion and fear.

...tonight I'll view the innocent artwork of my daughter and her disabled classmates.

...have I told you that her latest piece is a wood sculpture (her first) that is called "Tsunami"? It must have risen from the images she's been exposed to on television. Since she's totally illiterate, it will be interesting to see what she's envisioned and how she translates that vision into an art piece. Only learned about it last night upon overhearing a phone conversation she had with a friend. I was only aware of her 3 paintings hung in the gallery for this show. They are sketches of her cats. She's spoken of her new teacher who's introduced her to sculpture as an art form, but there was no hint that the work was completed and had been named.

Naming the pieces is an important part of the work. I've sometimes sat quietly nearby -- having arrived early to pick her up. The group of artists sit in a circle. The instructor holds up a work in progress while the group reacts to it verbally. The artist is first asked to describe it, and in some cases it's quite clear that there was an intentional image in mind. As often as not, however, an artist will have simply expressed something in color and line without a theme in mind. The group will discuss what it reminds them of, and the artist reacts to what others see. Fascinating process.

Dorian is quite definite about what she's creating. The titles are in most cases intentional, and her sense of whether she's succeeded to produce what her inner eye sees is judged by whether or not others see the image she's trying to project. She has a firm expectation of her ability and is good naturedly critical of her work. Rarely is it totally ill-defined or pointless, waiting for identity from outside herself. I can see her delight when her image is confirmed by the others. I'm anxious to see how on earth she's been able to take on such a devastating event as the tsunami. Watch this space for a report.

Sunday it was the S.F. Museum of Modern Art and the recognized icons of the art world -- tonight it will be the National Institute for Artists with Disabilities (NIAD). It might interest you to know that the differences are minor. There are pieces in both places that one can be certain the artists were lucky to have had a way to express constructively! There are also pieces that express unbridled creativity -- sans rules or roadmaps and daringly capable of exploring the outer edges of who they are. I've been able to hold in my hand a ceramic object created by a young woman who has been blind from birth. To hold it is spellbinding and gives new meaning to the word "wonder". To listen while others in the group react to her projects, giving them titles and meaning within the context of their own limited understanding, and watching her face as she listens to their humbling.

Tonight I'll share this with experience my friend.

Dorian will be our guide.

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