At least until after the election, folks. The political atmosphere has been in the red for months, and as election time gets closer, it’s likely to spill over into an eruption of anger and lashing out. Well, that’s if the last election is anything to go by. And there are still people I’ve had no contact with since the aftermath of the last election. Now we are faced with a repeat on steroids.
As an expat I won’t be voting. The only reason to do so — given the chances of my overseas mail-in ballot ever being counted — is to merely be able to say that I did it. The psychological damage and immense waste of time bundled with getting into the fray would do more damage to me than any good I could hope to deliver.
Even talking about politics, and especially writing about it, means a level of engaging with the insanity that is, to use a vastly overused word, toxic. One would do better to go on a long vacation in a far off country. As it happens, while I’m not exactly on vacation, I am in a far off country, it’s perpetually warm, and I have access to a pool.
I have plenty to say about politics, and I’ve been following all of the developments. But at this point, I’m comfortable saying that I see the big picture clearly enough and don’t need to research it any more for my personal edification. When it comes to the compulsion to make a difference for moral reasons, and be a part of the army for the good, I don’t find that those who say they are on the right side of history necessarily are.
The war doesn’t need me. It will go on with or without me, and I’m just a piece of ammunition either way: a pawn in someone else’s game of chess, and a tool for their usually ulterior motives. I’m being the equivalent of a conscientious objector in the culture war. I’m going AWOL, folks.
The demand is that I join this or that army, subscribe to this or that belief system, become a card-carrying member of this or that confirmation bias echo-chamber. I have my own voice, and prefer to operate by my own collection of knowledge and beliefs, rather than join a group.
Part of why I have to declare that I won’t speak on the topic is to quell the temptation, which can be very strong. I managed this for well over a month after the George Floyd incident, when it just wasn’t safe to say anything, and so now I will make that pledge again.
Whatever non-linguistic things I say in my art, I hope, are going to be more valuable in the long run than my verbal opinions on this or that red-hot topic. It’s not that I’m not up for a fight — I can be scrappy — it’s that I’m a bit too old and wise for that. And we need some people to go Castaway on the whole scene.
Right now, as my regular audience knows, I’ve been learning Blender in earnest. I put myself on a schedule of doing 5 hours of practice a day (3 or 4 would be fine if I fall short) and have kept it up for the last few weeks. I see great potential in 3d modeling and scene-building for fine art, which it is not customarily used for. I can’t keep up this pace, and do politics, and do some original work. One of those things is going to have to go, and I’ll sacrifice the one that is going to make me miserable and undermine my progress.
If I know I’m not going to write about politics, I’m less likely to think about them, and certainly won’t be researching getting all my facts straight, and finding the best quotes. And perhaps refusing to engage is a political act itself, and a healthy one.
Now back to art