Monday, September 13, 2010
One Nation: from Discord, Action
Can you create from discord, action?
I suspect that folks in the arts and literary community generally dislike the simplifications of politics, that discourse that reduces humanity—complex in its physical struggles and spiritual yearning—to geopolitical and theological categories. And I know from direct experience that many artists, like their fellow Americans, see their personal battles against the Great Recession going nowhere. So I would not be surprised if they turn in disgust from the degraded discourse of Tea Party racism and despair at the paralysis in economic policy. Well, judging from an extraordinary “maquette” for One Nation Working Together designed by Michael Murphy, that’s about to change.
At first glance it is a map of the United States with the word “One” plastered in the center, apparently a two-dimensional collage made from discordant scraps. However, click on the three dimensional view and the work rotates so that, as the artist describes it, “moments of discovery occur,” and we see the multifarious faces, tools, fauna, diversions, and emblems of America. As it resumes the shape of our country, there is a realization of the material basis of our national unity, sort of like the feeling of America we get from poet Walt Whitman’s praise of the commonplace.
Discovery or realization is not the end point of this sculpture, however; action is.
On October 2, 2010, hundreds of thousands of Americans will gather under the banner of One Nation Working Together at the Lincoln Memorial, overcoming their “superficial differences” as the organizers declare, to demand jobs, education, equality, and peace—in a phrase, to demand “the change we voted for.”
Initiated by the NAACP and SEIU, One Nation Working Together is now partnered with hundreds of labor, civil rights, peace, social justice, gender rights, and other organizations from across our nation. Participants are welcome to display their own placards and slogans.
Many are marching with “The Peace Table,” among them Delaware Pacem in Terris, which will provide a coach bus (at $25 per seat) leaving from Rodney Square at 8:00 a.m.
Others can ride for free with the Delaware State AFL-CIO, which has reserved 8 busses. To reserve a free seat, simply email the state AFL-CIO at email@example.com, give them your name, email address, and cell phone number (if you have one), and tell them you want to go. Busses will leave from several locations around Delaware.
Artists like Michael Murphy show us the interaction between artistic vision and civic engagement. Take this opportunity to produce your own creations to reflect on this historic event and move people to action. Post them on your blogs, Facebook, and web pages, email them to friends, recite them at readings or act them out on streetcorners. Or Post them at Broken Turtle in Comments.
And then BE THERE 10-2-10!