Pixetera

Photography and art making as play.

Category: politics

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

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During the first presidential debate Tuesday night, America got an unvarnished look at our Toddler-in-Chief.

Those who still believe that this man-child deserves or is fit to be president of the United States have set the bar for office so low that a houseplant could easily qualify.

In Donald Trump and the Republican party, we face a threat as great as the pandemic, climate change, or an armed attack, i.e., the loss of our highest values and destruction from within of democracy itself.

Such small-minded, grievance-filled, power-hungry, shameless zealots think nothing of driving this nation over the edge.

Friday, August 28, 2020: RNC Wrap-Up

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I came across this lifeless bird in the street a week ago. It had obviously been there for several days, flattened by the traffic driving over it. Feeling quite sad for it, I moved it to the base of a tree on the sidewalk. In the days afterwards, as I followed reports from the Republican National Convention, I kept thinking about it again. This precious creature, long drained of its life force and almost indistinguishable from the pavement around it, became in my mind a metaphor for all that is now going wrong in this country.

To date, more than 181,000 (and counting) United States citizens have lost their lives due to a deadly pandemic and total failure of presidential leadership. The economy is in tatters, and millions of Americans, having lost their jobs, face hunger and eviction. Rioting, looting, and burning have undermined the case against systemic racism and unjustified police killings. Wild conspiracy theories on the fringes of society have now entered the mainstream, amplified by social media, local talk-show radio, and rightwing cable networks. White supremacists, Second Amendment gun nuts, and anti-government militias parade around while brandishing assault weapons.

In the White House sits a polarizing, corrupt, incompetent, and indolent fraud of a president intent on destroying whatever democratic institutions and laws stand in the way of his re-election. In that effort he is enabled by a major political party that long ago lost any claim to principle or integrity. Its convention should be more properly understood as a four-day festival of shameless, self-serving lies and baseless attacks against the opposition, and an insult to the intelligence of an open-minded public.

These falsehoods, repeated ad nauseam despite being thoroughly debunked on each occasion, function no differently than a deadly virus that insidiously destroys its host from within.

And that is what brings me back to the decidedly unpleasant image above. What life is left in a democracy when there is no agreement on what is truthful and factual and what is not, when a large minority lives in an alternate reality marked by Orwellian doublethink that is impervious to reason and incontrovertible evidence? What hope is there for a democratic polis whose health and viability depend on an informed, well-educated citizenry?

We don’t need a crystal ball or any pundit to tell us where this story ends if things continue as they have for the last three years. This once-thriving bird shows us what the future holds.

Thursday, August 27, 2020: Build the Wall (RNC, Day 4)

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Wednesday, August 26, 2020: Build the Wall (RNC, Day 3)

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020: Build the Wall (RNC, Day 2)

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Monday, August 24, 2020: Build the Wall (RNC, Day 1)

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Tuesday, July 14, 2020: Bastille Day

July 14 is Bastille Day in France, a holiday that celebrates a major turning point in the French Revolution. It seems an apt occasion on which to interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to speak of something infinitely more serious than photographic images.

Based on our history and comparatively high standard of living, I think it’s very difficult for most Americans, including myself, to fully comprehend the reality of having a madman in the Oval Office, one whose willful negligence and arrogant stupidity are sending millions of citizens to their sickbeds, and more than a hundred-thousand to painful deaths.

To vote this monster out of office in November is to give Trump the benefit of democratic and civilized norms that he’s been regularly trashing for the last 3 years. I’m not sure what the answer is but an election might be too late. This nation needs to do something commensurate with the scale of his malfeasance. Two hundred plus years ago, the French had a remedy that begins with “g” but that’s no longer an option.

One place to start would be for companies to stop advertising on FAUX News, the state propaganda outlet for spreading Trump’s lies. Twitter and Facebook should delete his accounts. Network news anchors and reporters should just get up and leave whenever a government spokesperson or GOP toady starts spouting crap. Mike Pence’s smarminess needs to bleeped.

Enough with the private asides that acknowledge how monumentally unfit Trump is for the presidency, especially during this period of unfathomable loss. It’s long past time to say these truths out loud. I’m looking at you, Republican congressman or senator, as well as former administration officials who still have an intact conscience.

We also need to hear from the bigwigs at major corporations, those who bring in the big bucks for exercising “leadership,” “vision,” and “competency”— one of the few constituencies perhaps that Trump cannot ignore. In this ever-darkening era, their concern for the bottom line, like the band on the Titanic, means little compared to the necessity of speaking out forcefully against behaviors that wouldn’t be tolerated for a nano-second in their companies. If executives like Goya’s CEO can’t tell the difference between a leader who unites a country and marshals all of its resources to fight the gravest of threats, and a “builder” who routinely stiffed contractors, defrauded banks and students, drove 5 or more businesses into bankruptcy, and carried that failing, corrupt legacy right into the presidency, they should go back to their planet of origin. Robert Unanue, you make the residents of Plato’s cave look like enlightened beings.

Americans cannot afford to be passive participants in this nightmare. Every sector of society must rise up and let those in power know we will no longer accept the disconnect from reality, ignorance, dishonesty, and unchecked narcissism that are Trump’s defining traits. The stakes are too high. The times demand that we take this country back, away from the precipice that gets closer and closer with each passing day.

As parents, we don’t allow two-year-olds to hold us hostage with their destructive tantrums. Why are we allowing this man-child to wreak havoc on on our families, friends, neighbors, and institutions?

Trump is a lights-flashing, alarm-sounding menace—as dangerous to the country as any lethal pandemic or foreign enemy. The sooner he is out of office, the more hope there’ll be for America and the world.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020: On Winter Street

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

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Saturday, January 18, 2020: Pioneer Valley Women’s March

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Pixetera

Photography and art making as play.