Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

bowling-green-monumentMost of us most likely find ourselves still reliving that fateful day, thinking about where we were and what we doing when we first came aware of it. You know what I’m talking about.

The Bowling Green Massacre.

So many of us fell on that day, that terrible February 30th. We remember how, in the aftermath as we tried to get our bearings and find a way forward, Frederick Douglass came forward to rally and steady us with his powerful words.  It was good work that he did that day. You hear about it, more and more.

2/30. We cannot forget. We will not forget.  No, we have historians like Kellyanne Conway that will continue to tell that tale.

And so many others, I am sure.


It’s getting harder to sort yourself out when you wake up in the morning and you’re not sure which dimension of reality you are in on that particular day.  So today I’m calling for a movie day and will share two short films.

The first is Color of Reality made by filmmaker Alexa Meade who is known for her perspective-altering technique that combines sets and people that take on a painterly appearance. Movement Artists Jon Boogz and Lil Buck create compelling dance moves that make this film a thoughtful call to action.

The second is an animation set to President Obama‘s telling of how his campaign’s “Fired Up, Ready to Go” slogan came to be. It’s both funny and inspiring.  If you need a reason to get fired up (and many of us do these days, given the events taking place before our eyes)  give this a look and a listen.

Have a good day.  Hope you’re fired up and ready to go. I am.

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9GC Myers- Coming to an Understanding

A couple of years ago, back in April of 2010, I wrote here about one of my paintings being selected by the then Ambassador to Nepal,  Scott DeLisi,  for display in his offices at the American Embassy in Kathmandu.  And earlier this year, I wrote again about that painting being part of a intercultural exhibition and gala featuring the art of a number of Nepalese artists and the eight American artists whose work hung at the embassy.  Being chosen by Ambassador DeLisi was a great honor for me, particularly since  there aren’t a lot of chances for an artist to represent their country in any meaningful way.  I almost felt like an Olympian, even if only in a very small way.

Ambassador DeLisi   however had his assignment altered and left that position earlier this year, which meant that the painting in Kathmandu was returned to the gallery.  My Olympic dream seemed to be at an end.

However, Mr. DeLisi was nominated by President Obama to be Ambassador to the African nation of Uganda and was confirmed by the Congress in May.  Yesterday, I was notified by the Principle Gallery that the Ambassador had requested three of my paintings for display at the Embassy in Kampala.

I feel Olympian once again!  I was especially thrilled that it was going to Uganda after having watched the young Ugandan boys who came to Williamsport, PA  in the past few weeks as the first African team to play in the Little League World Series.  It was a great story as the other teams and the crowds there seemed to truly embrace these kids.  Remarkably, they won a game even though most of the kids had only been playing  baseball  (or even known about baseball, for that matter) for about six months.

But I was mostly thrilled at the prospect of my work once again being representative of our country and honored that  Ambassador DeLisi had once again found something in it that enabled his decision.  I hope these paintings serves him well in Uganda.

The pieces chosen are shown above and below.

GC Myers- Pot Luck

GC Myers- Sovereign Solitude

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I’m sitting here wondering if the birthers will finally go away now that President Obama has given them what they claimed they sought.  I know I shouldn’t wonder such things because it’s obvious that this was never about a birth certificate, never about where the man was born.  If it was as simple as that, the question was answered long ago.  No, this is about intolerance, about a group of people being willing to accept any contrivance of a story that delegitimizes the man that they cannot accept as president because  of his differences from them.  Differences like his ideology and his intellect, where he definitely differs from them.  Differences like the Muslim roots of his name.  Like the color of his skin. 

Though this has been a dark blot of shame on our country, I am sure it will not end even now.  The hatred of these people knows no reason and will find a new lie to rally around.  New conspiracies raised by the winking shepherds of this willing flock.  And the media will sit by, unquestioning as it allows the lie to build.

Ah, it’s frustrating to see such unchecked hatred and idiocy. 

Here’s a song, Shoot Out the Lights, from Richard Thompson.  It was the title song from a highly acclaimed 1982 album from him and his then wife, Linda, that acted as a document of the end of their marriage.  I’ve always liked the imagery the title brings to mind, of someone shooting out the lights to mark the finality of something ending.  Let’s shoot out the lights on this birther business.

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barack-obama-birth-certificate_You know, I must have not been paying attention in the last few months because I thought  everything that needed to be said about Obama’s birth certificate had been said a year ago.  Now the media is filled with these birthers, people who cling to their misguided beliefs that Obama is indeed  the product of some long range conspiracy to overthrow their country.

It’s insanity.

I almost feel sympathy for these people because it seems that they are reeling out of control.  The election of Obama turned everything in their world upside down and they just can’t come to grips with the reality before them, that their country is being led by a black man.  

The latest example is the lady  who stood up at a Delaware Republican’s town hall meeting and ranted that Obama was not a citizen, that her father was part of the greatest generation that fought in WW II and that she wanted her country back.  A good portion of the conservative crowd cheered her on as she waved her birth certificate and a small flag.  It was all pretty sad that this remains such an  emotional trigger for this group of people.  But sadder still was how feebly the speaker at the dais tried to convince them that Obama was indeed a citizen.

Watching it, it became evident that the crisis was not the question of where someone was born.  No, the crisis is that there are very few  politicians with real guts, willing to step forward and tell these people to get over this deluded idea, to take this energy and put it to better use in working to make our  country better.  Instead we get the media and gutless politicos who only serve their own self-interest by stroking this sad lot, allowing this to grow into a diversion that takes away focus from real problems.  

It’s this same gutlessness that will prolong our country’s problems.  The first priority of too many politicians is an allegiance to themselves and their party, not the best interest of the country.  And that’s just wrong on so many levels…

Anyway, as much as I dislike talking about this stuff, it must be said: Get over it.

Here’s a clip that shows the incident I spoke about along with some commentary that pretty much echos mine:

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Omoni-AkujoYou see them everywhere these days.

Angry old men.

Kind of like this guy, Omoni Akujo, which translates as angry old man, which is a character from classic Japanese theatre representing the ghost of an old man filled with anger and resentment.

The guys I see and hear  are not ghosts.  They’re real.  Unfortunately.  I think ghosts would be far more interesting than these guys.

They complain about any and everything.  They see doom in every movement forward.  They live in their own pleasant recollections of their past, conveniently erasing the darker moments from their memories.  Only their concerns matter and if a problem doesn’t touch them, it doesn’t exist.  But when there is a problem that they see as touching their protected cocoons or even something that will require them to do or see anything differently, listen to their screeching.

I imagine that President Obama must see thousands of these Omoni-akujos each time  he addresses the country.  So many people so fearful of being moved forward, willing to hold onto the past and systems that had devolved over the years to points where they no longer served the vast majority of the populace.  People so afraid of change that they will hold onto and even endorse practices that only harmed their welfare.  Choosing the devil they know…

But I have faith that President Obama will look past these horrible masks and the din they raise and hold his course ahead.  I know he’s strong and smart enough to shrug off the fears these Omoni-akujos scream out.  I only hope that we, the people who wanted so much the changes he offered, are strong enough to not fall prey to the anger and the fear  produced by these angry old men.  Remember, they want what is only good for them.  They are ghosts trying to frighten us into leaving them alone to do as they please.  They are not screaming for the greater good of all men…

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And the Road Rises...Last night’s address by President Obama was, in my opinion, a bravura performance, a great piece of oratory that informed and inspired.  It was an interesting juxtaposition between the President’s speech and that of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who delivered the Republican response.  Obama spoke with great confidence in a way that treated us as adults whereas I felt that Jindal was channeling Mr. Rogers speaking to children in his neighborhood.

 I’m not a political wonk so I’m sure there will be those who will dispute this but I felt Obama effectively laid out an outline for recovery and at every turn trumped objections raised by the opposition, last night in the form of Jindal, who offered nothing more than we’ve heard from the GOP in the past eight years.  His claim that they were the party of fiscal conservatism once again seemed to ring hollow when many of the same members of  Congress who were at the forefront of the spending spree of the past administration are still there.  

There were a couple of things that stood out for me.  Obama’s assertion that dropping out of high school was no longer an option was strong.  One hopes this forceful push for education will indeed reach down and pull up  kids who are struggling within the current system and will inspire them to strive for achievement and responsibility in their lives.  We’ll all be better off in the long run if this can  be achieved.

His vow for renewable energy was music to my ears.  We have waffled on this subject for 30 years and have paid dearly for our hesitancy in moving forward on achieving a level of energy independence.  Now is the time for this type of investment in new level of energy technology.

I also liked Obama’s approach near the end when he tried to stir optimism by taking the view that while this time may present a great and dangerous challenge, it is also a great opportunity to forge a new and better future.  That’s an important perspective to maintain, in this instance and in our private lives– in every crisis there is opportunity.  Lessons to be learned.  New ways of seeing and doing things.

If life is a journey, we may sometimes find ourselves in a place where the road seems to end, seems to have little hope.  It’s at that point we must remember that the road will rise, as will we.

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The Gathering LightThis is a painting that I finished yesterday while the inauguration of President Obama was unfolding on the television.  I am tentatively calling this piece The Gathering Light although I was considering something to commemorate the day.  I was thinking that the paint strokes in the sky represent the gathered populace yesterday in DC and the central figure, the Red Tree, represents President Obama.  Perhaps the fields and houses in the foreground represent the rest of the USA watching this event take place.   I guess even with that interpretation, the title The Gathering Light is fitting.  Yesterday was a gathering of light.

I consider this a painting in my Obsessionism category.  That really describes the state of mind that takes over me when I work on this type of painting.  There’s a degree of focus and immersion that is different than on other pieces.  Also, the way the piece unfolds before me is different.  It takes shape much quicker and more spontaneously.

This is a 30″ by 40″ canvas so it’s a pretty good size piece which makes the strong color really pop.  I am keeping this in the studio and constantly re-examining it  to make sure that it’s as strong as it can be.  I find that this extra time with the Obessionist pieces is invaluable because it takes me past the period of infatuation with the color and composition and allows me to develop a more objective view of the painting.  But for now, I am pleased with it…

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American Phoenix

The American PhoenixI wasn’t sure how today would feel.  There was the anticipation of the unknown, a bit of fear mixed with excitement.  There was also a bit of a feeling of  overkill, as though it were all too much.  Maybe it was the many people climbing on the wagon for perhaps the wrong reasons or without the needed conviction or maybe it was the endless coverage.  Whatever the case, it all made me warily aloof.

But when I flipped on CNN this morning at 6 and saw the incredible masses of people converging on the Mall in DC, I was truly moved.  There was a palpable sense of unity and purpose in the throngs of darkened  silhouettes moving through the early morning darkness, all bundled against the cold. Amazing…

As with any disaster, and the past eight years have been just that, the hardest  part is the recovery and staying focused on the task at hand, even when the going is rough.  That is President Obama‘s most important job– keeping this willing mass of citizens’ eyes steadfastly set on the goals he lays out in the next days and weeks.  He must make them feel as though they – wait, I mean we are part of the process, part of an answer.  If he can maintain this engagement with us, we will be just fine. 

No, that’s wrong.  We will be even better…

A final word of thanks to George W. Bush:  Without your callow, arrogant stewardship, without your dismissive “So What?” attitude, without your complete ignorance of what moves us as a citizenry, without your complete disregard for the rights and ideals that have defined us to  the rest of the  world, without your kowtowing to powerful cronies that created the wealth gap that has decimated our middle class, without your lead-headed  leadership- just without you, citizen Bush, this day would not have come.  Thank you for bitch-slapping us from our stupor.  Thank you for wakening our senses.  Thank you for giving us a definition of what we will not abide as a people.

Thank you, citizen Bush, we are awake now.  

Welcome, President Obama- the floor is yours.

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New Day

When Barack Obama finally approached the podium to deliver his stirring victory address I looked at the clock and it was just past midnight.  All I could think is, “It’s a new day.”

I woke up this morning after a few hours of sleep, my head pounding and my eyes tired, and I grinned like an idiot.  All I could think is, “It’s a new day.”

Well, it is a new day and while I am filled with joy and hope, teary-eyed from watching the world’s emotional response to this ground-shaking event, I recognize the size and scope of the task ahead for Obama and for us, the American people.  We, as a people, cannot rest on the laurels that we garnered last night.  That was only the end of a campaign.  Today is a new day and there is much to be done, many miles to go before we rest.   But it can be done.  With determination.  With self-sacrifice. With a new sense of personal responsibility. With empathy and fairness.

We should dance now and celebrate this victory.  But when the revelry is over we must stay together and get to work.  Because tomorrow is yet another new day.

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