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Posts Tagged ‘Current Events’

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These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly:–‘Tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to set a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as Freedom should not be highly rated.

…It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, shall suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now, is dead: The blood of his children shall curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. My own line of reasoning is to myself as strait and clear as a ray of light.

Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, December 1776

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Today might be a good day to pay attention, both to the events of this day and to the words of Thomas Paine written at a another crucial point in our American history. His words apply to any time.

There have always been and always will be sunshine patriots who will wave flags at parades and enjoy the benefits that this country offers without thought or sacrifice. But now is a time to look hard and think long. To gather strength and speak clearly and loudly. To assert truth.

Paine said it best: The heart that feels not now, is dead: The blood of his children shall curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole and made them happy.

Pay attention, people. Your heart needs to feel NOW.

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Is there not some chosen curse, some hidden thunder in the stores of heaven, red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man who owes his greatness to his country’s ruin?

– Joseph Addison, Cato, 1713

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As much as I want to, I am not going to comment on the ridiculous speech, if you want to use that word for this thing that aired on our nation’s airwaves last night. The speech and the “crisis” to which it referred were nothing more than a calculated distraction from the constant flow of emerging information that is providing more and more clarity in the investigation into the current squatter who resides in our White House.

Yesterday, a clerical error by the lawyers for Paul Manafort, the onetime campaign manager for this squatter, provided yet another puzzle piece, one that filled out the overall picture a bit more, letting us see that we may indeed be dealing with actions that are truly traitorous to this nation.

It is now well beyond anything we have dealt with at this level of our government at any point in our history. We are in uncharted territory.

Treacherous territory.

I wrote about the possibility of this type of treasonous behavior here a few weeks back in a post called Circle of Traitors. The painting at the top, which reflects the subject of that post, Dante and Virgil in the Ninth Level of Hell, is from Gustave Dore who is better known for his popular engravings.

I am not going to go on anymore this morning. I just want you to consider the actions of traitors and how they have been viewed through history. The line at the top from Joseph Addison has Cato, the noble defender of the Roman republic and its people, railing against the coming tyranny of Julius Caesar, whose actions ultimately led to the downfall of the Roman Empire.

The person who would willingly betray the interests of the people they have sworn to serve in order to fulfill their own egotistical desires does not fare well in the end.

Nor does the country or empire that allows such a creature rise to power.

Keep your eyes open, folks. The circle is coming closer.

 

 

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A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.

— Dwight D. Eisenhower

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I wrote a whole long diatribe about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi the journalist that was an a Permanent Resident of the US who was beaten, tortured, killed, and dismembered at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

But I am not going to run it. I’ll spare you that. I just want to ask a few questions.

What principles do we as a nation hold sacred?

And is now the time when we forever abandon these principles and values?

I say forever because once ideals and principles have been sacrificed, they are lost forever. You can’t buy them back with any amount of money or jobs or defense contracts or material things.

Things can replace things but nothing can replace lost honor and respect.

Every day we are sacrificing more and more of the honor, respect and moral authority that we once held. This was built on the “bloodtoiltears and sweat”– in Churchill’s words– of those who sacrificed through the past centuries to make this a better place.

To create a legacy that was always bending towards a more perfect union.

Is now the time to squander that legacy?

Is now the moment in which we push all honor off the cliffs of time?

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Don’t like to mention my dreams too often here but I woke up this morning from one where I had just put on an album on an old record player and the first song was Frank Sinatra singing the Aretha Franklin classic Chain of Fools, a song I am pretty sure Sinatra never covered. He did a pretty good job with it in my dream.

I didn’t have to think too much about where this dream originated.  Watching the craziness that goes along with this completely dysfunctional White House and everything that is related to it, especially the ongoing Russian investigation, is mind-boggling.  The ineptitude, greediness and sheer ignorance  that reveals itself on a daily basis is totally nuts, especially yesterday’s manic meltdown on national television by Sam Nunberg, a former aide to the person some folks still consider to be the president of these United States.

You can see it all beginning to crumble and fall apart before your eyes. It’s like sitting in a huge stadium where the entire field is filled with standing dominoes. As you watch nothing seems to be happening for the longest time. Nothing is moving. Then at the edge you notice a tiny shift and suddenly dominoes are falling in what seems to be large chunks in every direction.

As all of this is happening, the obnoxious stadium announcer is yelling over and over, “Fake News!”

And in the blink of an eye, it is over.

I have a feeling that is what we are watching at the moment. The tiny shift at the edge of the pattern has taken place.

The dominoes are tumbling.

So, first thing this morning, I  get into the studio and find a version of Aretha’s Chain of Fools with the lyrics shown.  As it plays, I am struck how the words of the song could apply to the people who thought this was a good idea in the first place, those folks who voted to turn this country into the world’s largest dumpster fire. Fools backing a fool and a liar.

The chain of fools- and I think I am being kind to say that they are just fools- has been broken.

Couldn’t find a Sinatra version so give a listen to Aretha and pay attention to the lyrics.

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November 5, 26 dead so far in the Sutherland, Texas church shooting.

October 1, 58 dead in the Las Vegas shooting.

September 10, 9 killed in a Plano, Texas shooting. You probably don’t even remember that one.

And I’m not even mentioning the truck attack last week in NYC. Who knows what December will bring? I would like to believe that we won’t end the year with a bang but… well, you know.

I’m watching coverage of this latest shooting and I already feel that it is being pushed to the back of our collective consciousness. These events are normal now. They have their own pattern, their own rhythm and cycle that they follow, one that we have witnessed hundreds of times before.

So many times that the horror we feel is beginning to feel feigned, just thrown out there as an surface act of civility while in our minds we have already began the process of forgetting.

Unfortunately, even when we turn away, it’s hard to find evidence that we aren’t living in a mad world. And there is no solace in the empty words of our titular leaders, an administration that is treating this country like a company that it acquired in a hostile takeover. That’s where the new owners come in and liquidate any viable assets for themselves, leaving the company a broken shell.

You know, it’s going to be a year since the election in just a couple of days and I firmly believe that the actions of this administration have exceeded my fears. I thought they would be a little more discreet in their underhandedness but it seems like every day they reach a new level of audacity and corruption, both real and moral, that is breathtaking to behold.

And some of us still defend them. And this acceptance, this normalization, provides a perfect backdrop for our acts of violence against each other.

Just another day in this mad world.

I played this song six months ago in a different context but on the all too many days like this, I find it running on a loop in my mind. It’s Gary Jules’ version of the Tears For Fears song, Mad World. Interesting video. Have a good day and don’t let this mad world become your normal.

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GC Myers -AswirlI started writing a diatribe this morning about the dangerous world in which we live, given the recent events in the Ukraine and Israel.  But I realized there is more than enough talking (well, not really talking in substantive terms but mouths opening and words of some sort coming out) going on from politicos and pundits and little action actually taking place.  If you’re reading this, you’re probably fatigued by the whole thing and looking for something to calm you or at least divert your mind from the chaos of the outside world.  I know that is a great part of the motivation behind doing what I do, going inward to find a place of peace where I can take shelter.

So, today is a bit of both.  It’s a little anomaly of a piece that I am including in my upcoming West End Gallery show, Layers, which opens on July 25th.  It’s a small painting, about 5″ by 7″ on paper, that I call Aswirl.  It’s inward but it acknowledges the swirling nature of events in the outer world.  It is chaotic but finds a harmony in rhythm and color.

This is a piece that I have had in my studio for years and have wanted to show but just never got around to doing so.  But I like including at least a couple of small anomalies or oddities in my shows and as I assembled this group of work, this piece began to start popping up.  It always seemed to be in sight and though it is much different than almost anything in the show, it still feels like it fits.

Maybe that’s just me.

But I do know that it takes me away from the tensions of the events in the outer world and settles me as I find pattern and motion in the swirls of colors.  And if that is its only purpose, or my only purpose in what I do, then that is enough for the moment.

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