My He(ART)-Full Life

Monday, November 5, 2012

America votes-election 2012

I was born in 1969 under a Nazi government (otherwise known as apartheid South Africa) it should come as no surprise that I am political. Very political. For that, I make no apologies. I firmly believe that everything in our lives is none. And because I spent the first part of my life in a country that denied me democracy and basic human rights (I grew up under a gov't where even saying the word Nelson Mandela was considered treason)... I don't take any of my rights and freedoms  for granted. Education, reproductive rights, access to affordable health care, who I can marry (under apartheid you could marry someone of  different race couldn't live together!!), where I worship, if I choose to worship at all, access to information, what I can say, write, paint... self esteem...everything comes down to politics. It's a mistake to think otherwise; "The personal is political". I know this to be true.

“What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who only has eyes, if he is a painter, or ears if he is a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he is a poet, or even, if he is a boxer, just his muscles? Far from it: at the same time he is also a political being, constantly aware of the heartbreaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people, and with a cool indifference to detach yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly? No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.” -Picasso
I have always loved this quote by Picasso...and while he was talking about WW2 and the politics of that time...I firmly believe that it applies to us today. I have been dismayed and surprised at the (mostly) art blogs I read and follow. All of them have chosen not to talk about politics or the election. And I understand. It's not a popular's personal and divisive and goes to heart of who we are. People may become offended and uncomfortable and choose not to read our blogs or buy our art or take our workshops etc. We may lose friends and comments and readers and opportunities. But, for me, the most important thing is that I don't lose mySELF. I stand behind who I am and what's important to me. I would rather be uncomfortable talking about politics than be uncomfortable having my basic rights stripped away from me.

Of course I understand that politics is politics. But this election cycle has triggered so many issues that I am so incredibly passionate about!! Too many to go into details so here's just a few...stupid male politicians (all of whom happen to be Republican BTW) making the most offensive remarks about rape, birth control, abortion and women's health/reproductive rights (so Mr. Mourdock...have you heard of seperation of church and state???) . This drives me nuts!!!! Voter suppression tactics, global warming (no,'s not a left wing media bias's real and it's happening!!)...The GOP wanting to privatise everything from FEMA to health care to education to...medicare????. And underlying so much of what is considered to be intelligent political discourse is plain old ugly racism. The birthers who continue with their nonsensical "President Obama wasn't born here" crap. It's so ridiculous and offensive. Okay...what are they really saying???? It drives me kinda' over the edge. Anyhoo....the most egregious of all attacks on a democracy is not voting at all. So...whoever you support...make like Nike and just do it!!! GO VOTE!!!!


Kelly said...

I'm with you, and I can't wait to vote! Don't even get me started on energy...that backward (not long term) thinking drives me crazy. :)

GB said...

Thank you for writing this post. I think you're right about this election being more than just an election. These are all choices that we make on how our future will look, each decision affects the future our kids will have. Will they enjoy freedom? choice? After freedom, everything else is secondary.

May the best man win! :)

patty said...

Oh boy, I'm one of the ones that does not mention politics... not that I don't take freedom and voting very seriously, but I have friends, acquaintances and family members (on both sides) that are always putting out very in-your-face stuff... none of that has ever changed my mind one iota, so... I don't engage with that. I make my choices and keep them relatively private. But I totally get how fortunate we are!! Yes indeed.

Anonymous said...

yes! yes! i use this quote from susan stefanic
" it is the duty of the artist to resist/
to demolish the status quo/
to expose the king's nakedness/
to see through walls/
to walk through fire/
to fly over the crevasse/
to bring inspiration to the isolated doubting angel/
to abandon all solutions
to create the ultimate vision"
(this is from a longer poem so sorry if i cut anyone's favourite line!)
whenever anyone asks me why i don't "return" to activism, i use this as part of my explanation that i AM an activist by being an artist. every creative choice, every honouring of the gut instinct teaches a person to come from their own centre, to not need the reassurance of sheeplike following of global consumerism. by learning to question and teaching to question, we create a ripple effect of empoweredness AND once there, how can we deny it to others? this is why all extreme ideologies are afraid of artists and try to suppress them - the banning of 'dissolute' art was one of the first acts of hitler and the nazis.
art asks people to be awake, alive and active in their own lives,to see clearly,and therefore to stand for peace and global justice, to live without greed or dulling of despair by addiction to anything... and the first step is to at least vote, but then to vote for openness and freedom and honouring the diverse and the positive should surely flow naturally? and in the wave of relief spreading round the world as news of president obama's re-election by a landslide spreads, we know how important this was on a global scale. sorry i am really tired, so i'm not as clear as i want to be,but i support you wholeheartedly for being in integrity with yourself and sharing your commitment to the 'audacity of hope'.

Kelly said...


Nancy Gallant said...

Wow Soraya, you really pored your heart and soul out on how you are feeling about U.S. politics and I so totally agree. As a woman, I was deeply offended at what these Republican politicians were saying about rape and even getting into birth control! The right wing are so out of touch---but I guess they got the message on election night. Women helped reelect Obama! Love your blog site!!