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Your Voice Through Echoing Nightmares or Wet Sand in the Hourglass

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

Still life with Hourglass, Pencase and Print, 1647

By Garrit Dou

Oil on board, 16" x 23"

How’s that for a Halloween blogpost title. Is that Edgar Allan Poe enough for you? If only this post was about dressing up and collecting candy or having a devilishly good time with our friends drinking gothic cocktails. Halloween on a Saturday with a full blue moon? C’mon!! No, that’s not where this post is going. Tuesday is election day, and perhaps the most important election of our lifetime. With early voting lines equaling COVID testing lines, people are willing to endure inclement weather and hours of wait time to have their voice heard.

Pandemic be dammed, the clocks and calendars march us to the witching hour. As the Coronavirus settles in for the long haul (don’t kid yourself, it’s going to be a long haul), many things seem to be out of sync. Let’s put political divisiveness and civil unrest aside for minute. While birthday celebrations and holidays haven’t budged from our calendars, the way we celebrate has been greatly altered. Unlike the 4th of July, Memorial Day and warm weather birthdays, you can’t celebrate the Big Three outside (referring to Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s). The CDC has already recommended finding another way to celebrate Halloween, discouraging door to door candy grabs. What will Thanksgiving and Christmas look like without out of town family and friends from high risk states? All with the potential to expose older aunts, uncles and grandparents. While “together apart” works for a monthly budget meeting, you can’t Zoom mashed potatoes and gravy or pumpkin pie. Are you willing to risk it? Probably. New Year’s? Man, do we need to boot 2020 out the god damn door. If ever there was a monolithic New Year’s (2000 for ex.), celebrating the passing of 2020 will be a priority for many.

It’s symbolic more than anything, I get that, when we wake up on January 1st, 2021 I’m afraid nothing pandemic related would have changed, except the morbid COVID-19 numbers and vaccine trial setbacks that we’re trying to race. Brace for it. Yet, we can hope for a light on the horizon.

We Vote, 2012

By Patricia Clark Taylor

Oil on canvas, 16" x 20"

On Tuesday, November 3rd, we will go to the polls and vote to remove the orange menace that has failed to put forth a national response mandating wearing masks in ALL 50 STATES and a consistent and clear testing and contact tracing policy. We need to support the millions of Americans out of work and all the small businesses struggling to survive. We all need to vote against the ingrained racism and the political divisiveness that threatens the very fabric of our country. It may be the most important election of our lifetime. I imagine that there are those that don’t feel that urgency, for the election or the pandemic. Those individuals see social distancing and wearing a mask to protect their fellow citizens as somehow an infringement on their constitutional rights.

Voting Day Coming Soon, Oh Boy! 2012

By Richard Hubal

Acrylic on canvas, 36" x 48"

The divisions that keep us on opposite sides of the fence have been exposed, and in most cases, heightened. Racism has bubbled to the surface of the collective consciousness like bacteria in a hot tub. We’ve always been a racist nation, that’s not news. We’ve overcome a lot, but there’s so much more work to be done. BLM isn’t just a trendy hot button, it’s the call of a nation of millions (yes, that is a Public Enemy reference) to answer. We’re at a crossroad, do we go down a path that Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King began to clear or head to the weeds of racist separatism. I believe we are bigger and better together with all those differences that make up the mosaic of our America. You can disagree with me, and that’s unfortunate but it’s your right. My Grandfather, Walter Case, earned his Purple Heart on the beach of Okinawa so we could have that difference of opinion, right or wrong.

Walter Case (my grandfather)

Walter Case (left)

With the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the potential to replace her with a conservative religious zealot who can single handedly undo 50 years of women’s rights, the political tensions are too important to ignore. I’ll refrain from voter fraud and the threats of false information feeds and outside influences from Russia and China. This is a political post, no doubt about it. I’ll stress the importance of the election in three days one more time then step down off my soapbox.

The value of art has shifted too, from galleries to city streets and city halls. Murals protesting police brutality and systematic racism. The new faces of revolutionary art are not classically trained artists tucked away in a sunlit studio painting allegories against the bourgeoisie, but everyday citizens painting the likenesses of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor or our own Daniel Prude. The needle has moved north since the civil rights movement of the 1960’s but has seemingly been frozen in place.

Wet sand in the hourglass and time stands still. While we feel the inertia of time pulling us forward we are in some ways in suspended animation. We wait for the outcome of the election and where we go collectively as a nation. It’s true, time waits for no one, so we’ll live our lives the best we can. We’ll try to cherish the moments that fill our lives and continue to express ourselves creatively and (in a few days) politically as to how we proceed as a society.

If the sand in the hourglass is wet and clumpy, it will eventually dry, time will flow more naturally. We’ll be able to plan gatherings (hopefully paint parties). Patronize our favorite haunts without face coverings. Baseball will again start in April instead of July, and with fans. People will again go to concerts and festivals. Time will heal us and tend the wounds of divisiveness and it’ll allow us to be who we can be, who we should be. Time will distance us from the mistakes of our past. With every falling grain of sand, bring the promise of evolution filling the space once occupied by revolution.

My Vote, 2016

By Ricardo Levins Morales

Digital print, 11" x 17"

Hourglasses are timers that poetically show us how much time we have. Perhaps, time is running out on this awful year. Perhaps, time is running out on a racially divided country. Time is up for the politics that foster hate and misinformation. Start the timer on 3-hour paint classes for all folks, regardless of their color, age, gender, religion or political persuasion. It’s time to come together and sing our favorite song on a clear twilight evening to our favorite music at our favorite outdoor venues.

In a couple of days, focus on your voice through all the echoing nightmares of the last few years. Let that voice guide you confidently to the polls so that it is heard by all. Its time to pick up the hourglass, give it shake, and flip it over and start again.

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