Arts Devo

Now we fight

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Anxious days Don’t hate me. Arts DEVO knows it’s too early, but I can’t help myself. I am left feeling fairly cold inside at the thought of Donald Trump and his cronies slithering toward the White House, and I crave human connection. So, I’m allowing the holiday spirit to rise in me as the season’s chill descends and a chorus of drunken angels rises, summoning the enforcer of naughty fun to lead us into the dark nights with good cheer and indomitable heart.

The Krampus is coming …

A cold and broken hallelujah

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him in so far as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.

A post-presidential Teddy Roosevelt wrote those lines for his war-hawking book, The Great Adventure: Present-Day Studies in American Nationalism (1918), while Americans were fighting in the first World War. And as we look toward a regime change in this country, regardless of what the 26th president was advocating in his vocal criticism of the policies of Woodrow Wilson, his words offer a guiding foundation for Americans anxious to speak out and build a defense against the potentially dangerous policies of the 45th president.

And as much as I wish he wasn’t, Donald Trump will be my president, and he’ll be yours, too. California is not seceding from the U.S., and we the people are not—or at least we shouldn’t be—moving to Canada. But that doesn’t mean we have to stand by as Trump implements destructive policies. Racial/religious profiling of Middle Easterners and Muslims, the deportation of undocumented immigrants, and rolling back reproductive rights and environmental policies will do harm to the people of this country.

It is unpatriotic not to speak to the truth and fight against this devolution of progress, not to mention the fear and violence Trump’s rhetoric foments. As John Oliver pleaded in the season finale of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, we cannot afford to normalize Trump and his agenda, and we can only stop it if we come together, step outside our little bubbles, and call things what they are. From this arts column, I am encouraging you artists to sing songs, write poems, create films, choreograph dances and paint pictures that fight the power.

RIP Leonard Cohen One of my all-time musical heroes is gone, dead at 82 on the day after the election. The second-greatest songwriter of the last century, Cohen beat Dylan with one song at least (“Hallelujah”). I picture him chilling high up in the Tower of Song, trading smokes with Hank Williams and polishing up that golden voice.