The first part of week 33 was spent in Mérida settling back into my daily routine. I tidied my studio in preparation for getting back to work. The rest of the week I traveled to the US to have  photoradiation therapy. Aminolevulinic acid is a drug that’s put right on the skin—in my case my very bald head. It’s used to treat actinic keratosis (AK), a skin condition that can become cancer, and is used only on the face or scalp. A special blue light, rather than laser light, is used to activate this drug. (from the American Cancer Society) I am now reaping the rewards of unprotected frolicking, fishing and working outside in my youth.

While in the US, I will also be able to see the next round (number 2 of 3) of drawings for the Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. Drawing Competition that Lea and I sponsor.  It was started out of my deep interest in the art of hand drawing and its relationship to the mind. Having read Juhani Pallasmaa’s The Thinking Hand twice, I am convinced that the art of hand drawing is crucial to the creation of quality design. I am also concerned about the deterioration of this skill amongst the newly trained architects who rely too heavily of simulation software. My concern should not be construed as “anti-computer.” I am fully supportive of software that aids in the creation of good design and improves the ability to communicate to the makers of the world. I do, however, believe firmly that when both skills are developed together and employed in the right way, the design will be more thoughtful and meaningful.

trump and KKK - 1Finally, this week was full of angst. My head and heart are spinning in anger, fear and anxiety. I am not relaxed. The sordid events in Charlottesville last week set off a national storm of arguments and counter-arguments. It is interesting that this national debate is occurring now—since everything that #45 stands for and believes in was so transparent before the election. The viciousness and hatred of the die-hard white supermacists has been known since slavery was invented; the US stole the country from the Native Americans; the Plantation owners of the South survived only through forced labor and inhuman treatment; and Hitler came to power by exploring the exact same economic predicament and internalized fear and anger. The deep divide in our country has, in my opinion, always been present. It is also seriously intertwined with a complex brew of fervent, blind love of cherry-picked phrases in the King James version of the bible; a dedicated hate of anything that smacks of women’s rights (including independence, birth control and abortion choice); a lack of empathy and understanding, by well-meaning liberals, of the plight of America’s lower class; the underground well-financed (i.e. Koch Brothers) efforts to strip all wealth away from the working class and eliminate any government regulations meant to protect people and the planet; the use of education to prepare worker’s to further line the pockets of the elite ruling class—and not to prepare a person to think, question and challenge the upper-status-quo. Our so-called education system has fractured into a system of home-schooling that, for the most part, simply prepares a child to be exactly like the parent-teacher; under-funded public education that is, again for the most part, a place for the lost lower- and middle-class to scrape by within mediocrity and lack of penetrating intellectual depth; and private schools grooming the elite class to keep the poor at bay and working to keep them rich.

Even though I want to vomit when I see people mimicking the brown-shirts of Hitler’s era, I somehow feel this is only a superficial mask or symbol. It is their shield to prevent self-examination. Behind this mask is a frightened soul that:

  • Is jealous of the rich but afraid to say so.
  • Wants to be rich but has no path (except the sham of lottery ticket hope fraud).
  • Is mad about the world-web of commerce but can’t admit that super-wealthy players removed their jobs to foreign countries for the shareholders—not the good of the worker or the  country.
  • Knows that carbon based fuel is going to go away eventually but just can’t say so—as it will create internal dissonance.
  • Is scared to admit that climate change is a-political and will kill us all. If they do admit it, they will short-circuit the robotic programming instilled by decades of brainwashing by the likes of the Koch brothers.
  • Hides behind Jesus Christ out of fear not love. It is a convenient way to sweeten their hate and racism if they can sugar coat what they say with a cherry-picked biblical quote.
  • Is naive to think that saving 5 cents on a tube of toothpaste by shopping at a big-box store is “buying America” and will support the local economy.
  • Use guns as a phallic replacement for their impotence.
  • Fearful of their children if they exhibit independence and a willingness to question.

This is a complex brew that is poisoning our culture.

Recently the author Jonathan Odell posted a quote from Steve Bannon on his personal Facebook page:

I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.

Jonathan then asked “Is he right?” I agree that he partially right. I think the real issue lies in the liberal elite’s unwillingness to understand and be emphatic to the plight of the poor; and the coercive system that created it in the first place.

My friend David Greer, in response to Jonathan’s post stated, among other things:

There might be a positive factor most people are ignoring. These guys are unmasking a lot of ugliness – like racism, xenophobia, corporate greed, the fact that congressional republicans are owned like cheap whores by billionaires of the Koch brothers stripe, that we’re doing irreversible damage to the global environment in the interests of money – things we mostly ignore, or chose not to deal with. But they’re driving it all into the open where we can’t ignore it. That might be a good thing. Maybe we’ll rise up and deal with it. I hope so. Otherwise, we’re fucked.

I agree with him. Today I feel it will get worse before it can get better. I will focus on finding tiny sparks of optimism—and paint. 

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