Monday, January 30, 2017

American Born In...

I'm working my way through figuring out how I can participate in resisting the regime that we are currently living in without getting myself arrested or having a panic attack. Crowds make me extremely nervous and my job would frown a bit on me getting arrested, so protesting is out. I've decided, given the current state of things, that I will do what I can to support local art, local restaurants and food owned and operated by immigrants and do what I can for music and culture. This feels like a good way to do what I can do. Considering how likely it is that that arts will be almost fully defunded in the regime, it will be a small comfort but at least one I can support.

Yesterday I went to the Art Institute as part of my protest. Each weekend I'm going to make an effort to do something different and cultural whenever it is possible for me to do so. For some reason, I was feeling early American modern and so ended up in the wing of artist painting and contributing in the 1930s to 1950s. This is the wing where Georgia O'Keefe lives, among others. 

I was taking in some of the amazing art from this period. Some detailed realism, hints hear and there of abstract or surreal. I read the names of artists and at first there was nothing terribly profound in it. 

And then it hit me. I kept seeing over and over in the American wing the phrase "American born in".

Politics today being what they are after yesterday this hit a real nerve. I started looking for "American born in" I started counting the times I saw "American born in" and I almost wanted to cry after discovering more than 30 artists on display, all American, all born somewhere else. In the end the land of their birth didn't change the fact that they hang in the museum today, noted for being American born somewhere else. 

I don't think this age is over. Rather, I think, I hope, we shall have a period in which we will adjust. Where we as a whole country will recognize that being American is so much more than being born here. Being American has a lot more than ancestry behind it. We should be proud of this, embrace this, embrace those who would be Americans born elsewhere. I'm counting the days until we get to such a place again. 


No comments: