• Tag Archives justice
  • Our Body, Our Politic

    Spring                                                        Bee Hiving Moon

    OK, I admit it.  I got suckered in by that warm weather.  Now I miss it.  So, sue me.  Even so, I still prefer the usual seasonal transition, but if you’re gonna make a change at least stick with it for the duration.

    Interesting art day today.  College modern history class this morning going through art developments from 1880-1930. I’m ready and looking forward to it.  Then, at 11:15, I meet Ode in the Sports Show, walk through it with him and afterward have lunch.  The Great Scanning Project from 1:00 or so until 3:00 or so.

    Saw the Supreme Court may strike down the Health Care Law.  If they do, probably in the interest of limiting the power of government.  Our polity demands a tension between the liberty and freedom of the individual and notions of fairness and equity in the nation at large.

    A strong, stubborn part of me recognizes liberty and freedom as essential to a good, full life.  Another, also dominant, part reacts viscerally to a society that tips the scales against the poor.  That puts a thumb on the balance.  Discrimination, out right bigotry has broad, systemic power.  And that hurts me when I see it.

    Our country, this rich country, does not need to withhold from its citizens.  We can share while maintaining our wide zone of individual liberty.  I know we can.  Look at how much we shared as a nation to turn back Hitler and Japan.  Look at the dramatic, substantive changes since the Civil Rights Act.  We’re better as a whole than the limited vision of a few.

    No matter where you stand in terms of faith the West’s great religions insist on equitable and just treatment of the poor, of women and children.  Surely we can agree on that, at least.



  • Art and Politics

    Samain                              Moon of the Winter Solstice


    In to the city to meet with Justin, Sierra Club’s lobbyist and policy wonk.  We’re putting together a campaign strategy for this upcoming session.  I love the ins and outs of politics, the practical, no nonsense nature of the analysis, the calculations.  The realities of power, not its dreamy possibilities.

    It is though, at this stage of my life, not as exciting as taking in a new painting, wandering through a new exhibition, revisiting a print I’ve seen many times.  Even so,  politics are deeper in my life, started earlier, continued throughout my life while the arts have been only a once in a while thing until the last ten years.

    The man I am now, the man I am becoming, loves the museum gallery more than the legislative chamber, the exhibit hall more than the voting booth, research for a tour more than campaign planning.  Part of me is not sure what to make of this change, but that it has happened there is no doubt.

    Perhaps these later years have bent the knee toward beauty rather than the lady justice.

    No, of course it’s not either art or politics, of course not.  There is, though, a real matter of how much time I want to devote to life outside our home, how much energy I want to give to projects for others and how much I need to spend on my own work.

    These are not easy matters for me, questions I’ve juggled my whole life, but I’ve always tried to remain true to what my inner life tells me.  Just now, it says open that new book with all the paintings in the Louvre.

  • Estranged

    Fall                                   Waxing Blood Moon

    Tomato picking and compost bin rebuilding, the bulk of the morning.  To keep our young pups from celebrating life by knocking down the straw bales out of which I designed this compost bin a wire fence now encircles the bales, with an other, shorter wire fencing material for a gate.

    The day started chilly, but has warmed up to 69.  It’s one of those fall days when the Andover H.S. Marching Band can be heard carrying pompoms and the thud of padded football players in its wake.  As this sound comes across the fields of vegetables and the cul de sacs between our home the football field, I become at once both younger and older, thrust back to Alexandria High School and Friday night football while by necessity comparing that time with the present.  It’s not an unpleasant feeling, just a bit strange.

    Caught episode 1 of a Harvard class on Justice taught by Michael Sandel.  It’s well worth the time.  Sandel’s teaching style combines the Socratic/law school method of hypotheticals with analysis of responses.  The engagement of the students makes it obvious Sandel is a teacher as well as a philosopher.  I only want to comment on one, striking observation he made about philosophy.  “Philosophy,” he said, “is not about something you don’t know; it is about making you look at what you know from the perspective of a stranger.  Philosophy creates an estrangement from our own experience.”  This is so true, as is his follow-on comment that once you gain this insight you cannot go back to the naive state.

    Every hour of every day I see my self and the world through the lens of philosophical analysis, the lens fitted over an anthropological  camera body.  The two together make the world a strange and exotic experience at every turn.