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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Thoughts on a Hopeful Future.

In the happenstance that we somehow manage to survive this administration's blatant attacks on the people of the United States, let’s ponder a few changes we might make to the system to prevent a reoccurrence of this travesty.
1)  Require all presidential candidates to have a thorough knowledge of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is important that each candidate who proposes to lead the country should have extensive knowledge of its rules and operating system.
I further propose that each candidate be publicly scored on their knowledge through a candidate-wide series of Jeopardy-like competitions in which selected candidates (drawn by random chance to compete in each episode against each other) face a series of questions, both theoretical and practical, on all issues in both documents. The sheer gladiator-like, deer-in-the-headlights spectacle of this competition should achieve legitimacy by entertaining the masses while giving an equal playing field to people from any profession or background.
2)  Have all candidates face a thorough and publicly available background check to determine their moral fitness to stand as POTUS. Again, to weed out individuals with a public track record of sexual abuse, human rights abuses, racial discrimination, warmongering, or other established criminal actions or humanitarian “indiscretions.”
3)  Same as above, but for financial integrity. Have their financial backgrounds examined for corporate or investor malfeasance and possible criminal activity. It is important that POTUSes prove that they behave legitimately and honestly.
4)  Award extra points (akin to college and university scorings for volunteer work) for:
i)    Time, effort, and projects initiated and fulfilled in helping those less fortunate. If a POTUS likes to talk about making our country strong, let's see how they have already worked towards that goal. A strong country has a strong citizenry, meaning its residents have access to jobs, living wages, civic financial support such as unemployment, affordable and universally available—medical care.
ii)  Demonstrated efforts to strengthen, expand, and make available to all the educational system.
iii) Substantial time spent among cultures other than the United States, or at least in communities made up of significant numbers of non–white/ male/ wealthy/ Christian/ heterosexual/ sheltered people. A good POTUS should have a knowledgeable and thorough worldview, with experience outside these privileged spaces, with workers, immigrants, the poor, and those suffering from environmental and social injustice.
If a candidate proposes to stand as POTUS, let's hold them to a much higher standard that the rest of us. POTUS is arguably the most important position in the United States government, with ramifications that affect hundreds of millions, both at home and around the globe, and as such each candidate must demonstrate an exceptionally high level of moral, financial, and personal integrity.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Not for nothing, but...

...You will fail. You will fail a thousand times. Some of these failures will be astonishingly acute. You'll watch your colleagues achieve great successes and you'll feel inadequate, out of the loop. Not one of the cool kids.

But your few successes will be worth both the thousands of dedicated hours spent bringing your visions into tangibility and the disappointments of those awaited emails that say nothing but, Sorry kid, we had this many submissions taken in and we thought a bunch were more worthy than yours. And when these e-notices come from friends, they sting a bit more.

Fact is you will, in all likelihood, not win nearly as many times as you think you should. Your belief in your own work is your greatest strength and your Achilles' Heel; it will keep you afloat during the Dark Ages and serve to highpoint the bee stings that plague your inbox. Your work will take hundreds of hours and miles of internal digging to bring to the surface—if it's to be any good at all. This comes with a mighty cost. But no matter how good it is—intrinsically--someone will not feel it appropriate for their own purposes. This is not you; this is simply bad chemistry.

(And here's the rub: even if your work does“suck”--whatever that means—somebody, somewhere will take a shine to it. Seriously: how much self-indulgent twaddle have you seen sponsors' dollars invested in that the rest of the audience simply adores?)

The hard part is that you have two choices: persist or change your road. Changing one's road means deciding that you're best served in another medium where the possibility of success has lower odds. That's a very hard decision, especially with the time and heart already invested. 

But maybe you do have that other ability within you that needs to be explored. We are annoyingly (and maybe overly-) complex creatures, and many times, like in our writing, we need to head west-by-southwest to crank out those six pages that lead us to that One Glorious True North Beat.

Only fellow artists will truly understand your existential pit of despair. In that, at least, you are not alone.

My own plan is simple: have my somewhat voluble yet momentary pity party, then take up my shovel and continue scraping away at the stony Earth, and to completely mix up metaphors, gallop full speed with head down, ears back, heading straight for Masterpiece Barn.