Right now America is a fucking joke

– My latest on Medium –

As Americans, we debate whether or not climate change is real, despite hard scientific evidence it is. We debate how hard we should make voting because of voter fraud, which is very much not a thing. We debate constantly the benefits of trickle-down economics, how having more guns makes us more safe, and maybe Nazis aren’t that bad. We’ve even found a way to debate whether or not debating civility is more important than separating kids from their parents.

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The Passion Project

What am I passionate about exactly? According to my interview with three design students from Seattle, it goes like this:

He loves design as a tool for making things happen, especially for the things he believes in, which means supporting his community and actively engaging in aggressive politics. Even better is the fact he gets to go through it all with his lovely wife. 

Anthropocene

We have reached an unprecedented moment in planetary history. Humans now change the Earth’s systems more than all natural forces combined. This is the central argument of the proposed current geological epoch: the Anthropocene.

An exhibition now on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario by photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. A spectacular set of photos and film focused on our human impact on the Earth.

It was a lot to take in. The images were quite beautiful while at the same time, the subject matter, whether the slums of Nigeria or the mining of American landscapes, was heartbreaking. It’s clear humans are impacting the Earth in a transformational way. The exhibition itself was more about presenting the facts rather than a point of view of what to do about those facts. That, of course, is up to all of us.

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NO Death Penalty

Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers has been fighting to put an end to the death penalty in our state for 40 years. In 2015, our state lawmakers actually succeeded in repealing the death penalty. Then, our heartless governor overrode that ban and recently had someone executed. It’s a heartbreaking tale of money being more powerful than the will of the people. But, Senator Chambers won’t give up. We won’t give up.

To highlight this long fight to stop the death penalty, I’m offering this badass print of Ernie Chambers getting ready for action. All proceeds will be donated to Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

We will not go quietly into the night! We must end this barbaric practice of state-sponsored murder! All power to the people!

NO DEATH PENALTY!

On Fahrenheits

I went to Fahrenheit 9/11 in the theater back in 2004. At that time, it felt like most people were in favor of that dumb War in Iraq and having a dissenting opinion on the matter wasn’t advised. So going to a theater full of people who were mad about the war and were proud to show it ended up being a powerful experience. If you had doubts about how many people were against the war, the theater experience helped provide a solid visual to all the dissenters out there. We weren’t alone, we were all pissed, and we were not going to be quiet about it.

Having just watched Fahrenheit 11/9 in the theater, there are some obvious differences between the two. And some similarities.

First, the differences. In 2004 Michael Moore told me more things that were new. Before the instant breaking news provided by iPhone alerts and Twitter feeds, or the in-depth coverage by Vice News and John Oliver, Michael Moore’s deep dive was key because it was fresh. And the political podcast wasn’t as prevalent. So where else would the alternative viewpoint be found? Also at that time, I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to the despair of war in the air. Going to the theater to see the film seemed just as constructive as anything else. There wasn’t a wave of new and exciting candidates at every level. Activism wasn’t everywhere. Knocking doors, signing postcards, calling voters, those things were there but didn’t seem to carry the importance they do today. Why go see a movie when you can go march with the candidate who is running on the issues you can fully support? 

And then the similarities. The tone, the delivery, the wit, and the seriousness of the issues we all face. In this case, it happens to be not only about Trump, but also an American Dream that is slipping through the grasp of more and more people. And the ideals of America, the freedom and justice for all viewpoint we’ve never really had, well we’re in danger of that never being full realized. We are moving into a corporate dystopia of dog-eat-dog capitalism that sells a livable future only to those who can afford it. Want to drink clean water? Want to be  safe from gun violence? Only if you can pay the premium price.  

I’ve always been a fan of Michael Moore. Especially Bowling for Columbine, Roger & Me, and Sicko, all of those are amazing documentaries worthy of being watched at least once. When people tell me they just don’t like that Michael Moore guy, I usually think they don’t like laughing at power. Because that’s what he does. He makes you laugh at the absurdity of power and once that happens, you can see the kinks in the armor. And then you can come up with a plan of attack you can use to take with you out into the world. That’s why he’s important. That’s why he matters. Go see his latest, and then go back through the catalog. It’s definitely worth your time.

The Poster Project

On National Voter Registration Day, in advance of the 2018 election on November 6th, Wide Eye launched a poster challenge:

… a broad cohort of American designers have gathered together to produce original works to help GOTV (Get Out The Vote!) and inspire people to the polls on election day. Voting and civic engagement have never been more important, and design and art have an important role to play. All posters below are shareable, downloadable, and printable on a Creative Commons license.

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How are things?

An alternative to good, frustrating, or busy. Some qualifiers:

Culturally
How are things going in the culture you’re living in? How’s your street? Your neighborhood? Your city? 

Politically
Local or national, how are the politics as you’re seeing them? What would you like them to be?

Professionally
How’s your work going? Is the day-to-day treating you well? How’s your career looking these days?

Personally
In your personal life, are you growing? Are you fulfilled? Are you living the life you want to live? 

I don’t like small talk. Who does? But I often peddle small talk without giving it much thought. It’s like a default. Which bums me out. So I want to be more intentional about my interactions. Having these 4 buckets top of mind, big and broad, I think gives enough of a prompt while allowing the details to be filled in depending on the person you’re talking with. Getting to more meaningful, casual conversation is something I’m concerned with. I can see this setup helping get there.