There is beauty if you SEE what you see.

 Paradoxes  Comments Off on There is beauty if you SEE what you see.
Sep 232016
 

Portrait of a black father with his children

I have watched way too much cable news this week. I have seen way too many ugly images.

Two black men splayed out on the ground, mortally wounded by police bullets. Hoards of angry black men taunting police in riot gear, breaking windows and throwing bottles. A clueless white woman proclaiming at a political event, “If you’re black and you haven’t been successful in the last 50 years, it’s your own fault. You’ve had every opportunity, it was given to you.”

I do not wish to overlook the ugliness. It is real, and we cannot dismiss it. Forgive me, though. I need to seek balance. I need to see beauty.

The irony is, I do see beauty around me every day. In my city, I see black and white people meeting the challenge of living together in tough circumstances with beautiful results.

I see black men preparing their children for life in an uneven world with love and courage. I see single mothers carefully packing their strollers and packages together while lovingly tending to their young children on a lurching city bus. I see white and black people helping each other and enjoying each other’s company.

I see people meeting the challenges of poverty, limited opportunity and racial inequity with courage and pride, and that is beautiful to me, despite the ugliness that may predicate each person’s circumstances.

I also see black and white people succeeding together in less challenged neighborhoods than my own. I see people of all races working together in successful careers, and I see artists, musicians, actors and dancers creating together with amazing results.

The beauty is there to see if we SEE what we see.

As a white woman, I cannot pretend to understand the experience of a black man or woman in American society. I cannot imagine what it is like to have your beauty overlooked with regularity, simply because your color is considered ugly by some. I cannot know how it feels to have your strength and character dismissed without a thought because some people presume you are a criminal simply because of your color.

I cannot fathom the despair that comes from knowing that no one listens until anguish turns to anger,  violence and destruction.

I can try, to understand, though. I can listen, and I can seek empathy. I can look for the beauty in each person that I meet, and I can celebrate it.

There is quiet, dignified beauty around us every day, but we ignore it. We seem to only pay attention to ugliness. I abhor violence, but I am beginning to understand why it emerges out of despair. If we allowed beauty to motivate change, the ugly would disappear.

Call me an idealist, but I believe beauty must be a part of our dialog towards change.

I may go unheard. I may go unnoticed. Even so, I want to celebrate the beauty I see. It is there, and it is what matters. I want to elevate it, in the hopes that recognizing beauty will help bring about change.

Will you join me?

Life is an Adventure!

BZTAT

 Contact me if you would like to add a print of the image above to your collection.

Prayer for September 11, 2001

 Paradoxes, purposes and ponderances  Comments Off on Prayer for September 11, 2001
Sep 112016
 

Prayer for September 11, 2001 drawing by BZTATPrayer for September 11, 2001

Dear God,

Today a part of my land

And a part of my people

Was reduced to a cloud of

Smoke, rubble and dust.

As the pain and dust linger,

Please help me to join hands

In peace, not rage,

With other spirits

Who seek to rise above.

 

I wrote this prayer in my journal on September 11, 2001. I created the drawing a couple of months later. It took me awhile to to recover my artistic balance after my world was so seriously shaken that day.

Each year, I post this prayer and drawing here on my blog in hopes that peace will overcome the rage that fills the hearts of many.

I am still hoping.

We always say we will never forget. My hope is that, someday, we will arise as we remember.

Today, 15 years later, I again join hands with kindred spirits. I remain hopeful.

Life is an Adventure!

BZTAT

 

Why #Imwithher.

 Paradoxes, purposes and ponderances  Comments Off on Why #Imwithher.
Jul 292016
 
Hillary Clinton #imwithher art by artist BZTAT

Art by BZTAT

I don’t often get political on this blog. Most of my artwork revolves around pet themes, so my writing here typically follows similar paths.

Today I am changing my norm. It is a historical day, and I feel that my art and my words need to acknowledge it.

It is a historical day because, for the first time in history, a woman has been nominated by a major political party as their candidate for president of the United States.

Let that sink in. A woman has been nominated by a major political party as their candidate for president of the United States.

She has been reviled. She has been castigated. She has been falsely accused of everything under the sun. She has been publicly humiliated for deeply personal family problems, then, ironically, she has been criticized for clinging to her need for privacy.

But she has prevailed. And #imwithher.

I have followed Hillary Clinton for many years. I have held admiration for her stands on healthcare, worldwide women’s rights, gun rights and many other issues. I was a therapist for children for 20 years, and I personally saw the impact of her efforts to get healthcare and other needed services for families. I cherished my copy of “It Takes a Village” for its wisdom and its prescience.

I have not liked everything about Hillary, but she has been on the correct side of the values and issues that matter most to me for a long time. She served as a United States senator and as the United States Secretary of State with honor and dignity. She managed to work with disparate parties to get things done on a national and a world stage. These are no small accomplishments.

Despite all that she has done, she has faced unbelievable criticism. Her motives have been questioned, and because she has done so much, she has been criticized for being an “insider”. Although her accomplishments have been awe-inspiring, her voice is considered “shrill” by some, and thus, her oratory skills have been pilloried.

But she has prevailed. And #imwithher.

Hillary has had an upward climb for everything she has gained. Even though she may have had privileged access in some circumstances because of her FLOTUS role, she has faced fierce opposition at every turn. She has endured criticism that no male candidate would ever face, yet she has continued to stand tall and march on.

Yes, she is a politician. Yes, she is an insider.  But as such, she has built coalitions and led people towards mutual goals. As much as we may despise it, that’s what it takes to create lasting change on a grand scale.

Hillary Clinton fits no ideal in the minds of Americans. She is a 69 year old woman who bears the scars of battle and carries the girth that most women gain as the years pass. She wears awkward pantsuits, and she sometimes fails to fuss up her makeup and hair. She is not “human enough” for some flashy TV commentators, and she is not hip enough for the Twitterverse.

But over time, she has prevailed. And #imwithher.

I like Hillary, because she has fought long and hard for causes that matter. She has absorbed herself in the details that most of us disdain, because someone had to do it, and because she was good at it. She has not led with her own personality as some would like her to do, rather, she has led by mobilizing others towards important concerns. She has focused on what mattered, and not on prettying herself up for the cameras.

Whatever her motives, and whatever her purposes, Hillary has worked tirelessly for the common good. As opportunist as some may call her, she has earned more grief than she has gained pleasure or undeserved power. Even so, she has a track record of accomplishment that few can match.

Whatever you think of Hillary Clinton, she is not the Claire Underwood character from House of Cards that she has been portrayed to be. She is not a conniving and selfish female caricature whose singular focus is power. Whatever her motives, she has committed herself to service, and she has many people standing by her and thanking her for it.

And despite all, she has prevailed. And #imwithher.

Hillary Clinton has faced down the bitterest of critics and she is still standing. Not only is she still standing, she is continuing to fight for what she believes is right. She is uniquely talented with the political skills that perhaps we all hate, but the ones that it takes to get things done. Lets not be naive. Our next president needs to be able to work within the system our founders created, and she needs to be able to enlist the support of others to do it.

That is why #imwithher, and why I am committed to helping her to prevail in November.

I feel strongly about Hillary Clinton as a candidate on her own merits. My desire to see her win the presidency, however, is heightened by the frightening possibility of her opponent winning. In my 54 years on this earth, I have never before witnessed a candidate presenting danger to the presidency like Donald Trump does. I have disliked candidates before, and I have feared the directions that their policies might take us. But I have never seen a candidate whose behavior is so reckless and whose ideas are so far away from our country’s values.

Hillary Clinton MUST prevail in November. 

#Iamwithher. I hope that, even if she is not your ideal candidate, you will find it within yourself to vote for her to.

Life is an Adventure!

BZTAT