Sunday, November 06, 2005

Demise of Democracy--the Sequel

Remember, Bush, we talked a few weeks ago about the process of jurying an exhibition for the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, "The Demise of Democracy"? I wrote back then about the difficult choices to be made in deciding what work to include, and what to turn down. Well, the show opened last night, and I was delighted not only with the choices I'd made, but with the entire installation. A lot of good work, a lot of good insights into political and social issues, a lot of poking fun--some good-natured, some less so, and some frankly angry--at what's happening in the country today.

A good crowd, too. Ellie was taken ill during the day--perhaps with some post-travel intestinal bug--and was not well enough for the event, but I met up with my daughter, Sarah, and her friend, Ed, and the three of us enjoyed the show, and the evening in that small quarter of Santa Ana where the arts are flourishing. The Chicano presence was particularly evident last night, with celebrations of the Day of the Dead (a few days late by Mexican standards, but timed to take advantage of the weekend.) Lots of shrines set up in the alleys, along with raucous music, street theater, and a fashion show on the plaza. You could almost think you were back in San Miguel de Allende.

You could almost think, too, that democracy was thriving in Santa Ana last night--despite the pessimism of those artists in the gallery. Almost. The people were certainly out on the streets. There was talk, and laughter, and general celebration. If only I hadn't arrived there, Bush, after reading the day's papers and listening to the news--the best part of which were the images of Charles and Camilla up there in Bolinas, honoring that small corner of America as the center of organic farming.

Good for Charles, I say, to bring international attention to the work and dedication of these people who are as yet far out of the mainstream but who may, hopefully, prove the pioneers of a healthier and more environmentally responsible future for all of us. We could use more of them. Whole armies, in fact, to provide an alternative to your outrageously subsidized corporate heavyweights of agriculture, whose success derives from poisoning our biological systems with pesticides and growth-promoting chemicals. So sad that Charles has been treated by the media as a nut case for his long-practised dedication to the production of good, healthy food. Wish you'd listen to him, Bush, instead of the folks who seem to think that money trumps nature every time.

No comments: