It’s election eve in the United States in the year 2020 and I think it is fair to say that everyone is anxious about the outcome of the election. I’ve tried, on thecraftylawyer, to focus on art and how it brings us together, but I’ve never been exactly quiet about my political beliefs. After all, you can check out some of the past posts on our annual Halloween displays. Going all the way back to 2004 (Go Kerry Potter!) to 2018 (Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue) we make a political Halloween display each election year. and keep it up till the election is over to encourage people to vote.
We use humor to get out the vote but I think building the display is also a very tangible way for my family to stand up for what we believe in. Over the years, many people have told me that they just aren’t creative and don’t know how we come up with our ideas, but I think most people don’t give themselves enough credit. The world is an infinitely creative place and each and every one of you reading this is inherently creative. One of the ways we show our creativity is by voting.
What’s that you say? Voting is creative? Come on, it may take some creativity to actually figure out how to get to the polls ( and you have figured that out, right? If not, go to Iwillvote.com) but where’s the art in voting itself ?
Well, think about it. Voting is an expression of what you believe. It may be an imperfect expression, because perhaps you don’t agree with everything that the people you select stand for, but it is nonetheless the product of your own engagement with the ideas and the issues of the day. To me, that is exactly what creativity is–one looks at the world from a particular angle and tries to share that with fellow human beings. I do that through quirky jewelry and giant Halloween displays, but I do it more quietly, too, through things like reading about the issues, talking with friends, LISTENING, and then coming to conclusions about who I will support to lead my city and country (alas, no state yet for the District of Columbia, where I live).
People are creative whenever they use their hearts and their minds to express themselves, whether at the ballot box or in their front yards.
2020 has tested our creativity in new and unusual ways. The tragedies of this year, from the pandemic to the police brutality that unleashed powerful, passionate national protests have forced different ways of communicating upon us. Shortly after the lockdowns began in March, teddy bears appeared in windows, people offered up words of encouragement via yard signs and displays, and “thank you” became a powerful statement of support to essential workers. Zoom call etiquette and backgrounds became “things” and face masks became an outlet for expression.
By the summer of 2020, people turned their creative force to the systemic racism and injustice that lives on in this country. Protest always provokes powerful, creative expressions of grief and outrage, but also of hope. People dragged their homemade signs to rallies, and started making their front porches and city streets testaments to the endurance of black people in this country and expressions of hope for better and more just days to come.
So by the time we hit prime election season, people were becoming ever more creative with their individual voices. They kept up their Black Lives Matter signs and added others, including clever things like “Bye, Don” to their front yards. Whether they realized it or not, these simple statements were actually the heart and sole of creativity.
Democracy itself is an endless act of creation, one that only grows and stays strong if we all contribute our voices.
And now it’s time to finish the final art project of 2020. Use your voice to make this world a better place. As you make your choice, ask yourself this–if voting is a creative act, what does it mean to vote for someone who has spent four years tearing down the country?
You matter. Your vote matters. And you can use it both to express yourself and to help create the next page in our democracy. Please vote.