The 2018 Election, Daniel's Visit, & Finding Your Voice
If you’re standing on top of one of the tallest buildings in the city, every other one will look short. There’s a pretty big difference between a 16-story building and an 8-story building, but if you’re on the 200th floor, it won’t look that way to you.
That’s the analogy Hans Rosling uses in Factfinder to talk about how people in developed nations tend to view poorer countries. There’s a much broader spectrum of lifestyles out there. There’s a big difference between dollar-a-day living in Central Africa and earning $90 each week by driving a taxi moped around Delhi.
I recently started poking around his Gapminder website a bit. Gapminder.org/dollar-street has the coolest visual matrix of the way families live at different income levels in various different countries. This sort of thing never fails to capture my curiosity. There’s so much more to the world than our daily experiences might lead us to believe.
The 2018 Election
Voting is easily the coolest way to get a sticker that I can think of– and also, it can be an act of love.
As a US citizen, my vote has an impact that’s felt around the world. A vote in a US election just might be the most impactful around the world. It’ll impact people in hospital beds. It’ll impact people who have lost everything due to war. It’ll impact those in hospital beds, in unemployment lines, or in need of mental health care. It’ll impact the environment, soil, and our ability to grow enough food. It’ll impact the kids who live down the block from somebody who really shouldn’t own a gun. It’ll impact the kids who witness what happens to adults who abuse, assault, or bully.
How did I get such a privilege? It was hard earned by people who came before me. It’s a privilege I might not have had for about 80% of the country’s history. I was born in the right place and right time to have this sort of privilege.
Voting isn’t always easy. Some issues are complicated and tricky, others are a little more plain. But I believe that I’m blessed with what I have so I can give it away- and that includes my vote. I believe that it would be terrible stewardship to not use it.
Vote as a responsibility. Vote as a prayer. Vote as an act of love.
Remembering Roy Halladay
A year ago today, one of my all time favorite ballplayers was killed in a plane crash. Roy Halladay gave me some of the most exciting moments cheering for the Phillies— and you know you can’t always take those for granted.
Halladay had the best work ethic I’ve seen in an athlete. Here’s a sketch I made as tribute.
One of my most steadily growing beliefs is this: Lasting change happens through long-term, committed, sustainable actions.
I’m not a believer in overnight fixes.
While seeing the election results come in, I was bummed to see how many candidates I was cheering for come so close to winning while falling short. I was also thrilled by a lot of other races, surprise wins, and that sort of a thing. What a mixed bag.
Ultimately, I’m happy to see all the firsts. The increase in women represented. The turnout from the under 30 crowd nearly tripling from 2014. I think these might be better indicators of long term change than any one candidate’s victory.
Elections are extremely important, but I think they simply take a snapshot of attitudes and values that are always evolving. This one reminds me that there is a lot to celebrate, and a lot more that needs to be done to encourage empathy.
Keep at it, friends.
We Must Be Concerned
Sadly, the shooting in Thousand Oaks wasn’t the first time one of these hit pretty close to home.
The line dancing community on the Central Coast is a surprisingly vibrant one. I couldn’t go a week without getting invited to go out line dancing. I never fell head over heels for it the way a lot of friends did, but I loved the way everyone at bars just like Borderline were always welcoming, warm, and happy to share the steps.
It feels like we’ve been trapped in a stalemate where nothing happens to prevent the next one, but I still believe that it doesn’t have to be this way and that it won’t be this way forever.
When that change comes, I will be unbelievably happy. But the road to get there isn’t an easy one. I’m with MLK on this one, it’ll take big picture thinking, concern, and looking beyond ourselves.
We’re having a sleepover this weekend and it’s gonna be dope!
Finding Your Voice
A long post about finding your creative voice:
As a maker, once you find your voice, so many things fall in place. People know what you’re about and can meet your enthusiasm with their own.
I’m still a work in progress as far as that goes, but I think this year I’ve taken some good steps.
Without finding your own voice, the temptation is to just mimic the stuff you admire. But if you push further into that, it might actually help you develop your voice. You just have to dissect the things you admire and figure out why you like them.
When it comes to visual art, I’ve always been fond of blues folk art, a bit like this painting at Prince’s. I also like a little bit of propaganda print style pieces (think Shepard Fairey) or the types of murals you might find on storefronts and walls in Mexico or South Africa.
Those styles are pretty different, but they have some aesthetics in common. Thicker lines, lots of human subjects, focused colors. In popular use, these styles reflect community, fighting injustice, and preserving marginalized culture. Because of that, bold lines, selective color schemes, and drawn portraits get associated with that style.
The work I enjoy doing most is work that reminds us of the value of human lives and culture, and the importance of fighting for justice joyfully. And so I like to adopt those visual styles that match.
This approach isn’t limited to visual art. It can work for music, writing, cooking, costuming, or any sort of craft. Once you find the way to speak to the world that’s unique to you, good things happen.