I fancy myself as a bit of an artist — in my spare time, I pop some wine, and ease the week’s stress with my paint brushes. Nothing motivates me to improve in my hobby more than browsing through examples of high quality watercolor pieces. I dabble with oils, but watercolor is both the style of painting and the medium that really gets me going.
I recently spoke with my fiancée about why I love watercolor so much as a medium, and it got me thinking. Among the many reasons, I realized that watercolor always feels like a mystery. Despite the brushstrokes often being simple, or even repetitive, there’s always something more to discover underneath its natural cloudiness and within its abstract shapes and lines.
In the world of mainstream politics, we tend to ignore the dynamic we appreciate from art and, as opposed to art, the same dynamic within the political world often represents very dark and unsavory realities.
This is the nature of the political beast. Buried within each facet of the American political environment, there is more than meets the eye. Yes, there are the usual left versus right sides to every debate, but those arguments tend to focus themselves around ideals that are assumed to be righteous; that our elected leaders are doing what they consider right, ethical, and conducive to the progress and ultimate success of the public. All the bickering of that debate is representative of the ironing out of minor details surrounding positive legislation.
I simply refuse to see things this way, however. The abstract of the Beltway does not hide beautiful things like the paintings I look at in museums. I would even argue that politics fails to exhibit beautiful things on its surface.
While President-Elect Trump is making his cabinet selections, and almost every one of his choices (or candidates for selection) gets smeared as a racist, a xenophobe, a misogynist, or a homophobe by the political left, I click through a folder on my computer of some of my favorite watercolor pieces and think about the concept of human nature. How we, as individuals with incredibly unique talents and minds, can train ourselves to refuse to consider what lies within the abstract; to ignore political history, to hold steadfast to prescribed emotions or feelings.
Today’s progressive left is the epitome of what it means to stick to a playbook and shut the door on that layer of abstract in return for comfort. Our place in the world as a nation, however, is not comfortable. The average American is not comfortable. Progressives are so stuck on being comforted and turning America into a safe space that they refuse to accept what is real. All the while, they contend that they remain the last beacon of hope for freedom of thought and diversity of the mind.
It is comical to me that talk of a cabinet appointment is almost immediately followed by “and this is why they’re racist”, while Democrats have entirely ignored the racism their party was built upon and survived by for the better part of two hundred years.
How is it that people often claim Donald Trump is a racist by referencing feeble claims and examples (or hoaxes), while ignoring the explicit decline of African American communities under President Obama and his recent campaigning wherein he all but told black people that they had to vote for Clinton because they were black?
How can Black Lives Matter and its liberal supporters talk about institutional racism, without taking ownership for and recognizing who created or voted for that Institution in the first place? Why do progressives so often tout the legacy of a feminist like Margaret Sanger, while ignoring her desire to terminate a black population she deemed undesirable? How can pundits predict the coming apocalypse of Trump foreign policy and global engagement while ignoring a decade of the most embarrassingly weak foreign policy positions we have witnessed in American history?
The answer to these questions is anything but abstract, or mysterious. Progressives, for far too long, have turned marginalizing critical thinking into a science. Competing ideas are only welcomed when they promote things that are even more progressive than they already are.
While the 2016 Election was still up for grabs, the focus of the left was on Trump supporters– we were uneducated, selfish, racist, immoral, and bigoted. Nothing we said during that time could have been motivated by compassion or empathy. We were the enemies of the progressive brand of “progress”, which was little more than the name they gave to their own emotional, idealistic failures.
Now that progressives lost the battle in the polls, they have turned their focus on anything and everyone that comes within ten feet of the President Elect’s administration; they are lashing out, and are in the last stages of their tantrums upon losing everything that they, and their President, stand for. That tantrum will persist for the next eight years, undoubtedly, and that’s okay with us.
It is okay because those who finally had enough of perpetual mediocrity and governance under progressive fear tactics turned the outdated political world from a painting of red and blue into an incredible watercolor. The current tantrum of the political left is nothing compared to the battle we have already won. The movement threw away the norms of yesteryear and taught us that you can disagree with someone at times in the realm of policy, but continue to support their overall goal of bringing positive change to the nation and putting America first above all else. We said “no” to simply accepting that things were alright because a president regarded as a deity by the left said they were, and we put paint thinner to the idea that progressive ideals were anything but regressive. Though it was a long time coming, a movement that came together and delivered a Trump victory in a little over a year of work has changed the artwork hanging in our political gallery forever.
Today, if you rely upon your ingrained political leanings as you did during the Obama Administration, you’re finished. Cry as you might because you dislike President-Elect Trump but to challenge his appointments, or his ideas, for any reason other than what they bring to the table is political suicide. We should all consider ourselves blessed that we now exist within a political world that allows us to see beyond simple, limited color palettes and it would be wise of progressives to consider picking up a new brush.