Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: justice

Making progress . . .

The Artdog Image of Interest

Have we made progress? Some. Could we improve more? Undoubtedly.

How has life changed for black Americans?

From Visually.

In matters of equity and social justice, no picture is ever static, and progress is always relative. This infographic was created in 2014, so the data is already 5 years old or older. But this is a moderately recent snapshot of where we stand. 

I normally celebrate February as “Social Justice February” in a nod to Black History Month. But remember that--as with feminism–greater social justice makes the world a better place for ALL of us. 

IMAGE: Many thanks to Visually and the team of Noureen Saira, designer, and Elliott Smith, writer, via University of Phoenix, for this infographic “snapshot.”

Counting our . . . you’re kidding, right?

As I write this, we are one week and counting away from the most feared and dreaded election in recent memory. The news stories and commentary, and all too often our social media, email inboxes, offices and homes are rife with discord and polarization.

Seems like a strange time to talk about gratitude for blessings.

Yet, here we are at the dawn of November, the month of Thanksgiving. Traditionally, this is a time for Harvest, for in-gathering and coming together, and yes, for a time of meditation upon our blessings.

As you’ve possibly noticed, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I’ve been following monthly themes in the images, quotes, and at least some of the articles I’ve been posting this year. Months ago, in my editorial calendar, it seemed a good idea to make this month’s theme “Creatively Grateful.”

I’m not sure what I was thinking. It’s certainly true that many of us are gonna have to get real creative to find anything at all to be grateful for, in this scorched, cratered battlefield of a social discourse.

Or so it seems, at first knee-jerk.

It’s true things have been tough, lately. We’re only gradually pulling out of a “jobless” recovery, and income disparity is wider now than many realize. Worse, that disparity may be polarizing us into ideological ‘tribes,’driving us further and further apart.

But with all these forces driving us apart, how can we buck that trend, and work together?

I’d like to start by invoking, with gratitude, the bedrock values that we’ve used as a guide and touchstone in the past: that we’re all created equal, that we all have certain rights, including the right to be heard, to follow our conscience, and to think for ourselves. We can’t dictate how others must believe–and, just as important–no one else can dictate how we must believe. 

Whatever happened to justice for all, and innocent until proven guilty? Whatever happened to generosity, and neighbor helping neighbor? Whatever happened to reaching across the aisle, and working for the common good?

We can reclaim those values. We can demand them. We can live them, no matter what others do. And when we consistently live them, we can change the climate of our social and political lives.

But first we must look beyond our fearful little tribes and realize we’re all just people. We may not see eye-to-eye on all things, but we also know that blood in the streets is not the road to peace. There is a more excellent way.

It starts with gratitude for our society’s foundations, and it blossoms into respect for our fellow citizens.

Let’s be grateful for an institutional framework that has kept our elections mostly un-rigged, our successions of power mostly peaceful, and our rule of law–while clearly not flawless–founded upon a thirst for true justice.

Let’s extend a hand, and curb our impulses to name-call and denigrate each others’ ethics or intelligence. We can do better. Let’s make that roll-call of blessings. Let’s remember the vital ties that bind us together–even now.

We can do well by ourselves, our neighbors, our political allies and opponents. We can do well by our country. Hope yet abides, and blessings abound. Can you count them?

IMAGES: Many thanks to The Sustainable Leader, for the “political tug-of-war” image, and to Lori Rosenberg for the meeting-of-hands image, and Hideaki Matsui for the handshake photo.

Who and where are the “Good Cops”?

This week’s Artdog Image of Interest is a Video:

Today I’d like to share my little platform with a guy whose Internet identity is “Mike the Cop.” He’s part of the Humanizing the Badge organization, which is doing its part to share a perspective on law enforcement officers that we don’t always get from the media.

If we’re genuinely interested in exploring the extent of our diversity, then this is ALSO a minority who should be heard from. So if you’re willing to listen, Mike has some concise, true and important things to say about “Good Cops.”

VIDEO: Many thanks to Mike the Cop’s YouTube channel for this video, to Humanizing the Badge for helping me find it, and to the vast majority of our law enforcement officers, who serve every day and do their best always to be good cops.

Happy Birthday, USA!

The Artdog Quote of the Week: 

 I think there has never been a time when the great experiment of democracy in the United States has not been enduring a test of one kind or another, and this period in history is certainly no exception. 
 
We’re currently mired in an ideological struggle between ever-more-sharply-divided factions, each of which perceives the country to be in peril–but the perils they perceive are much different from each other, and the struggle threatens once again to tear us apart (or did we forget the Civil War?).
 
Wherever you stand on the threats and forces that work within and outside our nation to do us harm, I hope that on this anniversary of the United States of America you will (prayerfully, if that fits your spiritual practice) consider how to nurture the strengths inherent in our centuries-long affirmation of human rights and human dignity.
 

 We haven’t always gotten it right, in the USA. Lord knows, we aren’t perfect. But the idea endures, the hope persists. As long as we look for ways to make tomorrow better, we can  hope that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was right when he said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” 
 
It’s important to look back into our history for guidance, but we must remember that there never was a golden age when everything was perfect. We still have yet to form a union that couldn’t get any more perfect.
 
By all means, please enjoy the Fourth. Put on a parade. Break bread with friends, neighbors and family. Deck the porch with bunting, and tonight may you have fireworks, and have them abundantly.
 

But once you pick up the cares and duties of your world again, give a thought to the ideals expressed in the sonnet by Emma Lazarus on the base of the Statue of Liberty:
 

There’s a popular quote (from Pope Paul VI), “If you want peace, work for justice.” Like most slogans, it’s a little simplistic, but it conveys a truth we’d be wise to heed. 
 
In the days to come, please remember that “liberty and justice for ALL” part, from the traditional Pledge of Allegiance. If we all do that, we might just pass our current test without losing our nation’s soul.
 
IMAGES: Many thanks to Marketing Artfully for the image with the flags and the Peter Marshall quote; to the National Constitution Center for the photo of the title of the Bill of Rights; to All Posters for the photo of Grucci fireworks in the sky over the Statue of Liberty; and to Daily Inspiration for the graphic of the Emma Lazarus sonnet (please note this image is part of an interesting article about the poem that adorns the base of the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island).

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén