In Our Time of Need: Protest Art

 

 

On Tuesday November 8, 2016 the United States voted in a new president — one that rallied citizens with hate, anger, racism, bigotry, and violence. Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States, and with that begins the country’s term with our first unqualified president.

We had eight years of an administration promising hope, a vague yet optimistic goal. Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton promised progress for all genders and races. To the general public, it was all more of the same. The same faces running the same corrupt system and they wanted change. Trump’s own slogan, Make America Great Again, is equally vague, but it is a promise of change, or regression to a former body, one romanticised by middle America. He is the first president to have no governing experience. For better or for worse, this is change that will effect the whole world.

Trump used traditional media as well as social platforms to propel his image and control the discourse, but those outlets have yet to find a voice to comment back with. During the administration of Ronald Reagan, the booming punk scene set out to scorn and discuss their distrust of Mr. Reagan through art, music, and events. The voice was that of harsh criticism by a country mislead and lied to. It was a valuable effort, to bring youth and those together who were angered and disgruntled over a government they could not do anything about.

 

 

Rock Against Reagan gig poster | artist unknown

Rock Against Reagan gig poster | artist unknown

 

 

Art can be decorative, funny, clever, or just show us new images of things we already love, but as a country, as a man, I need more from it. Give me a flag to stand behind, something that speaks for those of us under the rule of a man we disagree with. This isn’t hate, this is protest. No fighting, but understanding. What will our creatives do now that there is a political figure worthy of an artist’s analysis?

I had faith in my country to vote against Trump, a dictator in the making, but instead they embraced the anger and darkness Trump espouses for the opportunity of an unknown change. Now, what do I turn to? Where is the music and community that speaks out against his ideology? What does my sadness and anger become? How do we heal? I want to have faith in my country again. I want a valid reason for hope and optimism.

In Reagan’s ’80s there were very few ways of having your voice heard in protest. Homemade stickers and flyers, underground shows, but with the ability of social media to spread an idea, this is the time to create imagery that cements a voice of revolt on Trump’s presidency. Good art is a sad consolation for the threat of a ruined Earth, but when a voice in the crowd is all you have, use it.

 

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2 thoughts on “In Our Time of Need: Protest Art

  1. A revolution just occurred. You missed it because you had your head too far up the mainstream media’s ass to see what was really happening – not very punk rock of you. I’m an artist, designer and creative director and I like your site. You’re entitled to your views, but know this – 99% of the people voting for Trump are decent, hard-working, patriotic Americans that gave people like you, the media, mega corps, big banks and wallstreet, the hollywood elite, radicalized islamist countries, the military industrial complex, the DC elite (both sides), social media trolls, and smug hipster millenials THE MIDDLE FINGER AND A HUGE FUCK YOU.

    1. I agree. Once I saw Trump mock the disabled reporter and go so far to disrespect John McCain’s POW status I, and a lot of other folks, assumed there was no way he could get any votes. Add the misogyny and his thoughts of giving Muslims ID cards and a database, ugh. Yeah, the mainstream media (and I with them) didn’t understand that people would look beyond all that and still support him. I totally acknowledge my own smugness in that regard.

      Total side note — I’m starting a separate site with interviews of everyday people at https://faithinstrangers.com/ — if you’d like to be a subject feel free to contact me at chris@eviltender.com — this is nothing political or anything, just an attempt to offer a look at individual lives free of opinion and comment. Give the site a read and if you’re up for it shoot me an email. Again, appreciate your thoughts!

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