This is quite a day to be writing my blog: the day of President Trump’s inauguration. By the time I release this post he will already be our President. I’ve made a choice not to watch his being sworn into office as seeing him in action affects me in an extremely negative way. I am repulsed by that man and the things he stands for, and I’m devastated that he now officially occupies the most powerful office in the world. Devastated is an understatement.
In the weeks since the election I’ve stopped watching the news entirely. I simply cannot stomach any footage of him, or the endless speculation, or the reactionary, sensational, and unhealthy state of journalism on TV. However, I’ve stayed informed via print media as much as I can handle, opting for sources I can trust like The New York Times, Washington Post, and some European print media to give me a different perspective. I also stay informed through a fantastic weekly radio show called Women’s Media Center Live with Robin Morgan, which gives me a decidedly feminist point of view on what’s going on in the world. I’m aware of what’s going on, but I’m protecting myself. There’s only so much of this political climate I can take.
Lately I find myself listening to more music, reading more books, watching more great movies. Limiting my time watching TV or scouring social media I’ve found more time for meaningful pursuits. In my free time I’m cooking comforting soups while listening to classic albums, and I’m more drawn to timeless, historically significant art than I have been in a while. In fact, art is an acute necessity for me currently, in a way that it hasn’t been for a while. In a world order that felt more safe to me, art still felt like a necessity. Now, it’s a means for every day survival.
I’ve been here before. My life was held afloat by music for most of my life. Without it I would not have survived. Only in recent years has it been a looser garment for me to wear. Now I’m again getting bundled up in it. If there’s anything positive that’s coming out of this awful situation the world is now in, it’s that. Great art is becoming even more important than it has been for a while, and I hope that respect for great artists will follow.
From today on, for at least 4 years, we have an authoritarian government in the US. And as we know, the first targets of any authoritarian government are journalists and artists. The war on both has already begun. I for one will fight President Trump and his goons however I can. I applaud all the artists who refused to perform at his inauguration. What a powerful message of defiance! The way I see it, we as artists have the responsibility to defend truth in times like these. When it comes to the inauguration––mission accomplished. Artists are not having any of this.
Tomorrow I’ll be joining the Women’s March in New York City, and in two weeks I’ll take the stage at The Bowery Electric again for my Artist-In-Residence Concert Series. For me these are equally potent forms of resistance. I cannot now differentiate between my world-view and my artistry––they are connected. They always were. It’s just that now some of the music that I’ve been writing has a different ring to it. It rings true, for this very moment. I’d found my defiance and my anger way before this President took office, and I’m grateful for that. I’ve fought against injustices in my personal life for a while now. I won’t shy away from fighting the same issues on a larger scale. I’m as ready as I can ever be for it.