With the celebration of May Day on May 1st now behind us, several conflicting thoughts went through my head yesterday as I read and watched the news accounts of the wide spread protesting related to the recent passage of Arizona's new immigration law now in effect. To learn more about this law and its many current ramifications just Google "Arizona Immigration Law".
My first thought was how as a child in elementary school the celebration of May Day was a really big deal for both students and teachers that was widely anticipated and involved a great deal of planning and organization. Not only was there the English tradition of moving around a maypole to which we were tied with streamers, we were all encouraged to assume a different cultural identity complete with associated costume. As I can best recall, one year I was an Indian with war paint and feathers, another year I was a Chinese man, complete with black beanie cap and attached pigtail, and then another year I was a Mexican with a sombrero. Now, of course, the accepted descriptions are Native American, Asian and Latino respectively, but the prevailing attitude even back then was to learn about, accept, embrace and celebrate the various cultures in our world as a positive and welcoming experience. That's what our May Day circa 1950 was all about.
Today, however, I get the nagging feeling that yesterday's May Day demonstrations highlight a prevailing trend toward a most unwelcoming attitude about a whole host of cultures not just limited to illegal aliens. Granted, there is no way I can fully appreciate what our southwestern border states, including Arizona, are having to contend with as hundreds, if not thousands, of people flow into our country on a daily basis with no legal right to be here, not to mention the added demands and costs that their presence creates on these states. And then there are the obvious national security concerns that this tidal wave of people raise in this precarious and frightening time. So, I understand and agree with the concept of protecting our national borders at all costs. The question is how do you do that and not sacrifice the very personal freedoms which so distinguish our country and have helped create this magnetic attraction for people from all over the world? This is where the conflict arises for me. On one hand I want strict and unwavering control of our borders. But on the other hand I want that control applied with a measure of fairness and equity. I guess my quandary is best expressed in selected words from that great Stealers Wheel song from 1974, I'm "Stuck in the middle....with Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, here I am". Enjoy the entire song at http://youtube.com/watch?v=jpWzbZGk3eA&feature=related. On second thought, maybe my subject should be about "mayday, mayday, mayday", not May Day!
Continuing with my artists and gallery recognition, the current list includes:
Laura Raborn at http://paintingsofhome.com and http://claygifts.com
Jim Johnson at http://yessy.com/jimjohnson/gallery.html
Russ Powell at http://powellphotos.com
Linda Flake at http://lindaflake.com
Tom Herrin at http://tommysart.blogspot.com
Local Colour Gallery at http://localcolourgallery.com
Chroma Gallery at http://chromagallery.com
Cantrell Gallery at http://cantrellgallery.com
Greg Thompson Fine Art at http://gregthompsonfineart.com