How Nate Convinced Me of the Importance of Warnock and Ossoff
I think we can all agree that the year 2020 was a horrible one.
As in the absolute worst.
Speaking only for myself, the possibility of a Trump reelection, the murder and terrorizing of people of color by the police, and decimation of life and livelihoods by the Covid19 pandemic, represented a trifecta of pain and suffering that threatened both my psyche and physical being.
Thankfully, as a professional illustrator I could speak to the unrest in my own inimitable catharsis inducing style.
Combining the importance of wearing a mask with the importance of embracing Medicare 4 All, while millions lose their health insurance in a pandemic? Check.
Paint my rage and my sorrow at the murdering of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice and so many others too numerous to count, at the hands of the police? Check.
Paint the anger of the Black Lives Matter movement, and subsequent DEMANDS that municipalities, towns and cities across this country must take to insure the lives of people of color are respected and protected as much as any Karen on the street? Chief among those demands is that “Snappy slogan” Defund the Police? Check.
Paint my dismay at Black entertainers like K__nye, excuse me, Kanye willing to throw in league with a racist and fascist that spent the entirety of his presidency vilifying and making the lives of people of color more difficult? Check.
Paint my umbrage over Mitch McConnell and Republican Senators who thought installing a new conservative Supreme Court Judge over passing much needed stimulus in a pandemic? And in what universe does a single payment of $1200 mitigate a year’s worth of economic misery? Well… check to THAT too.
So fast-forward to two weeks ago, with the loss of Donald Trump’s reelection bid already in my rear view mirror. With the pile of dead bodies steadily rising and an incredibly depressed economy, especially for Black people, things weren’t exactly looking UP, but with at least one dragon slain, things hadn’t gotten any worse.
That’s when I got the text.
It was from my friend Nate! He was familiar with my political paintings and asked if I intended to do something to promote Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. To be clear, I knew the importance of the runoff senatorial races in Georgia happening on January 5th 2021. After the presidential election, these two races were becoming the most important for Democrats. Winning the seats meant controlling the Senate.
Here’s the thing, I appreciated the text from Nate, but I was ready to move on. In all honesty I was tired of the social/political works. They were emotionally draining. The pieces never came from a place of me WANTING to do them. But rather a NEED to do them. Say what you will about the year 2020, but history was unfolding… Not incrementally, but with lightning speed. I kinda felt duty bound to bear witness. To hope that the work would meet the moment.
I Politely texted Nate back, and said no, I don’t think I would. I told him I missed him and to stay safe in New York City.
But the races REALLY are important. Important on so many levels. I know Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff would be good for Georgia, certainly better than the woman trying to capitalize off a pandemic and trade off stocks to enrich her portfolio while simultaneously trying to restrict people’s healthcare. In a “whole” pandemic, as my friends would say. Certainly better than the dude who’s too scared to show up for a debate. Apparently he’s too scared to show for much of anything. And Black people in Georgia need their Senators to SHOW UP FOR THEM.
As important as all that was, I was looking past the state of Georgia. I was embracing what the ramifications of a Democrat controlled Senate really meant. As much as I wished I were still living in New York City, for the moment I am a Virginian. As a result, I’ve had a front row seat as to what can be accomplished without major Republican obstruction. The recent signing of the No-Knock Breonna’s Law is just the latest example of what can be done.
I can see the potential of what lies beyond. Beyond Republicans not having the ability to obstruct Biden at every turn for the next two years. Beyond them not being able to campaign in the midterms in 2022 on why nothing was done, all the while embracing austerity. Sorry, I know the damn playbook by now.
With no Republicans to contend with, the real battles would be between centrists and my fellow left leaning progressives. One battle remains on the forefront of my mind. Court expansion. There is a path to honor, at least in spirit, the wishes of RBG. But to do that Warnock and Ossoff must win both their Senate races. To be frank, I feel that Mitch McConnell thinks the Democrats are bluffing. They don’t have the intestinal fortitude to make good on their threat. I think he’s right. I also think, progressives have the power to push the narrative. I think they have the ability to channel the anger of the people. The anger at Republican hypocrisy that culminated with the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.
Again, speaking only for myself, I want Democrats to find at least four of the most progressive, Blackest, Brownest, Gayest, differently abled lawyers they can find to ascend to the mantle of Supreme Court judge and sit their asses right next to the Handmaiden. Once I was honest with myself, that on a primal level this is what I wanted, not matter how unlikely that reality might be… that’s when I knew. I knew I had to text Nate, and inform him I had reversed my position. They say, you must visualize what you want, and in my own small way I intended to do just that.
All year I drew and painted thought provoking albeit uncomfortable and triggering imagery. I pissed a lot of people off, and I was proud of that. The work was designed to invoke a visceral response, no matter whether you were in agreement with the subject matter… or against it.
But for this new piece I wanted to create something forward thinking. Something that would invoke optimism and would embrace a brighter future.
So of course I had nothing. Zilch. Nada.
It wasn’t like me to have creator’s block, and of late I’ve had zero problems with bringing concepts to fruition, so this felt weird.
Again, optimism. Looking towards the future. Star Trek.
Let’s face it, I can’t think of another IP that exemplifies those traits better than Trek. So for inspiration I Googled Star Trek movie posters, and from there it wasn’t long before I had my idea. Let’s channel the Star Trek’s original movie poster design, in combination with elements of the Next Generation’s First Contact poster, which clearly took its cues from the original.
So following the formula of both the posters I needed three individuals front and center. The first two were obvious. The whole point of the exercise was to promote Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. But who would be the third? I briefly thought of Biden, which really didn’t sit well with me. Following through with the source material, the third needed to be a woman. This is all about Georgia, and you can’t talk about Biden’s win of the state without giving Stacey Abram’s her damn flowers. I mean, if there was ever person to put Mike Bloomberg’s money to good use, it was Abrams.
My husband wasn’t big on the idea. He felt inserting her gave the impression that she was a “King Maker”. But. For all intent and purposes… she IS a king maker. I was ambivalent to either option, so I decided to text the man who led me down this path in the first place.
As I was waiting for a response from Nate, I told my dilemma to my Mother-in-law. I conveyed that the origins of the piece started with Ruth Bader Ginsberg. “Then why don’t you use her?” Why not indeed. Nate came back with the expected answer. But for my part there would be a fourth person on the poster.
Every movie poster needs a tag line. ‘Fight For the Future’ seems apropos. As of this writing 17 traitorous, seditious attorney generals representing 17 red states are suing to overturn an election where the candidate won both the Electoral College and the popular vote. In spite of what should be perceived as a federal crime by Louis DeJoy, the mail slow down by the USPS at his direction. In spite of limiting official ballot drop off boxes. In spite of denying ex-felons the right to vote. In spite of growing evidence that the very accusations of voter fraud by the Democrats, might be in truth, actions committed by the Republicans themselves. How DOES Mitch McConnell, who had an approval rating of 18%, managed to win reelection by 57%?
‘Fight For the Future’ seems apropos. As of this writing in Georgia, Republicans are planning to close over HALF of the polling sites in Cobb County for early voting. When all else fails, suppress the vote in Black and LatinX communities. It’s the same ploy that Republicans played both in the primaries last spring and again in the presidential election.
But while traitorous and seditious Republicans fall over themselves trying to prove their loyalty to someone who’s about to have some serious problems come January 21st at the hands of New York Attorney General Letitia James; Democrats, both centrists and progressives alike need to remain focused on the only fight that matters:
Fight for the election of Reverend Raphael Warnock.
Fight for the election of Jon Ossoff.
I can’t vote in Georgia. I’ve spent 70 plus man-hours on hopefully inspiring those that can.