Friday, November 4, 2016

Storyteller's Journey

Harry Belafonte - Photo Credit: Public Domain
Artists as Gatekeepers

Like so many Americans during this election season, I've listened to more news about the presidential candidates than I probably needed to. However, a few weeks ago I heard a short and inspiring interview with legendary singer/civil rights activist, Harry Belafonte. Rather than bash either candidate this amazing man reminded creative types (of all  sorts) of something so important: "Artists are the gatekeepers of truth."

He reminded those of us in the arts that it is our duty to lead the way for the cause of civil rights, as well as all human rights.

I would add that not only are we the gatekeepers of truth, but the torchbearers of peaceSince the two major political parties have vastly different candidates - and vastly different ideologies - the presidential campaigns in this election have been nasty, on both sides. That makes it a challenge to maintain peace with those who believe differently than we do. Like many Americans I have friends - and family - who are supporting a different candidate than I am. So what's a person to do?

I believe we can confidently support a candidate without becoming confrontational. If, however, a friend or family member makes their political views confrontational, then it is our responsibility to disengage at that point. That is one way we can be firm in our political views, and also, be a torchbearer of peace. This brings to mind the now familiar words of First Lady Michelle Obama, "When they go low, we go high."