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Artists of America Unite

Special To Topanga Journal

I have always considered myself a feminist, that is one who believes in equal rights for women. As one who has written innumerable political commentary over a nearly four decade career in public policy, government and politics and written two books extolling the virtues of liberalism and public policies to promote justice, fairness and equality it is not a stretch to say that I have devoted my personal and professional life to feminism.

By Lance Simmens

So as the MeToo movement sparked a civic reawakening not seen since the halcyon days of the Equal Rights Amendment aimed directly at the brutish and misogynistic attitude of the current President I felt compelled to do two things: first, do a thorough introspective examination of my own actions; and second, recommit myself to active participation in a movement led by and for the benefit of women.

 

In late November 2017 I penned an article for Huffington Post dedicated to fulfilling the first condition (Harrassment: You Play, You Pay  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/harassment-you-play-you-pay_us_5a205d93e4b05072e8b56715), and now I have been asked by this publication to essentially continue to promote the second condition. Having satisfied my own curiosity about whether or not I was or at some point had been a closet harasser I feel confident that my street cred on the issue is genuine.

“I would at this point like to take the liberty of quoting JK Rowling who has said “Rock bottom is the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” Is there any doubt that the election of Donald Trump represents a discernible low point under any analytical metric?

I would at this point like to take the liberty of quoting JK Rowling who has said “Rock bottom is the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” Is there any doubt that the election of Donald Trump represents a discernible low point under any analytical metric? Thus, are we as a society feeling compelled to action as far as resurrecting at least some semblance of values? Maybe it takes a disaster to unify against a common enemy, in this case unadulterated greed and unprecedented corruption?

 

It will make for a fascinating case study in political science if massive change is initiated via the mid-term elections in November towards a value-laden policy agenda. It is still too early to forecast whether or not a “blue wave” will sweep through the nation that will effectively restore Congressional responsibility for providing the constitutional check upon what is looking more and more like an Executive slide towards autocracy, but there are early signs that real change is in the offing.

 

Along with not only a reshuffling of partisan control, at least in the House and possibly in the Senate as well, but the shift towards a progressive agenda on important issues like gun control, health care, immigration, education, and the environment may help reshape and focus attention upon the values that distinguish our dysfunctional political system. It is no exaggeration to attribute such a scenario to a movement largely directed by and executed by women.

 

Martin Luther King, Jr., was fond of saying that the “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” and let us not forget that the initial Equal Rights Amendment was written in 1921. It was ratified by 35 states at one point but never received the requisite 38 states necessary to be amended to the constitution. How ironic would it be if a definitive rebuke to Trumpism this fall initiated a process whereby final ratification might be possible after all?

 

The darkness that currently hangs over our nation must only presage the bright light of a new day and optimism and dedication to action must replace cynicism and despair. Therefore it is critically important that we in the artistic community stand with our brothers and sisters in solidarity and dedicate ourselves to an agenda that rejects curbs in civil liberties and basic freedoms, whether they involve mandatory allegiance by athletes at sporting events to flag and anthem worship, restrictions on a woman’s right to choose an abortion, religious litmus tests on transgender issues, or a deregulatory fervor that severely destroys the air we breathe, the water we drink, the health of those less fortunate than others, or the world our children will inherit.

 

It is time for those of us who value a society dedicated to the value of human coexistence and peace rather than obsequious adherence to greed, self-aggrandizement, and might makes right bluster to exert control of the levers of power, which in a representative democracy only comes about through the power of exercising our inalienable right to vote.

 

Robert F. Kennedy was fond of paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright and political activist, often saying “some men see things as they are and say, why?; I dream things that never were and say, why not?” He was assassinated a half century ago in Los Angeles on June 5, the date of this year’s California primary. It is incumbent upon us in the creative community to honor not just those words, but the ideals that lay behind them.

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