Ink-Stained Scribe

To My Creative Friends on The Morning of 11/9/16

We have a job to do.

As far as I know, all of my creator friends voted against the hateful rhetoric of DJT, and this morning, we lost.

It hurts, and it's terrifying, and it's hard to imagine just what brought our country to this moment. Yes, Hillary won the popular vote, and the electoral college failed the intent of its purpose. The thing is, the race should never have been this close. The fact that it was means we have a job to do.

Fiction, film, drama, art have long been the voice of the disenfranchised, the tutor of the young, the friend of the lost an lonely, and the escape of those in need of a harbor. It is also the herald of hope.

Millions of people felt angry and scared and lost enough to vote for someone who handed them convenient scapegoat after scapegoat, who promised them protection from the other, preservation of a slipping grip on institutional power that may not be right and may not be palatable, but that is at least a familiar terrain to navigate with the resources they have.

So we have a job. Not only to comfort and give shelter to the aching hearts and trembling hands of our own wounded brethren, but to learn.

We have to address what caused that pain, that fear, which is so easily sharpened into anger with only the addition of a target. Is it poverty? Health? History? And how can we, as creators, address those fears as well?

We love the story of the disenfranchised. We love to support the underdog. We love to give them heroes who are one of their own. It works because, on some level, we all feel disenfranchised. We've all felt pain and fear and unfairness, and we've taken solace in the story of a person in our own shoes beating the odds, changing the paradigm, and finding that most important beacon of all, hope.

We have a job to do. We must humanize the enemy, let them be seen. Realize that they see themselves in our moisture farmers and kitchen boys and kickass princesses. We must provide the tools they haven't found, give them friends who are utterly unlike themselves in race, gender, religion, and values, but human and flawed and real.

In our work, we must show acceptance and sisterhood and love. We need to give people hope, and we do that through art. As creators, we can draw the maps to change, introduce the friends along the road, and provide a safe place for the experience of that shift.

We need diverse art. We need it for the sake of those who do not find themselves represented in the mainstream. We need it for those who would deny the humanity of people of color, of women, or the differently-abled, or our LGBTQ siblings. We need it for those who would demonize and dehumanize people of color, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, elders, or prisoners of war.

We have a job to do, and that is to teach through beautiful, inspiring, hilarious, erotic, heartbreaking example that we are all human, and we are in this together, and we have hope.