We are sick of you. Get out of here. We are saying it all the time now.
It's happening more and more. You've probably read by now that Amy Schumer threw out Trump supporters in her audience for booing her Trump jokes - 200 of them - that's a huge portion of an audience. I'm not blaming her, but that's a lot of people to throw out of an event.
It's no secret that Trump has thrown out people in his audiences for various reasons, I don't blame him either. I'm sure others have done the same, though it seems to be happening more and more, right? Or maybe I'm just hearing about it now that I'm paying attention.
What's fascinating to me is an increasing unwillingness to be present and respectful of other opinions, of being an audience member in attendance with the specific goal of disruption. Booing at an entertainment event seems like a good way to kill a party - why do it? It's not a convincing way to have a conversation, or argument for that matter. Say "Boo" and the conversation is over - the ghost has entered the room.
Perhaps we are no longer willing to be in the same room together anymore because of our increasing ability to surround ourselves with like minds online - where a huge portion of our socialization seems to happen anymore. We've gotten really good at being steadfast in our opinions, before hearing out the other side at all. Ads, news, friends, and colleagues come our way electronically customized to our already established tastes. This new level of customization has contributed to what we are seeing today - this particularly divisive presidential election.
Not only is this election Democrat v. Republican, but now we've got Black America v. police, women v. "locker-room-men", Christian v. non-Christian; did you catch that moment a few months ago where Pope Francis spoke out against Trump? - yes- we even have The Pope v. Trump. It's like a giant mosh pit of all elements of the human race who, all of a sudden, need to rise up to defend their own humanity while those in possible leadership are mocking and demoralizing the entire spectrum of Americans and world citizens. Where does this end?
To me, this isn't an election that sees any winner. We have already lost. Looking beyond, as we tread these muddy waters, I'm envisioning a new leader with a new level of respect for humanity. (No, I'm not talking about God, though that did cross my mind.) To some extent, we need to 'create' this leader, the same way that we have created these characters before us in the Presidential election of 2016. We need to shift our attention from the entertainment and cultural norms of this reality-show-negative-bickering-blasphemousness, and move towards diplomatic conversation and focus on bigger picture.
But I digress. Really, I'm just scared. I'm afraid that as I travel through the states in the next couple of weeks, that people will just look at me and immediately refuse to speak with me or let me photograph them because of whatever suspected political taste they attribute to me. I'm afraid of being attacked in the same way that so many others have been attacked recently, verbally, physically, emotionally, psychologically. I'll get thrown out of the comedy club.
I am not working on this project to show anyone that either side is better than the other, to 'Boo' or 'Yay' anyone. I'm an observer, a historian, an artist. These images are for reflection, insight, and contemplation - of all of us. I get it - I get 'both' sides (and I get that there are many more sides than that). I'm hoping that America gets it, too.