Suzy and I spent the weekend in DC. A good friend was celebrating a special birthday. Suzy and I debate the relative merits of DC every time we travel there, but one thing is certain it is a city full of people who are not happy about the way things are, and there are an almost equal number of people who are happy with the way things are.
Thinking about this I am reminded of the words of Chinua Achebe :
Those who tell you “Do not put too much politics in your art” are not being honest. If you look very carefully you will see that they are the same people who are quite happy with the situation as it is… What they are saying is don’t upset the system.
For those of you who don’t know Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. His first novel Things Fall Apart, often considered his best, is the most widely read book in modern African literature. He won the Man Booker International Prize in 2007.
Achube appeals to the artist that is within each of us who in the words of Auden tells us, “The mere making of a work of art is a political act.” As we begin this week with a holiday honoring our great Presidents perhaps it is a good day for us to consider whether we are happy with the way things are, and if not how do we express our displeasure.