Don’t know about you but, in terms of light, the past few years here in the meltingpot have been a looooooooong and very dark tunnel leading in the absolute wrong direction. So, when we passed the milestone signifying 100 days left to the presidential election, I wanted to do something to mark the realization that we’ve made it this far. Now the end of that tunnel, is pretty much in sight.
Passersby often comment on my front garden, so – for better, for worse – I know it draws some attention. I decided I wanted to put some kind of message out there where people can see it. But, which message should I pick? Reunite caged families? Listen to science? Black lives are cherished? There is no planet B? Drain the swamp? Gun control? Federal militias go home? Wear a mask?…. They are all important, but if I were to put them all out there, our front yard would look as the freeway exits in our WA suburb do across the river, where political placards seemingly are a permanent fixture on an otherwise scenic landscape. (I never have figured out their election cycles up north… do they ever end???)
As far as issues go, climate is still my number one, but the more I thought about my messaging, the more I realized that the absolute most important thing about this one is to turn out the vote. Looming complacency scares the shit out of me! And the idea of people staying home because their candidate isn’t “perfect” scare me even more. Look where that got us four years ago… (shudder). So, I thought if I could emphasize that it’s a value thing, rather than an issues- or a personal thing, people might be more likely to recognize the importance of using their right (and duty) to speak up for what they want – in other words VOTE!
A couple of otherwise useless plant supports, a piece of bamboo and some zip ties made a decent mockup (it still looks like crap, and I plan to improve it visually, but for now, it works, and I needed to get it up there.) Each number is paired with a word (written on the left) that indicates something I want to see more of from our dear electeds, after January 20. There are twenty numbers so I needed twenty words. I suppose, if everyone were to make their own Countdown Calendar, the words would differ from person to person, but here are mine:
I wrote each number on a different color scrap paper, thinking if it keeps visually changing every day, people might be more prone to noticing. I used what I had laying around – unfortunately the combo in the photo is a bit drab. Some will inevitably be more visible than others. The most noticeable ones will be those with colors clashing with their surroundings. In retrospect, I wish I had had more bright, fun colors at my disposal, but alas… Hopefully people will still see it, and themselves get inspired to start defining which direction THEY want our nation to go in as a whole, rather than getting myopically hung up on single issues. (And heaven knows there are a gazillion of those…) I’m sensing that if we all know that, and are aware that perfection does not exist in a democracy (or in humanity, for that matter) – we can cut through the constant spinning/sound byte/buzzword/static/crap, keep feet on the ground and a clear head, and vote as best we can.
UPDATED LOOK as of August 13, 2020:
Please tell me I’m not crazy to fret enough about this to mar my front yard for the next three months. If my little Countdown Calendar can get a single other human to the polls (who otherwise wouldn’t have bothered) I will think it was worth it. If it doesn’t, I guess it was still worth it, because thinking this up and making it, made me feel better. Be safe out there, check to ensure your voter registration is up to date (and not purged), and go find your own 20 words. And, vote as early as you can.