Democrats vs. Republicans. Red vs. Blue. Us vs. Them.
It seems that everywhere one looks these days, bright lines are being thrown up to swiftly categorize and completely compartmentalize those who would dare disagree with any closely-held world view.
Well, Enigma of New York has had enough of it.
The art collective has launched a new campaign, chronicled under the #wethepurple umbrella on social media, designed to get the general public to quit feeding into political polarization.
The opening gambit in the group’s bid to eradicate ideological grandstanding was to amend 100-odd stop signs in Washington, D.C., and New York City to read “Stop Fighting, Congress. #Wethepurple." According to an EoN member, the stick-on addendums were put in place late Sept. 7. The plan was to get District residents’ attention just as Congress returned to work on Sept. 8.
“The inspiration behind this campaign came from the changing climate in D.C.,” the EoN member told HOH of the impetus behind the civic engagement.
According to the member, the entire collective is upset that some people, upon learning that a state — particularly during a presidential election year — is “purple,” view it as a nuisance, and assiduously focus on converting the undecided rather than respecting the individuality of said voters and embracing their multifaceted views.
#wethepurple indeed. pic.twitter.com/5HFi2QbP4E — Liz Ritter (@LizRittr) September 13, 2014
“We wish we could make a determination of what they believe,” the EoN member said of the latent desire to immediately box in political friends or foes.
That rush to judgment effectively squelches any hopes of meaningful discourse because the opposing party is summarily dismissed as unreasonable, irrational and, increasingly, completely idiotic.
“Polarization, as you see it between red and blue, is what causes many of these issues,” the EoN member suggested. “We should accept the blend of colors and ideas in the movement. In doing so, we can move together.”
Moving together, however, will require significant re-education, particularly since most political observers have since succumbed to the siren song of overtly partisan news sources.
EoN will attempt to overcome the din of everyday distractions by orchestrating a series of installations projected to pop up all over D.C. from now until Election Day. Per the member we spoke to, these exhibitions could take many forms — from freestanding works to performance art shows to items “placed in crevasses that people often forget about in D.C.”
“Things could find themselves on the White House lawn,” the EoN member mused.
And the group’s presumably just getting warmed up.
Ahh... Love how the comma makes the message clear. #yaypunctuation #wethepurple pic.twitter.com/W2XjGe6Zu8 — Dani Moore (@drhielle) September 18, 2014
“There will certainly be a continuation after this election season,” the EoN member said of the group’s plan to offer artistic commentary on hot button issues moving forward.
For now, EoN is pleased somebody (anybody) is finally paying attention.
“We’re happy that people are looking up instead of staring down at the pavement,” the EoN member said.
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