I respect your fear and dislike for Trump. Please respect my disdain for HRC. It is just a difference of opinion.”
That was the first non-automated response I received from the Republican Elector. Our conversation began with that online tool that lets you write to all of the electors in one go. I drafted a heartfelt letter imploring them to use their consciences and vote for anyone other than Donald Trump. I felt exhilarated at the prospect that little me might get through to powerful them. Then I got the Elector’s auto reply.
Frankly, the political opinions of non-Texas voters mean nothing to me. I do not vote or get involved in your state, I am not sure why you are trying to interfere in mine.
I took umbrage. I wasn’t trying to interfere so much as persuade. I wrote back.
Emailing you, someone who holds power in this situation, because I fear that President Donald Trump will bring on an immense global crisis is not ‘interfering.’ It’s an appeal to you as a fellow human and US citizen.
To my surprise, he responded. That’s when he sent the “difference of opinion” line. Somehow I had engaged him, and I saw my opening. I asked him a question about Trump’s conflicts of interest. He answered the same day (“That is an issue that remains to be seen”). I asked him about Russia, and he replied two days later (“there are only rumors so far”). I kept drilling down, asking him more specific follow-up questions, until he sent this:
I only have access to the same information that you do. The Constitution does not vest any power in electors other than a single vote. I would love more information, but the electoral date can not be moved, and I have no authority other than a single vote.
I sat with it for a while. I felt sorry for him. The Elector sounded like the personification of a cog in the machine, a man whose hands are tied by a system he’s put his blind faith in. When I responded, I suggested that perhaps unprecedented situations call for unprecedented actions. I wanted him to see that he could join the electors calling for a briefing on the intelligence report about Russia. I wanted him to understand that in every situation there’s some kind of action we can take, however small, if only we can imagine it.
The Elector never wrote back. Instead, I got a new, updated automatic reply. “If you emailed me regarding Russian influence in the elections, I am open to any information that is not rumor or hearsay. So far, there is no hard, objective evidence of such.”
Twelve emails in, and he finally gave up on me. I don’t know why he ever wrote back in the first place.
Three Looted Antiquities at the Met Repatriated to Turkey
Nine other repatriated works were seized from Met Trustee Shelby White, whose collection was subject to a criminal investigation.
This week, the world’s lightest paint, Pakistan’s feminist movement, World Puppy Day, and were some of Vermeer’s paintings created by his daughter?
The Wider World and Scrimshaw
On March 28, join the New Bedford Whaling Museum online and in-person for a symposium on global carving traditions from across the Pacific Rim.
Who Will Decide on the Future of a Miami Native Burial Ground?
Native activists say sacred remains and objects dug up from a Brickell construction site should remain there, but mega-developer Jorge Pérez is pushing back.
How Can a Curator Approach South Asian Futurisms?
How do I acknowledge my shortcomings while reckoning with obscured histories and the exclusion of subaltern narratives in the fine art landscape? A working checklist for curators.
MCA Chicago Presents On Stage: Frictions
Will Rawls, Shamel Pitts | TRIBE, and Barak adé Soleil explore Blackness, queerness, movement, and dance in performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
The Complicated Legacy of Camilo Egas
The Ecuadorian painter, a leading figure of Latin America’s Indigenismo art movement, has been both praised and scorned for his representation of Indigenous peoples.
Tom Jones Zeroes in on Ho-Chunk Visibility
“I think about the young kids, the teenagers, and I think being able to see yourself represented in art is so powerful,” says the artist.
Haggerty Museum of Art Presents Tomás Saraceno in Dialogue With Dr. Somesh Roy
The artist and researcher will explore soot’s effects on climate change and public health in this online conversation.
Hundreds of Artworks by NYC Teenagers Go on View at the Met
The talented seventh through twelfth-grade students are recipients of the 2023 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
NYC’s Flatiron Building Sells for a Whopping $190M
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McKnight Visual Artist Fellows Discussion Series at the Minneapolis Institute of Art
The series features 2021 Fellows David Bowen, Mara Duvra, Rotem Tamir, Ben Moren, and Dyani White Hawk in conversation with renowned curators and critics.
The Best Memes Roasting the “We ❤️ NYC” Campaign
A graphic designer on Twitter created a hilarious send-up of the universally reviled logo, and the rest is history.
Did You Know These Museums Were Free for New Yorkers?
The “Free Admission” campaign is advocating to make ticket pricing information more transparent to visitors, who may be confused or misled by institutions’ language.