Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
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.
New works by one of Bangladesh’s most prominent photojournalists, writers, and activists are on view at the Chicago art space through November 27.
Council often uses humor as a political tool to expose systems of power and inequality in a society in which even death carries a high price tag.
An exhibition at the San Francisco Opera House pairs the work of incarcerated artists with Beethoven’s story of unjust imprisonment.
Many works take disruption and repetition as their themes, and many artists resurface in different sections, creating multiple affinities.
Hear from Holly Jean Buck, Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas, Simon Denny, Elizabeth Hoover, Renee Kemp-Rotan, Joseph Kunkel, and more at this free public event.
In Cooking with Paris, Hilton capitalizes on her portrayal of being a competent woman, while highlighting its anachronism through her absurd performance. Rosler manipulates the camera in the same way.
EFA Open Studios offers a portal into the creative habitats of over 65 artists working in Manhattan’s longest-running studio program, including Dannielle Tegeder, Wafaa Bilal, Cui Fei, and Anina Major.
A man says Blue Bayou took details of his life without his permission. Several women who appear in the documentary Sabaya say they did not consent to be filmed. How can filmmakers avoid these ethical pitfalls?
Ursula Biemann, Nicolas Bourriaud, and others said they will no longer participate in the event.
There is an official ban against the public mourning of Tiananmen Square victims in Hong Kong and mainland China.