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Aug 2, 2015

Dissolving Democracy

Leave it to Tom Toles to always find the funny in fear.
Secrecy creeps into politics slowly; as in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement between a number of nations that could become the world's largest free-trade zone covering 40% of global economy. Regardless of its importance, it's not only hidden from public view, even members of congress are allowed to examine it only in secret, without having their own copies or even being able to take notes! Oh yeah? Who tells a democratic government it's leaders can't take notes on their own business? Why does it take Edward Snowden stealing millions of documents for the "free world" to hear that our own government is spying on all its citizens? Why are military budgets secret, campaign contributions hidden from view through super PACs, major bills misnamed to hide their intent? It's all in the interest of grabbing power away from the legitimate control of the people.

Democracy places power firmly in the hands of the people, the ideal human political model. That means "one person, one vote", equal representation and open discussion of all pertinent ideas. Politicians love to taut democracy but, given power, drift toward secrecy, which always weakens democracy. Any party that seizes power without public oversight dissolves democracy. It could be said that certain government activities must be carried out in secret, but that can never be done without harming the democratic ideal. We ignore that exchange at our peril.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of governmental parties who can come up with good reasons why their activities should be secret. I could think of a few reasons myself, were I given undue power, why no one should peer under the hood to see what I'm up to. By definition, anything secret is anti-democratic, even in the most "legit" examples, like military secrecy. Every secret reduces the power of the individual citizen, power that can only be won back by war (the Civil War for emancipation) or revolution (the Black Power movement, feminism, the gay rights struggle, etc.), since no one gives up power voluntarily. Our former President Jimmy Carter now says, "we have one of the worst election processes in the world." Creeping toward autocracy is easy: just follow fear. Throwing off its bonds is extremely expensive and takes generations. This is where we are. If we can't talk about it, it shouldn't be happening!
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Tim Holmes Studio

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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.