Sunday, September 03, 2006

Elephants, Guns, and Coffins, Oh My!

The U.S. Constitution was intended to be a living document. It was designed to bend and sway with the needs of each generation of Americans but keep our basic freedoms and responsibilities as citizens intact over time. I fear that in our current political climate this precious document is being bent to the point of breaking.

My mixed media sculptural "quilt", Constitutional Crazy Quilt consists of randomly sized and shaped pieces of the Constitution sewn together. It is surrounded by a velvet border with GOP logo appliqués and metal charms of tanks, machine guns, soldiers, crosses, and coffins. The small photo below is deceiving. The actual quilt measures more than 7 feet long by 6 feet wide.

Click on image to enlarge.
Constitutional Crazy Quilt © Emily Duffy 2006
Photo by Sibila Savage

Crazy quilts have a long history in America,
The random practice of piecing odd bits of cloth together was a money saving habit from Colonial times. In the harsh and unfamiliar environment of the new world, the biggest factors needed to build a strong and enduring society required that the early settlers be hard working with a strong sense of responsibility, first to family and then to community. In the beginning, when the coverlets and blankets the colonists had brought with them began to wear out, they were patched until the cloth could no longer hold thread. By necessity self sufficient and by temperament eminently practical, when clothing and bedclothes wore out they were recycled. Worn parts were cut away and any useful pieces were recombined. From these pieced odds and ends we can readily envision how the crazy quilt came into being. It was indeed "crazy" as far as design was concerned. There was no planned design in shape, arrangement of color or use of materials. Crazy Quilt History

Click on image to enlarge.
Constitutional Crazy Quilt © Emily Duffy 2006 (Detail)
Photo by Sibila Savage

I created this piece as a way of coping with the insanity of the Bush Administration, the American right wing leadership in both houses of Congress, and all the "crazy" policies and laws emitting from both.

Just to name a few:

US Patriot Act

NSA Warrentless Spying

Exposure of CIA Agent Valerie Plame

In my mind, nothing compares to the craziness of the government's policies regarding the so-called "War on Terror". Just like the ill-fated, Republican designed, "War on Drugs", both are utter failures. The worst bungling has of course been regarding the invasion, and ensuing chaos in the formerly sovereign nation of Iraq, (aka the birthplace of Western civilization). You can clearly see how the right wing's pre-emptive policies in Iraq have failed in these three ways:

Rubberstamp Design by The DCCC


Spent & approved to spend in Iraq - $435 billion of US taxpayers' money

Lost & Unaccounted for in Iraq - $9 billion of US taxpayers' money and $549.7 million in spare parts shipped in 2004 to US contractors

Halliburton Overcharges Classified by the Pentagon as Unreasonable and Unsupported - $1.4 billion

#2 GUNS:
Photo by Anonymous

Coalition Troops in Iraq - Total 152,900, including 133,000 from the US, 7,200 from the UK, and 11,800 from all other nations (other than Iraq)

Private Contractors in Iraq, Working in Support of US Army Troops - 84,105

Non-Iraqi Kidnapped - 288, including 53 killed, 147 released, 3 escaped, 6 rescued and 79 status unknown.

US Troops Wounded - 19,387, 20% of which are serious brain or spinal injuries (total excludes psychological injuries)

US Troops with Serious Mental Health Problems 30% of US troops develop serious mental health problems within 3 to 4 months of returning home

Daily insurgent attacks, Feb 2004 - 14

Daily insurgent attacks, July 2005 - 70

Daily insurgent attacks, August 2006 - 90

Trained Iraqi Troops Needed by July 2006 272,566

Trained Iraqi Troops, Per US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad in August 2005 - "Not very large."

Trained Iraqi Troops Able to Fight Without Major US Support, as of March 2006 - Zero

Photo by Tami Sillicio

US Troop Causalities - 2,596 US troops; 98% male. 90% non-officers; 77% active duty, 14% National Guard; 74% Caucasian, 10% African-American, 11% Latino. 18% killed by non-hostile causes. 53% of US casualties were under 25 years old. 68% were from the US Army

Non-US Troop Casualties - Total 230, with 115 from the UK

US Military Helicopters Downed in Iraq - 52 total, 27 by enemy fire

Journalists killed - 77, 41 by murder and 36 by acts of war

Journalists killed by US Forces - 14

Iraqi Military and Police Casualties - 5,202

Iraqi Civilians Killed, Estimated - 48,100 to 98,200

Iraqi Insurgents Killed, Roughly Estimated - 55,000

Non-Iraqi Contractors and Civilian Workers Killed - 403

Source: Iraq War Statistics

As if those "reality-based" facts weren't enough to sicken and shock any human being with a beating heart in their chest, there is this blatant pattern of denial and irresponsibility by Bush himself:

December 15, 2003: "We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve. And the temptation is to try to get the President or somebody to put a timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We’re just going to stay the course." - President George W. Bush.

April 5, 2004: "And so we’ve got tough action in Iraq. But we will stay the course." - President George W. Bush.

April 13, 2004: "And my message today to those in Iraq is: We’ll stay the course." - President George W. Bush

April 16, 2004: "And that’s why we’re going to stay the course in Iraq. And that’s why when we say something in Iraq, we’re going to do it." - President George W. Bush.

August 4, 2005: "We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq." - President George W. Bush

July 10, 2006: "The second thing you do is you stay the course." - White House Press Secretary Tony Snow.

August 16, 2006: "People are going to want more of it, and that’s why the President is determined to stay the course." - White House Press Secretary Tony Snow.

August 17, 2006: "But on the other hand, you also cannot be a President in a wartime and not realize that you’ve got to stay the course." - White House Press Secretary Tony Snow.

August 30, 2006: "We will stay the course." President George W. Bush.

Source: Think Progress

And in my mind the most direct statement, and the map for our future action was:

August 21, 2006: "We're not leaving, so long as I'm the President." - President George W. Bush.

Clearly Bush won't leave the White House voluntarily so unless we want to add two more years of death, destruction, and financial waste to our already over laden National To Do list he will have to be Impeached.

With this artwork, I attempted to patch together the torn bits and pieces of the Constitution, to save it from destruction. Unfortunately it's been all mixed up. The original elements still remain but they've been confused, and are less readable. It's our duty as citizens to carefully reconstruct this foundation document so we can remember our most basic tenets and follow them once again.

Click on image to enlarge.
Constitutional Crazy Quilt © Emily Duffy 2006
Photo by Sibila Savage

How to clean the White House:

An excellent information site about almost everything Bush-Crime
The Four Reasons

An actual face-to-face group you can join in your community
MeetUp to Impeach

Impeach Bush Coalition

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emily- your crazy quilt is a sane way to cope with the insanity of the past 6 years. It is powerful formally and
visually clear.
Thanks for what you are doing on your site.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Emily Duffy said...

Thanks Grace, it's wonderful to get comments. I wish more people would post here. I'd love to get some conversations going between visitors about some of the topics I'm featuring.

10:46 AM  
Blogger futurebird said...

I think it's amazing.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Angela Anderson said...

Emily, thank you for this lovely and powerful piece! I'm so proud of you, proud of your work, and proud to call you my friend. Such a pretty act of sedition, my dear!!

Angela Anderson

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Angela's Maiden Aunt said...

Emily -- Thank you for once again restoring my faith that Awareness is alive and well in your generation. Where WOULD this country be, without her Artists?

7:32 PM  

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