What you see before you is a piece I did in May of 2008 called “OBEY False Messiah”. I wanted to explain my piece a little bit. I created the piece in a time where I felt mixed in my opinion both about Obama and the direction of the nation in terms of support of this man during the election and what I felt this all meant.
I was, admittedly, afraid. Not of what Obama would do as president, but what it would mean in terms of being able to criticize and lampoon him. Not only was he going into this as the man of Hope and Change, he was going in there with a large number of people who also had faith in him. When people put so much stock into someone, I feel there is a need to remind people of one simple fact: They are, in the end, only human.
During the election, I wanted another Teddy Roosevelt, another FDR, someone to go in there, clean up Bush’s mess, and get America strengthen out. I didn’t feel like Obama was that man, although little-by-little I think he might. Its still early, very early, to tell if he is. We’ll have to see.
But one thing I didn’t think about when I created this was the overall reaction. One goal, one hope, of this piece was that it would become viral and get people to just ask what, exactly, did I mean by this. I wasn’t being anti-Obama; I was being pro-independent thinking. That’s always been who and what I am.
I wanted people to remember that he couldn’t do everything he wanted and that he didn’t have some sort of magic wand. What he was saying, to me, wasn’t entirely common-sense stuff and nothing new. I didn’t see him as a beacon, and I didn’t see him as making himself into one; everyone else did that for him. He remained humble through most of the election, elevating himself only when he saw a need to. I respect him for that.
Sadly, my image never spread during the election and still hasn’t to this day.
Over the last few weeks, an image of Obama as the Joker with the word Socialist has popped up and gotten viral. Some has taken it as anti-Obama. To me, it’s just funny because it is and it isn’t. You, the viewer, don’t know if the joke is that he is a Socialist and you fell for his trick, of if he’s trying to say you’re a fool for thinking Obama is a Socialist. To me, it’s incredibly clever, smart, and funny.
To others… well, why so serious?
Which brings me to today. I saw the image the artist created used for hate speech today. I saw his image defaced and used, not to spread the original intent of the message, but racism, pure and simple:
It may sound cheesy, it may sound lame, but I honestly cried a little when I saw this.
I thought about my piece and how people react to it. I want people to think when they see my piece, I want them to question their leader, to ask if he is doing everything that’s right. I want people who show dissent to enjoy the image, and I want those to dissent to the image itself to at least respect the intent.
I don’t want my piece to ever be used by hate.