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The Bonus Book of the Week is “American Mirror, The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell” by Deborah Solomon, published in 2013.
Born in February 1894 in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan in New York City, Rockwell was an illustrator known for his engaging scenes of ordinary Americans in a kind, lighthearted, innocent time.
The attitude of the United States was forced to change with WWII. FDR speechified about Four Freedoms: of speech, of worship, from want, and from fear. In 1943, Rockwell was tasked with creating images on posters (to promote the sale of War Bonds) that portrayed the freedoms; during which, he helped shape the image of “Rosie the Riveter.” In this way, Rockwell developed a reputation as a patriotic artist who reinforced America’s values, that contrasted with the values of America’s enemies.
Read the book to learn everything you ever wanted to know about Rockwell’s life and career.
ENDNOTE: The 2024 presidential candidates should be asked to explain what they will do to preserve the above Four Freedoms in these modern times. Ironically, freedom of speech is what allows propagandists to whip the public into a frenzy of fear (!)
The freedom from fear directly stems from the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights that, arguably, the U.S. government violates daily, in this electronic age. President George W. Bush pushed for decriminalizing spying on American citizens via Congressional approval of the Patriot Act– a set of federal statutes separate from those contained in the U.S. Constitution. In the past forty years, the following presidents have been accused of a significant number of crimes in the following major categories:
- war-related crimes: Reagan, H.W. Bush, G.W. Bush;
- treason-related crimes: Reagan, G.W. Bush, Trump, Biden;
- financial-related crimes: H.W. Bush, Clinton, G.W. Bush, Trump, Biden;
- sex-related crimes: Clinton, Trump, Biden
It shouldn’t be surprising that Obama’s name is absent from the above. He needed to avoid egregiously unethical behavior because, given his skin color, not only his political enemies, but also hatemongers— witch-hunted his and his family’s history and every move 24/7.
The question for the 2024 election is:
Is the country ready for another variation on the Caucasian Christian/Catholic male presidents– in terms of ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation?