Art of the Union

Hello, my name is Mitchell. I am an artist and writer creating politically charged content. My goal is to use art and humor to introduce people to politics and history.

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  • October 23, 2013 8:17 pm

    The Redskins and a people's past that remains too present

    Here’s my first published Op-Ed! I’m pretty pumped to put it mildly. It’s a version of my piece about Native American history that happened simultaneously alongside the Redskin’s formation as a team and it’s up on the Baltimore Sun’s website.

  • October 21, 2013 8:00 pm

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    Is it possible to brand a race? Dan Snyder is willing to bet the estate on it. The owner of the Washington Redskins has adorned himself with his finest pair of marketing pants and declared that he will not change his football franchise’s name in the foreseeable future. For Snyder, the team’s name has transcended it’s racist connotations and has morphed into a flag of pride for those who follow it. In a letter to his fans, he waxes nostalgic about being born a Redskin. He fondly recalls his first game with his father and the chilling experience and atmosphere. But the question has to be asked for those who weren’t born “Redskins” but actual Native Americans - can an entire history be rewritten on a feel good whim at the behest of sports fandom? The trials of the Native is not a dust covered relic from ages ago, but rather just yesterday in our country’s timeline.

    At the tail-end of the 19th Century, Native Americans - spurned on by a religious awakening of Native’s that was permeating throughout the United States - sought to alleviate their plight through an exercise that would come to be known as the “Ghost Dance." The purveying thought was that the Native’s way of life had been decimated as a punishment from the Gods for abandoning their culture and traditions, and if the Sioux were to participate in the Ghost Dance, it would cleanse their spirit and return them to a time before the white man had turned their land and animals into kitsch collectibles.

    As was to be expected, the suits in Washington viewed this with spectacles that were forged from Manifest Destiny. No virtues were seen in a spiritual awakening for the Native’s, and was instead seen as a precursor to an Indian uprising. A boiling point was reached in the Winter of 1890, on a frigid morning in South Dakota. On December 29, the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry intercept a group of of 300 Native’s outside of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The group was treated as a hostile force and transported to Wounded Knee Creek. In an effort to disarm the group, a struggle broke out between a deaf Native and a cavalryman, causing the deaf man’s gun to be fired. U.S. forces promptly mowed down the group of Native’s, killing upwards of 300 men, women, and children. Those who did not die by gunfire froze to death in the winter chill. This would mark the last major exchange between the Native’s and the U.S. military, and the 1890 census would officially declare the American Frontier closed. 43 years later in 1933, the Boston Braves would play their first game as the Redskins.

    That may seem like a long gap, but given how fleeting time is, it’s not. Children who lived during the Wounded Knee Massacre would now be parental age, young adults would now be senior citizens. Generations of people who came of age with the Native as their supposed enemy were now watching and hearing about a football team named “Redskins.” And, despite the fact that Wounded Knee marked the last “battle” of the American Indian Wars, small skirmishes would help keep alive the malice towards the race of the new football team’s namesake. That malice would not flicker out, either. As The Redskins flourished throughout the 20th century, Native Americans were suffering at the hand of racism and discrimination.

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  • February 3, 2013 5:33 pm
    I will be rooting for Baltimore tonight, for multiple reasons. The main reason being that I’m a Dallas fan, so there are 4 NFC teams that I’m inclined to root against: The Redskins, Giants, Eagles, and Niners. Reason number 2 being that I absolutely hate the Pittsburgh Steelers, so seeing their nemesis win the Superbowl will bring me great joy as I picture all of the terrible towels laying silent in a closet as The Ravens hoist the trophy over their head. View high resolution

    I will be rooting for Baltimore tonight, for multiple reasons. The main reason being that I’m a Dallas fan, so there are 4 NFC teams that I’m inclined to root against: The Redskins, Giants, Eagles, and Niners. Reason number 2 being that I absolutely hate the Pittsburgh Steelers, so seeing their nemesis win the Superbowl will bring me great joy as I picture all of the terrible towels laying silent in a closet as The Ravens hoist the trophy over their head.

  • January 30, 2013 6:01 pm

    Last night while catching up on the days news, I was introduced to the concept of the end of the NFL. The article in question, an interview with Ravens Safety Bernard Pollard, predicts that the end of professional football will come at the hands of disgruntled fans who will grow tired of the games rules and regulations. 

    Further investigation lead me to read articles predicting that parents will quit letting their kids play football due to new research linking brain damage to the game, eventually drying up the talent pool.

    I for one am inclined to brush the doomsayers to the side, if only because people who usually make such bold predictions fail to realize that their opinion is one of a handful. Take for instance professional wrestling. Despite numerous crippling injuries and suicides, the WWE still thrives as a half-naked multi-million dollar toy machine.

    There have been many theories on how the NFL can “save” it’s game, whether it be more rules or less tackling and pads (which, as a former rugby player, I can say first hand does not stop bad head injuries). 

    If I could postulate my own opinion, I believe that the NFL should implement size restrictions on it’s players. Now hear me out. Throughout the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, the NFL had a love affair with it’s fans because it wasn’t watered down with rules as it is today. I believe that the onset of such rules came about as players morphed from larger than average men into striated industrial appliances. An impact from Jack Lambert would hurt, but not nearly as much as one from a modern Universal Soldier like James Harrison.

    Just look at a position comparison. Compare linebacker legend Mike Singletary to modern day linebacker Ray Lewis. Singletary, a Hall of Famer, looks like your uncle who works construction. On the opposite end, Lewis looks like a monster who was pulled out of a Universal Studios warehouse.

    If the NFL pushed more natural bodied players over performance enhanced monstrosities, and couple that with the new helmet designs that will undoubtedly be developed overtime to help absorb shock, perhaps the NFL would no longer have a need to keep thinking of the best ways to protect the players from each other.

  • January 22, 2012 1:33 pm

    Not a political one but I’m posting it anyways. I did this for the Baltimore Sun, it ran in their paper today. I always love seeing the final layout from the art director, seeing the work paid off in use.