Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cartoon 2: A Declaration

Just before I left, I was sitting with a friend and telling him about my plans for the trip and yes also, as you can see, my worries. And he gave some of the best advice that I have ever tried to learn over and over.  With this cartoon I just want to normalize the self doubting worrying moments that I think everyone goes through.  I know that in other times in my life I have let my worries stifle me.  I truly believe that it is each of our duties  to express our insides [its especially easier for those of us from the US and other countries that highly emphasize individuality] I think thats why each of is here and we just have to let ourselves out! The beautiful, the ugly, the confused, the right, the wrong, and the whole process.   So this is my declaration:  I promise to say !$%# it and just write and draw whatever is in my mind and heart and trust that even if I am wrong, exposing my thoughts and ideas will be the best way to learn and grow.

P.S. I just meet the other guy who I will be traveling with! (We are three: Daniel, Joaquín, and I) We went to this huge 10 story public library and we were sitting at a conference table talking about how we are going to fit a stove and a gas tank and circus equipment and guitars and tents and sleeping bags and food and clothes all into a Volkswagen van and a police woman with a HUGE attitude came up to us. She had already passed by like 3 times to tell us to do or not do different things.  This time, she said 'Could you kindly put your shoes on? You know, for sanitary purposes.' And Daniel began to debate with the police officer about the fact that our feet are probably way more sanitary than our shoes. Ha it was great!  To me this situation speaks to a possible cultural difference in how we perceive laws or representatives of the law.  I was riding with another friend of mine the other day and a police officer tried to give us a ticket and she simply said, 'No, señor, it's not right.' and they argued until he finally just got fed up and let us go.  Often here if you are caught breaking a law, the police officer will ask you for a 'mordida' (a little bite), a bribe, and you pay him/her and you go free.  But, if you can argue well enough or convince them that you don't have the money, they may let you go anyway. So laws are flexible here... This makes me think about how 'Americans' are in general and I feel like the structuredness and relative rigidity of the laws in the US encourages us as people to be more structured/solid/stiff? in comparison to other cultures in the world. Here in Mexico I find people, just like their laws, to be flexible with their timing, their work, doing what they say they will, etc. So these days I'm wonderin' are our laws a reflection of us or are we a reflection of our laws...


  1. You go, Bearita! Love your descriptions and reflections - I wish government/police here were as negotiable. There's plenty of corruption everywhere, but here the criminals we have in congress act like they're doing nothing wrong. Who elects these losers anyway? Oops, it's us.

  2. Hmmm. While I like the idea of flexibility in the law to a certain extent- we should be able to to make valid arguments and have them heard by our police officers- I'm appalled by the thought of that flexibility being bought and sold with money rather than ideas. Though, I'm much less concerned about traffic officers accepting bribes than I am by congress people accepting bribes. When it comes to rigidity in the the law and it's relationship to ourselves, I think the equation works both ways- that rigidity affects us- makes us more rigid, but also it's a reflection of our culture. I wonder how useful (or accurate?) the rigidity of our legal system really is. In seems, regarding corporation ownership of our legislature, that flexibility in the US legal system simply carries a higher premium than it does elsewhere... It is not as readily available to regular people. And often, rather than an outright breaking of the laws, it is disguised through "legal" loopholes.
    I'm glad to hear you say #$%* it! Let it all out Sara! I love your thoughtful and provocative writing and cartoons. Keep 'em coming! Is that Jason in the picture?

  3. Thank you so much for your thoughts you guys! It means so much to me to put something out and have folks respond and offer more food for the brain. Yeh, I think they do a lot of work to disguise the corruption inside the US. Also, big corporations just do their thing in other countries so they aren't held accountable and folks from the US don't find out so our concept of ourselves as lawful and democratic and human rightsy isn't tainted.

    Nope not Jason :) Its another friend of mine. Thank you girl, it feels great to just say it out loud. This little light of mine...i'm gonna let it shine :)

  4. Trusting the fossil record, I come down on the side of the egg coming first. Dinosaurs laid them long before there were chickens. Same with people and our laws. Not to deny the co-evolution of environment and organism, each nudging the other in a spiral dance.

    When I've been traveling I've started by carefully considering what I might need and still wound up giving things away as I went along -finding I really didn't need them. That's the way with some people and some areas of life. I'm an introvert which might have to do with reflecting and considering things in context before acting. For instance, I'll observe and empathize with someone before offering something they have use for rather than foisting my excess on the first person to happen by. Extroverts I've met tend to be more cavalier often starting with less and then accumulating. When I've seen them off-load its been more along the lines of, "This stuff won't fit in my backpack. Do you want it?"

    Legal systems, on the other hand, tend to accrete without end. The U.S.A. started with a nice parsimonious set of rules developed by some deeply reflecting introverts (Jefferson, Madison, et al.) with extroverts in the mix (Franklin, ...) promoting things and stirring them up a bit. Over a mere two hundred years the country has accumulated such a set of laws that they'd fill a good sized building if printed out. A single law some times growing to the size of a novel or even series of books before passing. Most of this overseen by the extroverts that tend to be elected in the country while the introverts spend their time figuring out how to manipulate the system to have language included in the laws that favor their cause or interpreting what's there for their purpose. Like a high school friend's father that made his carrier off of tax shelters based on one line among many shelves of volumes of railroad legislation. You see introverts -not socializing so much- have more time for reading and the like.

    Now, I might like to build a grand thesis on the difference between introverts and extroverts with implications for how they determine the nature of a country, drawing from Chinese history as well with its warring states period taking a greater toll on the more adventurous extroverts thus resulting in greater docility of the population, and it might be curiously entertaining or deathly boring, but it would all be misguided braggadocio if I had any concern for the people involved. When it comes to we the people, the more the laws - the more the manipulation. There are always folks ready to game the system so best to keep it simple. Like the one law that pretty much covers it all and is found across all the cultures I'm familiar with: 'do unto others' not before they do unto me but 'as I would have them do unto me.' I've also heard it expressed as 'Don't be an *ssh013.' However you conceive of it and however limited of a scope you may think it applies to, with a bit of creativity you my find it covering the full span of what laws are rightly for: getting people to do the right thing. What I'd do if I was we.

    So Sara, I love your creative sharing and all the beautiful expressions of it in drawings, words, performance, conversation, and life. What a wonderful gift of intimacy. Guess that means if I want you to keep it up that I've painted myself into a corner and have a responsibility to do likewise. Thanks for the reminder!