Michael Prescott: Artist Statement

 

 

 

 

 

March 30, 1981 has always been one of the points from which I’ve measured my life, I had been married for close to four years, that day there was an assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, that night was the Academy Awards. There was a party to attend. My ex-wife refused to go, saying the evening should be solemn as our President lay in the hospital  fighting for life. I went alone. I heard horrible things said about Reagan that evening… I said nothing. I have always been ashamed of myself for that and always held a great admiration for my ex’s conviction.

I wish I could say that that evening I ended my life of silence. I didn’t, it would be more than ten years before I could no longer play the game. I was an actor. I had friends in theatre, film, and TV, me… I was stuck in commercials… wanting so desperately to break free from them.

What I broke free from was my silence.

I began speaking out in SAG meetings, against the direction the Guild was taking, mainly about the fact that the Guild’s contracts were taking away my ability to negotiate. One meeting in particular stands out, in the mid 90’s, at the Sheraton Universal City, I spoke of how as Guild members we were being separated, with elements of the contracts dividing us, casting us in blocs that voted not for the whole but for special interests within. When I was finished, I was asked if I had anything else to say. I said, “Yes, what the hell have you done to our insurance plan?”

What I followed with about our plan fell mostly on deaf ears, almost a forgotten memory for me, till these past few years with the ACA. If you look, you will find that during the early and mid 90’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield created The California Endowment. The Endowment’s purpose -to lead the transition to national healthcare.

In 2000, the process of severing long time relationships because of Gore’s attempt to steal the election, began. Friends were not just shocked at my beliefs, they were disgusted. Looking back, it is now easy to see they truly never could have been friends with attitudes like that, still each time it happened… It hurt.

What began then was an emergence in grassroots politics. I could tell you stories about what I did. I’d rather tell you what I learned…

In 2004, as we were closing the headquarters on the eve of the election, a women, a British American implored me, in her London accent, to take all the left over Bush Cheney signs and all of the men I could find and hang the signs from every stop sign, street light, and traffic signal along  Wilshire Blvd’s Golden Mile. I asked her why she wanted to do that, she said – “So in the morning, when the sun comes up, they will know that we are here.”

Late September, 2008 in the midst of the election, an election we saw as a stand for American free market republicanism vs. European socialism, the rot of cronyism exploded, as a result the victor in November’s election was given the key to America’s treasure trove. What was overlooked, was the rage that arose that September day.

The first to step forward was a young woman from Seattle, Keli Carender.  On Presidents Day 2009, Keli brought hundreds of people to the streets to protest the bailouts of President Bush and President Obama. She began the Tea Party. That the Tea Party has since been smeared as nothing but a racist anti – Obama movement is sad.

On August 31, 2012 the sun rose on millions of American homes, an empty chair had been set in the middle of the front lawn or on the porch… It was a proud cry, it was the same as the call for the signs to be hung on Wilshire Blvd, the same as the voices from Seattle… all ignored, at best, one could say they weren’t understood.

The voice of many of America’s citizens was expected to wane.

It didn’t…

The marvel of the internet… we began to find each other. To our excitement, we found we were not the people they said we were. We didn’t just exchange ideas, there was music, art, graffiti, humor… all proclaiming our shared values.

We have begun to take our culture back by celebrating it.

I remember how angry I was when I realized those I had entrusted to defend life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness had so miserably failed. I needed to be angry,we all did. Now we need to be proud, we need to help each other while we flourish with the gift of our inalienable rights.

Simply America hopes to be a chronicler of our journey.

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. John Holdren

    Interesting story. Welcome to the light! I hope you have great personal, professional, political, and societal success. Today is the first day I was aware of this web site and this concept. I like both. I will study this site and this concept for how, I as a non-artist, can spread your message. Bless you!

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