On This Day in History

On This Day in History

A longitudinal reflection on politics and creativity, from the author’s birth to the controversial 2020 U.S. election.

On November 3, 1982, a 28-year-old mother gives birth to her second child in a hospital in Ahmedabad. Her 35-year-old husband ambitiously names him Siddhartha. His six-year-old sister swears to protect her baby brother. Up Where We Belong by Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker is the Billboard #1 song in the US. Four years later to the day, the Iran-Contra affair is exposed. The Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa reveals the Reagan Administration’s secret operations illegally selling arms to Iran to fund the rebel Contras in Nicaragua.

Red paint on white canvas with mathematical equation representing "ordered"
“Equally Separate 1” by Sidd Joag

Ten years later to the day, the mother and father sit with their daughter and son in a living room in Queens to watch the election results. Bill Clinton defeats George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot to become the 42nd president of the United States. November 3, 2004, a little after midnight, it is announced that George W Bush had won a second term as president. The US would continue to bomb Afghanistan and invade Iraq mercilessly as the War on Terror begins its orbital trajectory into the future. Ten years later to the day, One World Trade Center officially opens on the site of the downed Twin Towers.

On November 3, 2020, the boy would have been alive for 13,880 days, and seen only a handful of 469 full moons that had passed in his lifetime. Tens of millions of Americans will line up to cast ballots for the next president. Citizens will spend hours in lines in unideal conditions amidst an airborne pandemic to perform the only act of democratic agency they are allowed. They will fight and project their intense frustration and acute fragility on one another. Then they will go home and wait in uncertainty. Some will sit glued to their TVs anxious and intoxicated, drowning in punditry. Others will clean the chambers of their assault rifles and ready themselves for the impending.

gold and red bars on canvas with word "equally" and numbers "0.45" in middle
“Equally Separate 2” by Sidd Joag

As a violently parasitic species that contributes nothing good to any ecosystem, the only value in our existence is in literature, music and art–the mediums of human expression and communication. Creativity is the only impulse that makes us special. It is where the human spirit resides and given our unrepentant destruction of earth it might be our only redemptive quality–perhaps worth cultivating–and the one thing that might keep us from falling over the brink of madness.   

History extends behind us and ahead of us indefinitely. We are a part of it but we are not beholden to it. When we wake up on November 4th, regardless of this outcome, we have another decision to make. Crawl forward in terror and allow the worst of us to determine the future, or commit to creating and recreating the world around us into something that works for everyone.

Red paint on white canvas with a mathematical equation symbolizing "unordered"
“Equally Separate 3” by Sidd Joag

Signup for the ArtsEverywhere newsletter

icon-angle icon-bars icon-times