Visiting Western Massachussetts this weekend—Angelina sang at Tanglewood—we visited the Norman Rockwell Museum. It was beautiful in the Berkshires and while I can’t speak to the comprehensiveness of the collection, it was just what I wanted. Norman Rockwell is one of my favorite americana motifs to wallow in.
At the museum’s center was the Four Freedoms paintings. The feeling I had from reading that speech in high school—and the Port Huron Statement in college—is one of my most comforting whenever I get bogged in the cynicism of politics: that the current state of affairs (whatever they may be) is not for lack of dreams.
When looking at the paintings, I had to remind myself of the false appeal I hear to _better times. _As I learned from the museum, much of what I consider fantasy was that—the policy during the Great Depression was to avoid grim reality—or the lack of color among faces—the policy of the Saturday Evening Post was to only show african-americans if they were performing a service job.
As a tool, the drawings make a powerful message for equality and pluralism: Isn’t this wonderful? Shouldn’t have this idyllic life. This shouldn’t be an America reserved for just one race or class. Which brings up what all this harkens too—and ironically in this context, I am least moved by the I have a dream _part—_is that these paintings are the promissory notes of which all should be able to cash.