When I was her age, and we were about the same age, I couldn’t have told you who among my acquaintances was a Democrat and who was a Republican. Looking at this drawing now, I can’t even tell you who was president when I drew it. I’d have to think back, find a date, and do the math.
Moreover, it would never have even occurred to me then that anyone looked with suspicion upon people of a different political stripe (who are the intruders in our midst?) — or cared much about the answer to questions of political identity. When and why did life get so politicized? I knew people with strong political views, but they were distinctly a minority. In my circle, no one wore their politics on their sleeve. The community around me was never focused that far away from home. We looked at our private lives as our particular sphere of influence. Indeed, I’d say we held private life in higher regard than today, for that’s where we thought our actions could matter.
Looking back at drawings I made a generation ago, I realize that more things entered into the picture than I knew. The whole idea of just drawing a person being herself. Do young artists do that now? I hope they do.
I drew this woman for hours, and I realize now that I would have no idea how she thought about American’s political questions, then or now. And I like the mystery of that.
[Top of the post: A Drawing of My Friend, pencil, by Aletha Kuschan]