Political Activism in art is one of the things I typically avoid engagement in both critique and in viewing. Simply put, I think that modern society is completely flooded with a political opinions, especially in the United States, and more importantly often these opinions are drawn from incomplete evidence. There are two categories (I know it’s a generalization for the sake of argument) of people with strong political opinions. The first are the educated subject matter experts who tirelessly listen, observe, and learn politics to form well-reasoned and rational opinions. The other variety is those who do no research and provide only polarized, one sided views without respecting anyone with a different view. The vast majority of people posting garbage on social media is in the latter group, and for the most part I believe the vast majority of artists fall in that group when it comes to political activism.
As a thought exercise I decided to see how I would classify Joseph DeLappe. For all intents and purposes he means well. He advocates for peace, and is unapologetically anti-war. His platform implies that he believes that all war is a mistake (Ex: Imitating Ghandi, protesting in a war game that is minorly tailored towards US Army recruiting, portraying the Statue of Liberty crying). Who is this trying to convince though, is the question I ask? The majority of the population who make incredibly uninformed political opinions, or the politicians that are making these decisions. Evidence would be pointing to the former as he uses his video games (virtual space) as his medium.
Surely Joseph DeLappe cannot believe that all war is bad? That would be incredibly misinformed as war is ultimately what stopped Hitler, what allowed the United States to become a free governing body of whom he protests against. All of that of course is by right free speech, something that I served to protect and defend when I took my oath to uphold the constitution.
The main war he protests is of course the Iraq War. Regardless of the reasoning we started the Iraq war (which for the record we should not have started the Iraq War for some illusory WMDs), Saddam Houssain was the equivalent of a modern day Stalin who we, the United States, effectively put into power during the Cold War.
The documentary above does some justice towards the horrors that Saddam Houssain did while he was in power, by the fault of the United States government. Should we have allowed Saddam to continue running Iraq the way he was when we effectively put him there? I would think Joseph DeLappe would say yes, and to that I would call his platform incredibly misinformed. I especially hate the thought of American lives lost to remove Saddam or to occupy Afghanistan, but I most certainly believe that removing him was the correct move, regardless of the motives of those in office at the time.
For my closing thought I am just going to link a short video from a documentary by Christopher Hitchens that shows the exact moment Saddam took power in Iraq. This is what Joseph DeLappe would allow to exist if he had the choice.