In case the men — or woman — elected U.S. President and Governor of Washington next month need some help, here it is.
To the Governor-elect of Washington: Act like a leader and make decisions. Washington government is so co-dependent. It wants to please everyone, so it pleases no one. It’s maddening. Just DO SOMETHING! To the President-elect of the United States:Quit it with the computers in schools already. Let kids deal with those at home or at the library. Teach every kid to love reading because once they do they will be set for life.
— Molly Norris, artist and writer, Seattle
G.E.: Have the courage to reaffirm the priorities that will have lasting impact, especially education and how we deal with the environmental crisis. P.E.: Focus on oil policy and the environment. Draw on all the creative mind power that is being blocked by entrenched interests and set us on a new path before we condemn future generations to an uninhabitable planet.
— Thomas May, writer, Seattle
G.E.: Free Washington wine after 5 p.m. daily. That will help everyone get along. P.E.: Create a cabinet-level cultural department and restore arts education in public schools.
— Dorothy H. Mann, chair, Seattle Arts Commission
G.E. and P.E.: Go to an art museum or an art gallery. Pick a painting — any painting — and look at it, just keep looking at it, for fifteen minutes. Now go back out and resume your daily activities. Repeat monthly.
— Mark Waldstein, writer, Bellevue
G.E.: In Washington we’re surrounded by the beauty of the natural world, but it’s important not to overlook beauty that is created by the many talented artists throughout our region. Fund the arts and better appreciate their role in societal health. P.E.: Goethe once said, “Science and art belong to the whole world, and before them vanish the barriers of nationality.” Provide more opportunities for cultural diplomacy because it is one of the best ways for audiences anywhere to see into the hearts and minds of others.
— Stephanie Stebich, executive director, Tacoma Art Museum
G.E.: Fix our state transportation system. P.E.: Fix our national transportation systems by some means other than invading a Middle Eastern country (since that didn’t work last time).
— Charles Cross, writer, Seattle
G.E.: Reward businesses that exhibit good behavior and say no to those who come asking for a bailout after years of bad management. That goes for nonprofit arts organizations, too. P.E.: Insure everyone. Take away senators’ and representatives’ insurance plans until they do.
— Alan Harrison, executive director, ArtsWest Playhouse, Seattle
P.E.: The era of self-glorifying ethnocentrism is over. Human leadership will be the collective stewardship of our global world, not the supremacy of one nation over another.
— Christophe Chagnard, music director, Northwest Sinfonietta, Seattle
G.E. and P.E.: Marriage rights for EVERYONE.
— Lane Czaplinski, artistic director, On the Boards, Seattle
P.E.: In addition to drugs, alcohol and gambling, we could outlaw zealotry. Arrest people addicted to dogma and throw them in jail. Help Americans get off their high horse. Admit we’re human, part of the problem, able to listen, respectful of other cultures and willing to quit preaching to others when we have so many problems at home that need our love, imagination and determination.
— Dennis Flannigan, legislator, Washington House of Representatives, Tacoma
G.E.: The Cascade Curtain is made of bubble wrap. We can see each other through it and everyone likes to pop the blisters. Lawmakers should understand the needs of those living on both sides. P.E.: Don’t curb any more of our civil liberties or else I will have to move to Sweden.
— Lisa Albers, writer, Seattle
P.E.: Hey, we’re dyin’ here! Take note of civilized nations like France and, uh, Cuba, because we, the people, could do with some decent health care coverage.
— Suzanne Beal, writer, Seattle
G.E. and P.E.: I long for eloquence. I want a leader brave enough to set aside campaigning and politicking and deliver a speech full of fire and poetry. I want the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V that heats my blood and makes my heart thump and stirs my neighbors and me to action and honor and the hard work it takes from all of us to make our state and country great.
— Tom Llewellyn, writer, Tacoma
Illustration by Frank Harris for City Arts