Like a majority of the United States I woke up the day after the election in shock and horror. The crazy shit from the current regime is off the charts. I won’t go into each element of bullshit but one stance particularly sticks in my craw: all of the absolute false claims about immigrants. Vilifying Muslims and Mexicans really struck a dischord with me. I have crafted my life around traveling to international locations and getting to know artists and their cities, yet the new oval office temp was telling U.S. residents to fear Muslims and hate Mexicans under completely false pretenses. Sadly like Pavlov’s dogs, the ignorant racists of the United States answered this ringing bell with slack jaws spewing saliva. Like most Americans on that day and in the subsequent days, I felt powerless. Days went by without any real actionable thought on what to do to fight this catastrophe. People around me were posting advice on how to write your political representatives or telling everyone to join their local democratic party and run for office. Everyday someone had a specific action to do or a protest to join. To be honest I’m not really a joiner or a team player so these plans were not going to work for me. Suddenly I remembered what I do. I write books. My books are about exposing foreign artists and their culture to the world. Our post-freedom government was telling America that our neighbors to the south were murderers and rapists who are only here to steal our jobs and deliver drugs. The answer to this manufactured problem, build a wall and ban people from entering the country. Well fuck that. I prefer to get to know my neighbors as opposed to condemning them. The “Tall Trees of Mexico City” will be about getting to know my neighbors and introducing those awesome folks to my United States family.
I have been asked “what city was next?” since the Paris book was released. To be honest Mexico City was not the first place that came to mind. I had been thinking about Montreal, Barcelona and Amsterdam for the next book in the series. I have never been to Mexico City. I have some cursory knowledge about Mexico and its big city but truly like most Americans I am ignorant to Mexican culture. I can’t wait to discover all the nooks and crannies. I also can’t wait to tell everyone else about it. I want to shout it out. Mexico is not the problem, immigrants are not the problem. You are the problem, white folks shaking in dark corners afraid of their own heritage and family story. We are a nation of immigrants. We are mutts. I love mutts, always have. The “Tall Trees of Paris” was started under the cloud of my mother’s death. Her memory fueled me. I have never been more appreciative of the people I met in Paris, for their warmth when I needed it most. This book is being started under the cloud of a shattered United States. I definitely feel helpless and hopeless most days but every day there is a glimmer of humanity piercing the darkness. I hope the Mexico City book will change some minds and build a stronger friendship between our neighbors to the south and us during these dark times ahead. I was raised in the deep racist farmlands of middle America but I knew different. I knew curiosity didn’t kill the cat. Getting to know people is the only way to move beyond the fear. So I’ve picked a fight I guess. I’ve picked my little contribution. I’m doing my part. I want to educate and envelop the voices of fear in a blanket of art and culture.