A Poem of Hope for the Survival of Democracy - January 6, 2023

Every year one of us sends out handmade Christmas and Happy New Year cards to our friends and family. Each has artwork and a poem. We would like to share this year's card with everyone. The poem is "One More Young Seed of Freedom."

This year, due to the ominpresent war in Europe that is essentially a battle of of authoritarinism versus democracy, we chose a rather somber topic: The plight of Ukraine. If Ukraine loses this war, not only is democracy doomed, but so is humanity as a whole.

The most important problem of our time is the backsliding of democracy to authoritarinism. If this problem is not solved, humanity will find it impossible to solve many large-scale common good problems, including climate change. This is because authoritarians (such as the leaders of Russia and China) care only about themselves and the group allowing them to stay in power, which excludes caring about common good problems.

The poem uses the words "viligance" and "vigilant" to refer to a popular saying: "The price of democracy (or liberty) is eternal vigilance." This is commonly attributed to Thomas Jefferson, author of the US Declaration of Indepence in 1776. However, scholars have been unable to find the quote (or something close to it) in his writings (source1, source2). Still, it's a wonderful principle to live by.

Root cause buttons

The style of painting is known as Petrykivka. Beginning in the 18th century in Petrykivka, Ukraine, people began painting murals on white washed interior walls and around exterior doors and windows. The folk-art spread, and now includes fine art paintings, painted boxes, eggs, wood plates, vases, textiles, and so on.

Traditional Petrykivka painting uses only three brush strokes (some say more). Grass strokes are slender lines of varying width. Droplet strokes look like rain drops. Grass and droplet strokes are done with cat-hair brushes.

The stroke that defines the idiom is transition strokes. Here a normal round tip brush is first dipped into the (usually) lighter color, such as yellow. Then just the brush tip is dipped into the darker color, like red. The stroke begins by placing just the bush tip down, beginning the stroke, and then bringing the rest of the brush down to complete the stroke. In addition, dots are made using the end of the brush handle, finger tips, etc.

The style emphasizes fantastic rather than realistic flowers (above all else), leaves, stems, and birds (notably forms of peacocks and roosters, aka firebirds and phoenixes), and makes no attempt to be three dimensional. Here are some fine examples of Petrykivka paintings.