“We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond…”
We’ve just gone through the most bitter election campaign in our history and our country is more divided than ever before. We include the donnybrook of 1860 in that reckoning, even when its aftermath is taken into account, because…
We have been ironically fortunate that the combination of:
–All these things together have so far prevented the worst that followed Lincoln’s ascension, and may continue to prevent it despite our comparatively chasmic state of affairs, as long as we don’t continue on our current asymptotic path, bound to race past escape velocity like a bullet dopplered with regret–when too many have too little to lose.
More optimistically, chains could be melted into bonds by the many things we agree on (and the dawning realization, inculcated by a growing number of organizations, that we are being divided by those with an interest in doing so); the extent to which Americans want to and believe we can find common ground; our profound evolution since those antebellum days where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are concerned, even if signal particulars, like the quality of prose produced by the average citizen, have “trended” in the other direction.
Still, we can’t help but feel it wouldn’t hurt if each of us, waist deep in rising waters, made a playful or loving splash or two at one another, even a spray in all directions– who knows what warm underlying currents that might help stir? That’s the premise of our Greetings campaign, a quest for what we like to call collateral repair–greeting cards, stickers, postage stamps, buttons (that mark out our hearts)–and more–reaching out across those flood waters by any means necessary.
As we write this, it’s only been two weeks since the aforementioned election, so we’re only getting started, just. And we’re hoping you’ll be sending us ideas we can use to build on the campaign–if we take advantage of you, you’ll share in the fun and profit, with the mutual understanding that there will be a lot more of the former. Any campaign requires a modicum of cash money, but we’re not doing this for the money.
At the same time, we’re feeling a cool, clammy breeze of urgency: the truth is that we’re not only merely a distant relation of the nation we were 160 years ago, we’re not living in the same world. We no longer enjoy the splendid isolation that allowed us to indulge in taking the lives of 750,000+ of our fellow citizens way back in the day, an indulgence only one alleged American feels entitled to today. If we fail to come back together, fast, we will succeed only in making China, and its cut-out, Russia, great again, with consequences that could make us long for the good old days of Gettysburg and Antietam. On the plus side, we surely haven’t devolved into a new and lesser species in the planet’s small sample size of orbits since the last time we really came together as we need to now. So let the good cheer begin, and the hope flow from PO to PO…
Card: American Unity
The bird on this card is a (painstakingly) recreated Passenger Pigeon, at the time of our founding our most numerous avian denizen, and some believe, the world, possibly even of all time. We started hunting them in earnest just after Independence; by 1900, they were extinct in the wild; The last one, a female named Martha, died in the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914, fittingly just after the beginning of the First World War, whose starting guns ushered in the “modern” era. For us, these columbiformes symbolize the boundless ideals of the founders and the frontiers that defined us, but also the fragility of those ideals–how quickly they can slip away, no matter how robust they may seem. And yet also still the possibility of their renewal, even miraculously. Our fine feathered aviator is carrying an olive branch, of course (his bright colors identify him as a male), with red, white, and blue olives, and the quote on the inside, from the poet Gwendolyn Brooks, reinforces, we believe, a message of unity and togetherness.
Card: Peace Online
‘Tis the season, meaning it’s any day of any week of any month going forward until we’re bonded as a nation again. Nowhere has division among us been more acrimonious than in cyberspace, giving the lie to the self-serving claim that real names promote civility, not conformity and sales. So this card is especially intended for sending to those you’ve been battling on social media lo these many years–virtually, if you know only a name or handle and maybe an avatar, par le chemin des escargots if you really want to say you mean it. The olive branch is huge, much too big for any bird to fly with, symbolizing the challenge ahead of us to reach across the canyons of misunderstanding, but he is carrying it forward anyway, as he must, as we must, flying across the fields of Gettysburg on a beautiful, promising-looking morning, with nary a cannon in sight. The caption is a play on “Peace on earth, good will towards men,” natch.
Card: Civic Creativity
We in America face some daunting challenges in the months and years ahead, challenges that will require the best of all of us, especially our creativity. Poet Maya Angelou’s inspiring quote reminds us that we have what we need within us, if we choose to use it, and we’ll never use it up. The image of a creative bird with her offspring suggests this card is ideal for the holiday season, but really it could be used any time.
Card: O, Earth
Thornton Wilder’s Our Town is a classic of Americana, and this card’s caption, one of its most famous lines, is also an expression of exuberant love of our planet, the need to appreciate and protect far more than we can comprehend, which we can well comprehend, having spent much time in the town where he was born. The photo, of one of our founders, was taken not far from there by heartland or flyover standards (Indiana Dunes), by another founder, call it a portrait of the iconoclast (and artist) as a very young man, and the proud papa thinks it might be the best pic he’s ever taken.
Card: American Pride
Designed/intended to remind recipients that it’s special to be an American, at a time when it’s not feeling so special. The quote is from a German immigrant and leading constitutional scholar (plus grandfather of one of our founders) who, though not Jewish himself, spent much of the 1930’s finding positions for Jewish academics in our country so they could escape the Nazis. After WWII, he helped write the constitutions of both Germany and Israel. The wreath, set against a red, white, and blue painted backdrop, is filled with objects that celebrate our country’s achievements and contributions to the world.
All the above being said, gotta keep it real for the rest of our friends, ja? We pride ourselves on being open to ideas from all parts of the political spectrum, but Donald Trump’s only idea is himself and he is, in our view, the worst human being in our lifetimes (go ahead, name someone, and we’ll tell you why he’s worse, especially as patriotic Americans); there isn’t a close second. One of the particularly totalitarian ways in which he is awful is that he has insisted on invading every possible venue and conversation–not even the weather is safe–and be honest, Republican friends, if you’re reading this, at least some of you are sick of him too. It’s gotten to the point where paradise is a day when we never see him, hear him, or have any occasion to think of him. If you feel likewise, and better yet, have friends who do, this may be the card for you. The scene set is the Pacific Coast of northern California, the least Trumpian real estate outside of DC south of the Potomac. If you look closely, you can see a Trump balloon floating away from you, far out over the waters. If you look closer still, you’ll note that it’s heading straight towards Alcatraz. Nuff said?
Button: Political Yin Yang
This may be the best for last–so far–a little tchotchke based on the traditional yin yang symbol, representing the balance between opposites that together form an indivisible whole. In these times of trouble, it’s designed to make a statement that no matter our political differences, we really are all in this together; that in fact, our differences are complementary and necessary to the whole. Traditionally the symbol is black and white, here the colors are red and blue, representing the two political parties, with points of potential synthesis depicted in purple. It’s a small button, meant to be worn over your heart, though you can get it in larger sizes.
Card: Every Day Thanks Giving In America
We have a lot to be thankful for in America, not just on Thanksgiving, and as the Thornton Wilder quote on the inside says, we are at our most alive when we realize and appreciate this. What do we have to be thankful for? The diversity of our people and the bounty of our land, for starters. The former is represented in the faces, both famous and not-so, on the peacock-like spread of the turkey’s tail, which also represent current divisions that need healing, between races and religions, between rural and urban, wealthy and working class, young and old. The land speaks for itself, but if you look closely, you can see one of our national symbols spread like manna from end to end. Above all, we are blessed with friends and family–for all the high falutin’, this is just a thank you card you can send to those you hold close in these times.
Have an idea for a card, sticker, button, stamp, or other form of collateral that could potentially help bring us all together again? Send it to us here–if we use it, you’ll share equally in any revenues we get through marketplace distribution (the most important thing we believe needs to be restored in our nation is trust)!