I don't know that I believe many things. But I do believe in what is called Visionary or Outsider Art. My personal temple is AVAM, the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. They keep the work of Gluers there. The unschooled artists who find words too slippery, inadequate to express the nature of reality. In giving up words, or sometimes in redefining, reimagining or catpuring words in the work of their hands, they collectively attempt to share a vision of the world those of us with more prosaic dreams cannot even imagine.
Some few of these visionaries enter the public imagination, and make of politics a performance art. They are the Sacred Clowns. Engulfed by an idea larger than themselves they bring focus to themselves and their truth in a way that cannot be dismissed by the larger society. Often, they fly, like Icarus, too close to the Sun and are consumed.
You had to confront death and dignity with Jack Kevorkian. Lunatic or sage, he defined the world in terms of a single idea, "dying is not a crime." He went to jail for 8 and a half years after his fourth trial.
You had to confront the personal cost of war with Cindy Sheehan, the gold star mother that captivated and repealed us with her grief. She's running for president and under investigation by the IRS, for vowing not to pay taxes until the government gives her son back.
Jack and Cindy intrigued and infuriated the collective us. Their vision was (and is) all consuming, and could not (can not) be contained and channeled into sensible, prudent or reasonable action. But for all that she might be marginalized now, Cindy was a fulcrum that helped turn the country's attention to the cost of war. Jack opened a dialog that has resulted in world wide changes, incremental as they are.
I would like to thank Fred Phelps, at the time of his death, for his role as Sacred Clown. For it was Fred and his followers, more than anyone else, who provided the nation with the face of prejudice.