A War On Humanities: When Will We Get To Stop Fighting To Save The Arts
You may have noticed an absence in new posts from me (yes, this is the first new one in over a month). And the truth is that I have tried to sit down and write this post several times in the last month, but I keep coming back sounding like a crazed lunatic. Not that I'm sure this post may sound any different....
It should be no surprise to you that I'm quite liberal in thinking when it comes to the arts. The idea that the government would/could cut a huge amount of funding to the arts across the country literally makes me ill. The proposed federal funding cuts hundreds of millions of dollars to the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museums and Library Services. What you don't see listed however, is the matching state funds and other matching monies that will be lost if these cuts take place. If you haven't already seen this video, please watch as actor Kevin Spacey makes an eloquent plea to keep our arts budgets in tact.
This isn't just about keeping arts education in our schools, which is a battle all on its own. This is about keeping the arts and humanities LITERALLY alive in our country. One reality tv star (yes, I do think once you star in a reality show you lose the ability to be called a politician) said that things like PBS, NPR, and other arts and humanities programs are "frivolous" and "should be on the chopping block." Frivolous....is passion frivolous? Is culture frivolous? Is history frivolous? Is education frivolous? I don't think so. The current administration feels that with cooperation between these programs and with new broader education programs, these Endowments can be run more effectively. It's not a bad thought until you consider that the funds that are being cut directly impact the education in said programs. Remember how the arts programs are being cut in schools?
So the question lies: When will we get to stop fighting to save the arts? The answer: never. Trust me, I wish it wasn't so. To those who think we ignorant hippies just want to fight for one cause after another....no....we...don't. We would LOVE to have just one single day where the arts weren't being harassed and threatened in some way. A day when I don't wonder if my son will get to watch Sesame Street in the morning because funding for PBS is being taken away. A day when I don't go to the theatre, wondering if this is going to be the last play I see or orchestra concert I attend because funding has been cut. Or, better yet, a day when I don't fear that the arts will be taken out of our schools completely. This is not a new fight. For decades we have found a way to keep the arts and humanities alive, and with any luck we will continue to prevail. But this does not come without effort, drive, and stamina.
So please, do your part. No matter how small. Instead of taking your wife to the movies and spending $40 on tickets and popcorn (because you CANNOT see a movie without popcorn), spend $30 and take her to see a performance at your local theatre. Spend $10 and take your child to a high school band concert. Spend $5 and go to a children's museum. Spend nothing and go to the library.