Friday, January 20, 2017
Stand Up For The Arts Now
The United States is nearly in debt to the tune of 20 trillion dollars. It runs annual deficits dating back more than four decades, save for a year or two under President Bill Clinton. Big decisions need to be made on how to increase government revenue and/or decrease expenditures. The Donald Trump White House reportedly found a way to save 150 million dollars. The genius plan? Wipe out the National Endowment for the Arts. Is this how we truly make America great again?
Okay, so it’s not really about the money, for the savings is negligible and but a blip on the screen. It comes out to less than 50 cents per American citizen. So why is he looking to gut a program that was launched 50 years ago under President Lyndon Johnson?
Maybe Trump doesn’t appreciate artists, writers, and actors since they collectively speak out against him and the Republicans. Maybe it’s because he couldn’t dig up anyone to perform at his inauguration other than washed-up, bar lounge act Tony Orlando. The arts inspire thoughts and raise questions about how we approach life. Trump doesn’t value second-guessers. He wants to rule with an iron fist.
It’s no surprise the Republicans have a long history of seeking to obliterate the NEA. They simply don’t value learning. They deny evolution, climate danger, and affordable education access. The party of no wants everyone in the dark.
I don’t really want to go on a diatribe about politics. What I want is a commitment, by society and the government, to support things like education, the arts, and peace. This shouldn’t fall upon party lines, regionalism, or debates over affordability. The right thing, period, is to support the growth of the mind, to nurture the human spirit, and to let free speech rule, no matter where it takes us.
As one who loves and works with books, I can’t stand by on the sidelines and witness the fall of our nation. I am marching the day after Trump is sworn in, from the United Nations to Trump Tower in New York City, to not only protest his policies, but his treatment of people. We don’t need a hater, a divider, or a champion for ignorance leading our country. He needs to be informed, sensitive to others, and compassionate in his dealings with all.
Trump is just a momentary stain on our country’s rich history. We must join together and look beyond his stay in power, to preserve the values and programs that good, loving and intelligent people understand are worth saving, expanding, and building on.
Stand up. Speak out. Use your bully pulpit as authors to write the wrongs around you.
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