Some things in this world are considered luxuries, among them, art. My mom hated that my brother and I were both artists. She didn’t want us to be artists; she wanted us to be “happy.”
In school, art was an “enrichment elective.” We did it once in a while in elementary school, then, in junior high, got real classes. Same with music, though music was regarded more seriously as something on the cusp of usefulness, after all the school band played at games.
Thomas Jefferson said his dad had been a farmer so that Jefferson could be a lawyer, and Jefferson himself was a lawyer so his son could be a poet. There is in this the idea that art has a place, a very high place, in human life. I’m the first to say food is more important than paint, but when food is not an issue, paint matters.
DJT ran on the promise to restore jobs. Great. I’m for that. He also ran on the promise to reduce spending and lower taxes. OK. He has already stepped up with a budget plan — a very lean budget plan — that eliminates the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Rather than receiving government support, these programs are to be “privatized.” It’s a plan that originated in the Heritage Foundation last year; it is a typical conservative budget. But cutting the NEA, NEH and PBS is still not going to give DJT enough money to build a wall.
OK, well, any organization that receives money from the NEH, NEA and PBS already must seek other donations. The NEH, NEA and PBS provide guidance and oversight, among other things, and as they are not obliged to work on behalf of themselves for a profit, they are able to extend beyond self-interest. And, well…hardly any money go into these programs already and what does, actually provides people with…
O Me! O Life!Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?Answer.That you are here—that life exists and identity,That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
The whole point of the NEA, NEH, and PBS is artistic freedom as well as cultural outreach and historic preservation. This article is an editorial, but makes many important (and accurate) points.