I want to make a case for funding the arts for obvious reasons and I don’t mean because I am an artist. Of course, I am an artist so I do lean toward an artistic point of view. Also, the arts are more than just images, they are music, they are writing, and they are theater. How many of these affect your life? Well, by how much money actors, singers, and writers can and do make, I would say a lot.
Where to begin? First, let us deal with the fact that Republicans once again want to scrape funding for the endowments to the arts and public television, which make up a small percentage of the governmental budget. Why do they target these programs? One, they are rich and can afford to get any art, entertainment, and learning for said they want so they feel they shouldn’t have to be taxed to help people who cannot afford access to same. Classic “if it does not benefit me directly, I don’t want to pay for it”. Unfortunately, it does benefit them greatly but they are too myopic and greedy to see that. I will explain later. In addition, they are not the only ones being taxed for these programs and the voters should have more say in what is cut. You know, that whole “taxation without representation” jazz the Republicans spew when it is not in their favor. Two, cutting such programs make them look like they are fiscally responsible without having to dig into programs that benefit their largest donors. Note, I do not say base because their base does not count, only their largest donors. Finally, the artistic community is in general one of their biggest oppositions, so it is logical to do all they can to undermine that sector.
Now, let us focus on why the arts need funded. The basic reason, and one that is directly in their favor, is that the arts take peoples minds off their woes. After dealing with all the pressure of work, what is one of the first things people reach for to relax, TV – entertainment. What makes entertainment possible? Art, music, and theater. The arts help soothe the frustrations we all feel. Music calms the savage beast. Next, the arts directly influence scientific discovery. How many times have you heard that Star Trek has influenced a scientist or astronaut to become who they are? How many ideas have been generated from artistic endeavors? Also, the arts help to relax the minds of people so that they can better focus on the work tasks that are given to them. Finally, by limiting art access to only those you are willing to pay for directly, you risk becoming frozen in a set of artistic values that will eventually erode their worth. You in effect create a stagnant pond that begins to have a negative affect on scientific and technological creation. How many great artistic and technological innovations have come from random citizens in our country? The bigger the pool of talent, the better the results.
So, are the arts important? Hell yes! Where do the Republicans think the ideas for their ad campaigns come from? Where do they think the ideas for wrist watches and cell phones came from? Star Trek and Dick Tracy! How do scientists and movie makers visualize for the public their ideas? Artwork! Where do scientists and engineers get a lot of their ideas about the future from? Science Fiction Writers! Life without the arts would be dull, meaningless, and dangerous. Hey, I can understand that cuts need to be made, but you don’t have to totally wipe out these important programs. Try dipping into all the items in the governmental budget evenly and quit lining your pockets with our tax dollars/future. Quit shifting the burden solely onto the middle class you claim to care for so much. Try trimming some of that corporate welfare fueling the 350 to 1 income differential between the top 1% and middle class incomes. Take your stinking paws off the arts you damn dirty apes!