Thursday, November 4, 2010
I was going to write this blog entry yesterday but I wanted to sit on it a bit and think about what really happened on Tuesday.
Two years ago, the country made an historic vote and elected Barack Obama president of the United States.
With his election came sweeping changes in both the House and the Senate.
Promises of reforms, new health care initiatives, ending the war and a better way of life was the platform the Democrats campaigned on and were elected becasue of.
Two years later, we see that the Democrats got soft and weak.
We are still in this god awful war, health care reform was watered down so much that it really doesn't mean anything, and the bail outs, which I felt were necessary, weren't being regulated enough so the companies who received them just put more cash in their pockets.
So of course, this midterm election saw great changes. It saw a Republican party so fired up that they were like a steam roller and it also saw the birth of many grass roots groups that picked up the conservative mantel.
The Democratic party was unjustly vilified for all the problems our country now faces, but they broke their promises just like every politician does. And they payed the price.
For the next two years our government will basically be in a stalemate with nothing moving forward and getting accomplished. Worse, yet, my fear is that this impotent Democratic party might just cave to the conservative right. They seem to have no passion about being in elective office.
As an artist, my concern is always how conservative our country is becoming and the effect it has on any artist that is the least bit edgy. Also, there is always the desperate funding needed to keep the arts alive in the United States.
The NEA had a $175 million budget in 1991. But during the recent Bush administration there was a major budget reductions with the annual funding dipped below $100 million. The one good thing President Obama did was to sign into law a bill increasing the budget of National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities by $12.5 million each, to $167.5 million each.
The NEA still isn't were it was with funding back in 1991 and with the new conservatives in office I doubt that it will get any higher than it is right now.
Cuts in museums, music and dance companies are sure to follow.
My gripe with the conservative right has always been that they do not see how vitally important the arts are to a society.
They will continue with their tax cuts to the riches 1% of Americans, continue promoting a conservative "Christian" agenda and they will leave the majority of American's struggling to find work, struggling to pay our inflated share of taxes and will destroy the progress the Obama administration has made in backing the one thing that in tough times people turn to, the arts.
I shot this photograph during the last term of George W. Bush as I read the news about more censorship to artists. The title is "Liberties revoked" and it seems that it is unfortunately relevant again.