Art transcends politics. Isn’t that the saying?
Well, it may have, but hasn’t been for a while now. And with the election of Donald Trump as president, it seems the opposite is true.
I think we can all recall a little more than a year ago when the left was positively giddy over the fact that, “While Obama’s [inaugural] concert included the likes of Beyoncé, U2, Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen – ‘Trump’s Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration’ will be marked by lower-wattage stars,” and that, “Singers who have agreed to perform at Trump’s inauguration have faced widespread backlash. Others associated with the event we’re forced to back away, while some have come out saying they wouldn’t perform even if asked.”
This past year it seems, more than any time before, that “art” equals politics.
It’s widely accepted that so-called artists, regardless of their specialty, are, shall we say, left-leaning. That’s fine – it’s just the way it is. Artists, like leftists, base everything they do or create on emotion. There is no logic or reason to it. Art is supposed to evoke an emotional response.
All this is understood, but that doesn’t mean we on the right have to support the creations that denigrate our religions or belittle our core beliefs.
However, in the past, through our government, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing. The National Endowment for the Arts, or NEA, has for years given away our tax dollars to a cavalcade of leftist ne’er-do-wells. We had hoped that it would finally change with this new administration. Well, hope again.
The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) were both created by the progressive tyrant Lyndon Johnson in 1965. The federal budget for both is now about $740 million. Virtually all of those millions go to liberal projects. Some are outright offensive.
Reports Elizabeth Harrington in the Free Beacon: “The National Endowment for the Arts is spending over $300,000 on new transgender plays, ‘social justice’ theater, and other liberal projects. Two separate grants are supporting the play Sensitive Guys, where female and ‘gender non-conforming’ actors play men who like to sit around and discuss ‘male privilege.'”
Another winner includes, “‘No Bull,’ a play about a girl who self identifies as a bull, and ‘Mermaid Hour,’ which explores the ‘gender continuum through the prism of a pre-pubescent transgender biracial girl.'”
Why?! Why do we taxpayers have to continue to fund these ridiculous and offensive programs? This isn’t art. It is in fact pure liberal politics. These playwrights, actors and “artists” should be treated like political action committees rather than artists.
Putting aside the constitutionality of these types of programs, it has been an unrealized dream of conservatives to end the NEA and NEH, yet so far, no president has had the courage to do so.
In 1988, the New York Times wrote that, “The Reagan Administration planned to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts when it came into office in 1981, but dropped the plan when its special task force on the arts and humanities discovered ‘the needs involved and the benefits of past assistance.'”
Now, decades later, it is Trump’s turn to end the leftist political outreach program. In March of 2017, the Trump administration revealed “a proposal to cut the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in its federal budget plan.”
Hopes were high as the Heritage Foundation wrote, “The new conservative administration and congressional majority coming in have a responsibility to the conservative base not to continue to fund a ‘public broadcaster’ that leaves half the nation feeling ignored.”
Unlike Reagan, who had to contend with Democratic majorities, Trump, it was thought, might pull it off. But this was early on, when we thought the Republican-controlled Congress would actually do what it had promised for almost a decade. Silly us.
Yet, we can’t blame the president. For the second year, he is calling for the ending of both the NEH and NEA.
Trump revealed in his Feb. 12 budget proposal his plan that “both organizations begin to shut down in 2019, saying the NEA and NEH should not be federal responsibilities.”
Let’s hope he can get it done, once and for all.