I’m worried about this election.
What has that got to do with my new career as an artist? Lots. And I worry that a lot of artists I know have really not looked at this from an artistic standpoint. And I think they should.
Art, after all, is at the heart of our lives. It is what drives us, what gets us out of bed in the morning. Sometimes, it is what keeps us up at night.
I’m currently in the Hillary camp. I probably will still be there on Tuesday unless something more drastic than has already occurred happens. Am I thrilled with her as a candidate? No. She’s made a lot of mistakes. Stupid mistakes. And unless there is a big turnover in the House of Representatives and the Senate, she is unlikely to be able to accomplish anything more than Obama has been able to accomplish.
If I thought he had a hope in hell, I would probably vote for Johnson. I like the idea of the federal government getting their fingers out of local pies. The states have given up too much to large government oversight and control. But this is an issue that can be tackled later. In four years. And honestly, I cannot say how a Libertarian Government would affect the Arts other than to suspect there would be less money for it from the Federal Government. However, there would/should be less money coming out of State coffers and private pockets going to the Federal Government so, in theory, at least, there would be more available for the Arts if those in the Arts could make a good argument for the value of the Arts to local supporters of the Arts.
First of all, the war mongering of the Republican Party has always been a problem for the Arts. Trillions of dollars are spent on defense due to wars we should never have gotten our noses into. Even in peace time, we spend far too much on militarist goals (either our own or the goals of our allies) and very little on the Arts when we are stuck with a Republican controlled government.
But Trump scares the hell out of me. He has no couth, no understanding or appreciation at all of art. His businesses are tacky, his hotels are tacky. Reagan, at least, had some tie with the Arts through his work as an actor. But to have a poor sense of style and grace is one thing. Trump’s inability to take well earned criticism, to accept critique; his drive to punish those who dare to offer correction is just frightening.
Throughout the ages, the artists (the writers, the play wrights, the painters, the cartoonists, the music writers) have always been the ones who point out the flaws of the government leaders. Imagine this ability (our First Amendment Right to free speech) being silenced because we are threatened by this man. I can imagine it.
In his private business practices, he just fires the people who don’t agree with him. In public, during this presidential race, he has threatened time and time again to silence to press and I can only imagine he will attempt to do the same for all of those in the Arts who dare to question him.
Are there checkpoints in place to prevent that? Maybe, but he will do a lot of damage before those actions can be taken to remove him from office. Why go there? Let’s just avoid the problem in the first place.
In addition, the Arts are the last place Donald Trump plans to put money. What little federal funding that is currently slotted for the Arts will go to other things… his precious border wall, more money to fund war mongering, more prisons, more courts.
Please vote, but please also understand that if you vote for Trump, as an artist, your work will likely be compromised.