That’s Not a Plan, John.

 

Waco, Texas 

 

I am having a hard time pinning down the motivation here. Would you send in a job application a year and 6 months after an opening was posted? Could you get away with sending four sentences to a potential employer, ever? Is McCain leaving no stone unturned in the search for nooks and crannies of the electorate to gain ground? Did he just lose the email? Will I ever stop writing rhetorical questions?

Please to enjoy, John McCain’s vapid, four sentence Plan for the Arts. 

 

John McCain believes that arts education can play a vital role fostering creativity and expression.

He is a strong believer in empowering local school districts to establish priorities based on the needs of local schools and school districts.

Schools receiving federal funds for education must be held accountable for providing a quality education in basic subjects critical to ensuring students are prepared to compete and succeed in the global economy.

Where these local priorities allow, he believes investing in arts education can play a role in nurturing the creativity of expression so vital to the health of our cultural life and providing a means of creative expression for young people.

 

The worst part for any artist or arts educator reading this should be the Republican’s hedging on every statement. "can play", "based on the needs", "Where these local priorities allow", "can play (again)", all indicate a willingness to deregulate federal spending on arts of all stripes. Elementary and middle school teachers should be afraid that local school districts will cut funding based on establishing priorities exactly when we need to bolster science and math in early education. High school teachers should be afraid that being "held accountable for providing a quality education in basic subjects" amounts to a rejection of arts education- being neither basic (3 Rs) nor easily accountable. College and university professors should enlighten their students about local authorities holding the purse-strings of their art education. 

Non-profits and museums should be scared that they are not even mentioned. Working artists should be appalled that they are so readily ignored. Arts writers should use their bully pulpit to influence the election. Foreign collectors, institutions and artists should be asking their business partners who they are supporting, as the election will influence their interaction with American artists and arts professionals. American collectors should be pulling for their artists and voting for Obama instead of voting with their vested interests in decreasing their own taxes with McCain. There is no art collector who should be willing to sacrifice their aesthetic love for financial calculations, that’s why collectors are different from people who buy fancy cars.

McCain’s 4-liner "Plan for the Arts" is an insult to the arts community, a call for deregulation of arts funding and an increased role for private education firms in arts education. It does not include one iota of respect for working artists, arts professionals, non-profits, galleries or museums. The institution of a McCain Arts Policy that puts money, framed as local priorities, over education and aesthetics would be disasterous for greater arts in public schools.

   The disrespect for the arts community demonstrated by John McCain is only more rediculous in light of our current financial crisis, when a staffer decided to pen a vague and meandering slice of tripe to hand off to an industry that created $166 billion in revenue and paid $12 billion in taxes last year. In the waning days of this long slog of an election cycle we, artists, are not to be fucked with, and neither is the rest of the US economy, where all the hopes and fears of the entire nation are focused today. That staffer should have spent his half-hour of work on fiscal policy, not even I have the gall to say that art should be anyone’s #1 today. In 23 days we will vote, and all you artists out there- I hope you read this.

 

 

 

Barack Obama’s Plan for the Arts


Houston, Texas 

also by Sean Carroll

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