For every dollar the US government spends, 1/50th of one penny is spent on the arts. Even so, more than a dozen news outlets have reported in the last 2 days that President Trump wants to eliminate that - to defund the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Fortunately, there are others with better ideas.
Beyond the nightmare of genocide, slavery and the engineered poverty of today, beyond the transgressions of morally bankrupt leaders in the East and the West, beyond the starvation and unmet basic needs allowed to happen around the world, people must, as well, fight for education, architecture and art. Being civil means being willing to do the work necessary to protect a vision of beauty -- to enshrine local, national and global treasures -- to stand up and defend the ability to express oneself creatively. These things make the life water of the soul.
There’s no getting around the fact that Donald Trump is an over-the-top narcissist with extreme bombastic tendencies and a moral compass as vile and toxic as a nuclear waste site. It is truly a political nightmare in every sense of the word. Even so, there’s also no getting around the fact that Barack Obama has been a charlatan and an absolute fraud—his presidency an irreparable failure—and his political party a sloppy hot mess with only itself to blame.
An ignorant public is not just a problem for educators to reckon with, it’s a fundamental crisis within our democracy, because according to Tom Alexander “democracy needs education if it’s going to work.”
In the final segment of my podcast interview with Ruth Ericson we conclude with a discussion about Merce Cunningham and some of the other dancers and choreographers at Black Mountain College.
My hour long conversation concludes (Part 3) with Rabbi Michael Lerner— a renowned author, activist and humanitarian based in Berkeley, California—who along with Vaclav Havel and Noam Chomsky, Rabbi Lerner was chosen in 1998 by Utne Reader as one of the world's "100 top visionaries". And among other things, in 2005 Lerner received the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Prize from Morehouse College, the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Rabbi Lerner is also the founder of Tikkun Magazine, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
According to the New York Historical Society, during colonial times 41 percent of New York City’s “households had slaves, compared to 6 percent in Philadelphia and 2 percent in Boston.” Too this, nearly “every businessman in 18th-century New York had a stake, at one time or another, in the traffic in human beings.” Donald Trump is from New York, and as Trump and White supremacy implodes in plain sight, remember that the current iteration of this multi-millennial, hellish and never-ending nightmare has its roots in New York City.