On March 16, President Trump’s announced a budget plan which calls for increasing funds for military spending and homeland security. To set off the increased spending, Trump has proposed sweeping cuts to several different governmental organizations that he and his administration may not think are necessary for American life. These include arts and humanities programs. The budgets of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), whose budgets both equal $148 million, would both cease to exist under this budget.
We at The Fordham Ram are concerned by the implications of these budget cuts and would like to defend American arts programs. Across the world, the arts are a cultural backbone. The arts can influence another culture and even bring cultures together. American culture is so strong on the global stage because of our unique art. Our music, artwork and theater are all global phenomena. The arts are a powerful tool, one that Trump’s administration wants to take away through this budget cut. Art has been a global commodity, and the power that Trump desperately wants will only be siphoned with the depletion of the arts.
The arts are also important for the American individual. The arts have always been a source of comfort and confidence building for Americans of all ages. Artistic activities encourage the individual to be in touch with his or her thoughts in a beautiful way and provide a healthy way for one to be in touch with his or her emotions. When someone is sad, he or she can channel sadness into a poem. If someone is happy, he or she can perform an upbeat song. Any emotion in between can be channeled into art in some way. The arts provide a way to express oneself in a world that can often silence emotions.
It also is a source of togetherness among Americans. The arts allow people of all ages to create a community. It is touching that human beings can form such strong bonds over something so intrinsic to all cultures. Whether it’s through performing or listening, the arts provide a common thread for all of us.
The arts have always been the centerpiece of American culture. Any popular American song or famous American artwork in a museum is a product of our love for the arts. In recent years, arts programs at schools have been cut all around the country. For the federal government to follow suit increases that tragedy. The federal government, by cutting the budget of arts programs, says that the arts do not matter. By saying the arts do not matter, the Trump administration makes clear that the fostering of American culture is not a high priority. How can the administration that purports to make America great again justify the elimination of the soul of our country?
Fordham already has a strong appreciation for the arts. Poetry slams, a cappella performances and art shows are quite popular on both Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses. We are blessed to live in one of the most well-known hubs for art in the world, whether it be on Broadway or Museum Mile. The only way to combat this attack on the arts by our President and his administration is to continue our love and support for the arts. Supporting the arts here at Fordham and in our immediate community is easy and socially worthwhile.
Fordham students can support the arts on a deeper level by supporting local arts. Like arts programs in schools, local museums and galleries all over the country need funding more than ever. Although on a smaller stage, smaller museums and galleries ensure that the arts continue to thrive. Donations and even time spent volunteering could make a difference. Take matters into your own hands to preserve our American artistic culture, even if the federal government will not.
We at The Fordham Ram also encourage students to take their appreciation for the arts and pursue it after graduation. Keep performing and listening, keep painting and analyzing.