Note: posted on History for the Present, March 16, 2017
I chose the “feeling pissed off” emotion and vented my spleen on Facebook earlier today. I have no regrets, but it’ll cost me. From three to five people will unfriend me, my mom will feel a little sad for awhile because her daughter can be so stern, and I’ll get a lecture from one or two people who will tell me I need to learn to hold my tongue. But like I said, I have no regrets. And now I wish to double-down in a more serious environment.
So here goes:
Donald Trump’s “America First” budget to “Make America Great Again” actually eliminates many of the simple (and inexpensive) things that actually do make America great ALREADY–libraries, historic sites, the arts, innovative scholarship, and museums. This budget is a war on knowledge and American cultural heritage. It eliminates the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
If you’ve ever checked out a library book or visited a historic site or watched Sesame Street as a kid or with your kids or attended an arts festival in your community or taken a degree from a public university YOU have been the beneficiary of the good these agencies do with a fraction of the money Trump will spend of our tax dollars traveling to Florida every weekend to play golf.
I don’t care if you voted for Trump because you always vote for the GOP or you hated Hillary or you oppose government-funded health care or you think poor people should get a job or you actually want the government to use your hard-earned money to build that ridiculous wall along our southern border. But unless you can look me straight in my face and tell me you hate libraries and books, think museums and historic sites are stupid, believe I wasted my life editing and preserving Abraham Lincoln’s writings, don’t want your kids to watch wholesome programming on PBS, and believe your community doesn’t deserve arts programs, then call your congressional delegation NOW and tell them this is not what you voted for, this is not what you want. Tell them that you care about our country’s cultural heritage and believe in the power of humanities to make us more human, to bring us together, and to preserve our history.
And if you can look me straight in my face and tell me you hate libraries or any of those other things I listed above, then you’ve probably unfriended (or unfollowed) me already.