Thursday, April 26, 2012

You don’t want to hear it…

Judging from how many of you open the blog when the title is advocacy, I’m thinking you don’t want to hear about it. But, here’s the deal, I was in DC last week for Arts Advocacy Day and it was very cool. We are actually lucky in Illinois, particularly in Chicago that most of our elected representatives are supportive of the arts. In fact, we were asked twice why we don’t ask for more federal support. Each of our representatives said right away that they would support our legislative agenda, which includes such things as increased funding for the NEA, encouraging charitable gifts to arts and culture, and increased funding for arts in education.

During the information sessions on Monday I heard the most astonishing thing. The Congressional Budget Office says, if everything were to remain status quo the only things Federal Income will cover by 2025 is social security, medicare and debt reduction. That’s it, nothing else. Holey Moley, that’s 13 years. We better do something about debt reduction and spending. I sound like a conservative but wow, when you hear that number it’s scary. I still don’t believe arts spending should be cut because it’s such an incredibly small amount of money in the $3.6 trillion federal budget. I literally can’t do the math because my calculator can’t handle the zeros. When I was a kid, a trillion wasn’t a number, it was a joke, like a grazillion. A millionaire used to be a really rich person, now it’s just someone who is ready to retire. I digress and I sound like a cranky old person.

Anyway, Alec Baldwin gave the Nancy Hanks lecture and he was charming and funny and entertaining. It’s always good to hear about how someone else fell in love with the arts. Alec Baldwin’s favorite musical genre is classical. How about that? On Tuesday morning we met with our congresspeople. We got to meet Bobby Rush, a thrill because of his incredible history in public life. We spent time with Jan Schakowsky and with Jesse Jackson, Jr. who encouraged us to think bigger about what we want and to ask for more.

Here are a couple of photos of the Illinois Delegation and our lawmakers. I continue to encourage you to reach out to those people who represent you on the local, state and federal level. It really makes a difference. Jan Schakowsky told us that 4-5 emails on one topic will be paid attention to – really, such a small number.



Richard Engling said...

"think bigger about what we want and to ask for more." That's a great quote. Thanks, Deb!

Meg McCarthy said...

Thanks for sharing your trip with us, Deb! And I am thrilled to hear that 4-5 emails on one topic gets someone's attention. Now I know what I need to do to get my emails read!

Sarah Mikayla Brown said...

Thanks for sharing, great post!