Arts and Politics

martha cinader

I watched as much as I could stand of the presidential debate last night. I had to quit early anyway to host the weekly Listen & Be Heard Radio Hour. (You can listen to that show by clicking on “October 7” in blogtalkradio player in the right hand column of this page.) Of course Arts, Arts Education, Culture, these topics aren’t important enough to enter the discussion when everyone’s worried about their bank accounts and where in the world to shoot bullets. But it is the Arts that will sustain us even when the stock market fails and our sons and daughters die in foreign lands. It would save us all a lot of pain and sorrow if we would pay closer attention now to the world we are constantly creating around us.
Turn on the television and you will see bullets fly and women dying in all sorts of unspeakable ways, a non-stop thrill ride from one commercial to the next with the same story line, the same story line, the same story line. Turn off the TV and take a walk. What are the chances that you will see evidence of a creative community where you live? What are your options? Will you walk to the local bar and watch TV there? Will you walk to your local bookstore and find a book of poetry? Will you go to see a live play tonight on Main Street or go dance to some live music? Is there a Main Street where you live or just a strip mall? Do you care about any of those things? Maybe you will when you have nothing left but a voice to sing with, feet to dance with, hands to sculpt with, and the very human desire to overcome adversity and find strength in creation.
It’s not a coincidence that the music which transformed the modern world was created far from the halls of exclusion, in a place of deprivation. There is no culture today that has not been touched and transformed by Jazz. In retrospect the spirit of Jazz has done more for World Peace than any politician, diplomat or official organization. We are all deprived today. Deprived of home town culture, deprived of beauty, deprived of arts education, deprived of peace.
Please do vote. Vote on local ballots; vote for your presidential candidate. After you vote, and you wonder how much difference it will really make, beat your drum. Beat the drum beat that makes your heart leap, puts purpose in your step reminds you of what’s real and how you really feel and don’t stop! If they take your drum, then be the drum. You have to beat your drum no matter what.

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