The draft budget proposed by President Trump's White House seems unlikely to be adopted. Many believe it is simply an habitual negotiator's opening salvo, intended more to "start the bidding" than to be taken seriously at face value.
However, it is serious, because of the strong statement of values that it represents. Along with the decimation or elimination of many critical programs that foster the health of our polity and our planet, Trump's budget, by proposing to eliminate the NEH and the NEA, asserts that the United States has no national interest in the support of the humanities or the arts.
As educators, we join with many fellow scholars, represented by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), to protest and reject this vision of our nation, as a society with no investment in research, scholarship, history, philosophy, religion, language, literature, or creative arts. The SCS will continue to join with advocacy organizations, including the National Humanities Alliance and the ACLS, to register our views as an organization.
But we urge members to also engage in "grassroots" participation, mindful of the dictum that "all politics is local." In the current political milieu, the most effective action is for constituents to communicate their views to their local representatives in Congress. Here are some ways to contact your representatives:
1. Make a phone call directly to Congress: All members of Congress can be reached through the US Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. A personal phone call is preferable to an e-mail.
2. Write email messages to your representatives: You can find your representative by going to the House website at house.gov. The system allows you to search using your zip code, which will take you directly to a link to your representative’s website and contact information. Congressional offices allow you to send an e-mail if you are from their district. You can also find and contact your senators by going to www.senate.gov.
3. Use this form, created by the National Humanities Alliance, to send an email message to your representatives or connect with them by phone.
While we hope that statements by organizations, such as SCS, may have some value--particularly if many organizations are engaged--elected representatives care first and foremost about their constituencies. If you are concerned about the proposed elimination of NEH and NEA, please make that concern known to your representatives.
S. Georgia Nugent