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Another Year to Get the NEA


If you haven't heard about it yet, the president is once again proposing to cut funding for the NEA and a whole host of programs that support people throughout the US in many different fields. Here are my favorite tweets about it from the last 24 hours:

Thankfully, we've all been through this before. This is just a budget recommendation, and it may not reflect any reality once Congress gets to work on actually appropriating funds for the government. Thank you for that, system of checks and balances.

I've actually had most of the material in this blog for almost a year now. When I heard the news yesterday I figured if the Trump administration could trot out the same lame plan, I could finally write the same lame blog post I planned too.

A year ago, the first time DT proposed a budget that completely defunded the NEA, the news sent me into a deep spiral of dark thought. I had already started to work on my application and now it looked as if the program would be completely eliminated. I was making tacos that night, and thinking the worst things possible, and my knife, which was brand was new, sliced right through the plum tomato I was cutting, nearly taking off the tip of my finger.

By May the NEA had been funded for the remainder of FY 2017, with an extra $2 million added as a kick in the ass. That didn't deter the president, who again suggested gutting the program in his FY 2018 proposal. By September funding for the NEA was in place for FY 2018, and in October that budget passed. Did you follow all that? Because I hardly did and this now-you-fund-me, now-you-don't back and forth is one of the reasons I could never get this blog post out. I kept waiting on it, waiting for some better news. Eventually, it came. And then it went away again. And then, it was all good. Soon enough my finger healed. At the time it felt like it never might. I thought I would lose the tip. It's all about the nature of the cut, and how you apply the bandages. The emotional cut healed too, but when I learned I didn't get the grant I applied for, it reopened in a completely different way. Despite the bad news yesterday, I felt like it was okay to make this joke:

The truth is it stung not to get a grant, but it will feel a lot worse if no one else gets an NEA ever again.

While Melania Trump's security detail in New York may or may not cost more than the entire NEA budget (I'm willing to guess that it is), it really doesn't matter where else the cash goes if it doesn't go the NEA. Look at all the books the NEA has given us, look at all the writers it's helped. Even given its worst moments, the cultural loss of cutting this program is incalculable. So in case you need them, here are some suggestions for digging in for a fight.

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