Once upon a time, I was in a wonderful band. We played mostly original songs that focused on socio-political issues.  We also did some covers of words and music by folks like Lead Belly, Bertolt Brecht, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Woody Guthrie, Nazim Hikmet and others.  We played CBGBs and most of the great clubs back then, and could be found, along with Pete Seeger, playing our hearts out in Union Square on May Day. Our band had a few different sax players over time, and one, it turned out, was a die-hard Republican.  Why he wanted to play with our artsy, lefty, fist-waving band was beyond me, but man he could play the hell out of that axe!  After he put down a particularly soulful solo on a radical tune, I was mystified, and at last it came to dawn on me that art was not the sole domain of those left of center.

If you’ve landed here, then you’re probably either an artist, a lover and supporter of the arts, or all of those.  In that case, you might have an interest in informing yourself of the two presidential candidates’ positions regarding the arts.

Obama has assembled a National Arts Policy Committee of 33 leaders in the arts (comprised of roughly 50% women), and has put out a two-page platform in support of the arts.  You can read it here: www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/additional/Obama_FactSheet_Arts.pdf

John McCain?  Neither his website nor the Republican platform even mentions the arts as an issue. Even in the section of their platform that deals with education, the Republicans stress a “back to basics” approach and do not mention the arts. (See http://platform.gop.com/2008Platform.pdf )

And if digital art is your thing, there’s more: Go to Obama’s website, click on Issues, and you can go directly to Technology to find out where he stands.  McCain?  Technology?  Try finding that future-facing issue on his website if you can!  After all, why would a guy who doesn’t even know how to turn on a computer and send an e-mail want to waste time thinking about technology?

For further reading on their arts policies (or lack thereof): http://www.womenarts.org/news/september2008news.htm#policies

For more on technology: http://www.idolhands.com/personal/obama-is-restful/