South Carolina Governor wants to hear from you

After a weekend of not much sleep (I calculated it out: 3.5 hours of sleep in a 60.5 hour period…who’s the baddest?  I the baddest) for an amazingly successful 2012 SSA Annual Leadership Conference, it’s back to bloggings.  I have all kinds of new people to yell at.  The first group is a bunch you can, and should yell at too, because sharing is caring.

Republicans have this nasty habit of “helping the economy” in the present at the expense of fewer educated minds in the future which, I’m sure in their eyes, has the happy effect of not only making it look like the GOP has miraculously freed up money now, but also increasing their voting base in the next generation.  Sadly, one of the first things to go is the pesky, pesky arts programs (trust the music major on this one).

Case in point: Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina, has decided that the South Carolina Commission of Arts needs to be eliminated.  Not reorganized, not trimmed down; destroyed.

I’m sure the hope is that people will think, “Meh, people don’t really need art and that money can be used for fixing the economy, because the Republicans did great with that the last time they had a shot.”  But that’s wrong is multiple parts.  The first is that art is everywhere around you and you pay for it.  The digital art in virtually every TV show you watch?  Artists.  The music in movies and the special effects?  Artists.  The graphics in the video games you love (and for which there is a huge market that does well even in a recession)?  Artists, artists, artists.  Art, it turns out, is one of the few things humans generally don’t cut back on in order to pinch pennies.  We need it to live fulfilled lives.

The second part about arts not generating money is also wrong.  As Ashley Miller points out, art is more profitable than you think.

The arts in South Carolina brings in $9.2 billion and creates 78,000 jobs at a cost of 1.9 million to the Arts Commission.

The narrative from Haley’s office, I’m sure, will be that they freed up $1.9 million.  And all the people who never learned how to read two-levels deep into a claim (hint: look for the ones who got shitty educations) are going to eat it up.

This needs to be opposed.  Ashley has even more reasons as well as all the phone numbers of the people who need an earful from an angry populace.  Start your Monday by reaching out and touching someone…and screaming at them.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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