As National Political Conventions Convene, Could The Culture Cold War Turn Hot?

The Culture Wars from the latter decades of the 20th century managed to produce an ugly scar across the public arts funding landscape and although public debate tempered, the struggle was far from over. But unlike the very public debate that raged across national media during the 1980s and 1990s, recent battle grounds have emerged behind closed doors.

Adaptistration Guy TrumpRecent attempts to defund the US Military Music program are an excellent example but as national political conventions begin with this week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH, it is worth revisiting the questions we examined back in March, 2016.

That article juxtaposed the ongoing presidential election and its potential impact on the arts sector with what has been unfolding in Israel in the wake of a conservative controlled national government. In particular, attempts by Israeli Culture and Sport Minister, Miri Regev, to penalize arts organizations by way of defunding and imposing leadership attrition mandates if they violated what her party deemed as “actions against the principles of the state.”

Since then, Regev has continued to advance that agenda regardless of outcries from the Israeli arts sector and editorial positions from mainstream media.

Although discussions about arts and culture won’t likely make it into most speeches during the conventions, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t assume your candidate of choice supports the arts. Consequently, it pays to pay attention and ask campaign representatives about their arts and culture policy positions along with what they think about current efforts to defund the US Military Music program.

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