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February 22 2011

Blacks Who Built the GOP

Source: Canada Free Press (2-21-11)

Many former slaves left a political legacy that’s been ignored or completely forgotten by their descendants—even during Black History Month.

As they struggled against the violence and racism of the mid-1800s, it’s likely they thought the inheritance they left would continue to improve the lives of their descendants.

Their legacy is the Republican Party.

For decades, Black people have given over 90 percent of their votes to the Democrat Party. The Democrats can always count on strong support from the Black Community.

But that certainly wasn’t the case during the mid-1800s. During that time, the Republican Party led the fight against strong Democrat opposition to pass the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. The amendments abolished slavery, granted blacks citizenship and the right to vote. It was clear to all Black people who their friends were in the political arena....

Reposted fromsigalonhistory sigalonhistory

December 02 2010

The Smithsonian 'Anty Christ' censured and censored | Jennifer Abel

I don't think artists should be publicly funded, but that's not the issue. This is the religious right masquerading as fiscal rectitude

Despite the lip service American politicos pay to principles like "freedom" or "limited government", it only lasts until one sees something he personally doesn't like. Once you understand this, it makes perfect sense that Republican congressmen John Boehner and Eric Cantor set about establishing their small-government bona fides by ordering an art museum to alter one of its displays.
The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery is hosting an exhibit called Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, which explores gay and lesbian themes. Naturally, this offended conservative Catholic political activists, who made a point of viewing the exhibit firsthand. Having seen it, they decided nobody else should; CNS News indignantly reported "images of an ant-covered Jesus, male genitals, naked brothers kissing, men in chains, Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, and a painting the Smithsonian itself describes in the show's catalogue as 'homoerotic'."

CNS expended most of its ire on the "ant-covered Jesus" – a video of ants crawling on a crucifix, which the artist (now deceased) said symbolises the suffering of Aids victims. When CNS brought it to Cantor and Boehner's attention, they ordered the Smithsonian to take it down.

Boehner's spokesman called it "symbolic of the arrogance Washington routinely applies to thousands of spending decisions", and said "Smithsonian officials should either acknowledge the mistake and correct it, or be prepared to face tough scrutiny beginning in January." Cantor, meanwhile, interpreted the video as "an obvious attempt to offend Christians during the Christmas season".

Under this pressure, the Smithsonian caved and removed the video. It's hard to blame them, if they thought the alternative might be the shutting down of the entire museum a few months hence.

Government art funding is a perennial sore point with culture-warrior Republicans; in the 1980s, Senator Jesse Helms – another limited-government advocate – brought complaints about Andres Serrano's Piss Christ to the floor of the Senate.

Such anti-art crusades are often couched in the language of limited government, saying the feds shouldn't be involved in the art business. At least, Helms and his allies had some valid – albeit spittle-drenched – points about public grant money subsidising individual artists: private people can become artists' patrons if they wish, but government has no business favouring one group of artists over another, and taxpayers shouldn't have to fund the privileged few chosen by bureaucrats with artsy pretensions.

But that's not the case in the Smithsonian controversy. No tax money went to the artist; indeed, the only public money involved was that from the Smithsonian's general operating budget. Boehner and Cantor aren't stopping a controversial artist from sucking on the public teat; they're ordering the Smithsonian to avoid displaying anything that offends the religious right's sensibilities.

There's merit to the argument that, especially in this dismal economy, taxpayers shouldn't be required to fund things they find offensive. I agree, which is why I'd like to cut all tax funding not only for art projects, but also for the dishonest anti-drug propaganda of DARE and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, or worthless abstinence-only sex education programmes.

But Cantor and Boehner won't extend their small-government principles that far. Cantor surely believes Christians have the right to insist no tax money ever help anything they find offensive; but he wouldn't extend that right to Americans in general.

Cutting all government art funding won't do anything to solve the deficit, but it would have one undeniable advantage: next time congressmen speak out against an art exhibit, they'll no longer be able to drape their bigotry beneath the cloak of fiscal responsibility. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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