You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone, right? The government shutdown is increasingly having that effect, as people in Wisconsin experience what happens when federally-funded programs and services are not available.
It is largely thanks to federal funding that, for 47 years, we’ve made the humanities a living, breathing part of your life and the lives of millions of people throughout Wisconsin.
I’m not considering cancelling grant rounds or programs because of the shutdown. I hope it will be over long before we would take such steps. Instead, today, the shutdown is a forceful reminder of why Americans have long believed that the humanities and the arts should receive federal support.
Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens. It must therefore foster and support a form of education, and access to the arts and the humanities, designed to make people of all backgrounds and wherever located masters of their technology and not its unthinking servants. –National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965 (P.L. 89-209)
That’s what we said as a nation in 1965 when Congress passed the bill that created the National Endowment for the Humanities and its sister for the arts. We agreed then, as a nation, that the health of our democracy depends upon the humanities.
Today we are divided as we were in 1965, and even more threatened by technological change. It takes each of us, and all of us, to make the nation whole. Will you join me in renewing that agreement?