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June 24, 2011

To make a difference, “asking” is never enough. People have been asking from the beginning, and on a scale as grand as that of whether or not we should continue funding the arts in South Carolina (or in any state, for that matter) it has never been successful. We ask when the outcome will not affect us either way. One outcome may be desirable overĀ  the other, but in the grand scheme of things we ask when the request really doesn’t matter.

So, if asking will do us no good, what then must we do? Of course, we could always resort to begging. When the situation is desperate enough many of us will naturally resort to begging, and in many cases this method has proven successful. The problem is that begging may win a victory for the beggar, while simultaneously managing to effectively angering the opposing side. You never want to anger the opposing side with something as trivial as begging. So, from an advocate’s point of view, it’s got to be out of the question.

So, what then must we do?

There comes a time in a corrupt world of greed and deceit, when honesty and humility must shine through. In my own personal experiences, I have found that this throws the opponent off. It doesn’t take a grand philosopher to understand that honesty is an increasingly rare trait. Whenever we find it, it stirs us. True honesty (Redundant. No?) is the advocate’s friend.

Maybe it isn’t even honesty we want, as much as it is complete sincerity. Both are equally as rare, at any rate.


Speaking from the point of view of an arts advocate, it is crucial that we let our leaders know WHY the arts are important. I cannot speak from an economic viewpoint. I can hardly speak from a political viewpoint. But I can speak from the viewpoint of a young person who has allowed the arts to change my life, and build me as a human being. I could tell our leaders that without the arts, me and hundreds of other young people would go through our daily lives with a giant hole in our guts, because we have nothing with which to fill it other than less substantial and harmful substances that I need not name. I could tell them my story about how I found our local Community Theatre and by doing so found a community where I felt a sense of belonging and acceptance.

I could tell them that without the arts, I would be half of a person.

To begin to advocate, we must understand WHY we are advocating. We must understand why it all matters. To us, to the community, and ultimately to humanity as a whole. After that, it’s up to us to share that knowledge.

What do you think?

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