By Justin Williams
With Barack Obama’s new appointment of former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach to chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), new attention is being brought onto a program called We the People. This program is funded with the purpose for furthering the study of civics and bringing Americans together through their history.
And, perhaps not surprisingly, for Obama’s fiscal budget for 2010, it is the only NEH program that is receiving a cut.
We the People won widespread laud for doing a television documentary on the life and writings of Thomas Paine who said “Government even in its best state, is but a necessary evil, in its worst state, an intolerable one”—which may explain at least in part why the Obama Administration has cut this and increased all other NEH programs.
As with most government proposals, under the fairytale-sounding narrative, there is a paragraph that tells exactly why the Obama NEH intends to expand its own select menu of programming. And just like all the other latest proposals of the Obama administration, once you begin to scratch the surface, all the deep dark matter shows.
The NEH claims that its programs will “Strengthen humanities teaching and learning in the nation’s schools and colleges.” Under that sweet-sounding tripe, it reads that they will fund “outreach programs of Humanities Initiatives for Faculty at Historically Black, Hispanic Serving, and Tribal colleges and universities.”
And there you have it: the Obama administration believes that it can bring Americans closer together by funding only colleges and universities that historically have had only minority students. Obama has chosen to increase this while reducing a program, We the People, which “support(s) enrichment workshops for K-12 school teachers at important historical and cultural sites around the nation.” So much for “cultural sites” where the “wrong” cultures may have lived.
The NEH also believes that it could “Preserve and increase access to cultural and intellectual resources essential for the American people” by supporting programs that “preserve and provide access” to “information relating to the estimated 3,000 of the world’s 6,000-7,000 current spoken languages that are on the verge of extinction.”
In other words, the program in We the People that worked at preserving “U.S. newspapers from 1836 to 1922” was not apt at doing this. And neither apparently did providing “free sets of classic works of literature” to libraries.
Americans for Limited Government has always been a supporter of rolling back government and, of course, the budget increases for the NEH continue to add more and more to the already deep hole of U.S. national debt. But the move by the Obama administration to shift policies away from these that seem to achieve goals that bring Americans together to those that seem to discriminately fund small groups is not only wrongful; it’s shameful.
And then, of course, there is the overt attack on Thomas Paine. It begs the question, why is it that the Obama administration is not showing signs of slowing down government spending on various issues (i.e. bailouts, “stimuli,” health care, etc.) but the one program cut in the NEH is the one that supported freedom fighters—and not so coincidently—treasured “that government which governs least.”
One would have hoped that the Obama Administration after inheriting a trillion-dollar deficit would have pursued a limited government budget, in order to prevent the U.S. from going deeper and deeper in debt. No matter what the cost.
Instead, the policies seem to be more of a ploy to divide the country and skew American history. All the while, of course, Obama creates new voting blocs for the Democratic Party—while making certain that those victimized by such reckless, ruthless political chicanery remain are nary once reminded that, indeed, “These are times that try men’s souls.”
Justin Williams is a Contributing Editor of ALG News Bureau.