It was appropriate then, that an email dropped into my box yesterday announcing with dramatic flair that:
[The] "House Appropriations Committee... approved the [2012 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies] bill (by a vote of 28-18) that would fund both the NEA and NEH at $135 million, representing a nearly $20 million cut from current funding and $11 million less than the President's FY12 request for each agency."
This bill provides funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), along with about a dozen other museums and preservation organizations.
My response to this news clearly represents the irony in my life. As a grant writer for a local museum I have, in fact, targeted the NEH as a possible funder for some of our programs.
At the same time, as a taxpayer and citizen, I demand to know why they didn't cut the whole $155 million out of the budget since that's not a Constitutionally approved use of tax money to begin with!
Delving into the study of our Constitution, the Founding Fathers and modern government of late has fueled my yearning to see government's grubby hands out of public life. I don't underestimate the institution- shattering earthquake such a change would create; many institutions be face heartbreaking decisions to restructure, merge or possibly close their doors entirely without the false crutch of federal funding. Yet I stand on the principle that the end results of large-scale restructuring would be a fresh new day brimming with promise for museums and their patrons alike.
Is it hypocritical then that I will still apply for any and all funds available - even if I don't think they should rightly be the government's to give?
I cannot help but imagine that God, with His vast sense of humor, observes with amusement the strange quandaries we work ourselves into much the way we laugh at outrageous comedies and slap-stick spoofs. So perhaps when the paradoxes of the world threaten to make my head spin yet again, I will take consolation in knowing I've contributed to heavenly gaiety... again.
What ironies do you live with everyday?