Posted tagged ‘the arts’

Mike Marshall for Secretary of the Arts

January 13, 2009

        First the disclaimer:  I have spent my life as a country doctor and part-time bluegrass picker, and know little else.  My agent says I am a hopelessly naive country boy, and he has not been wrong about me yet.  But I guess it is O.K. to write my personal thoughts, so here goes.

        Recently an e-mail caught my attention.  It was an on-line petition to nominate Mike Marshall for Secretary of the Arts.  In spite of the fact I know nothing of politics, I can not imagine a better choice.

        According to the e-mail, there has been consideration in the Obama administration to create a Secretary of the Arts position.  Your first question might be why do we need this.

        To my mind we need it more than ever.  One thing that bothers me about modern politics is it has been so divisive.  Given the Obama administration has made it a point to try to bring us together rather than divide us, it seems the arts would be a good place to start.

        Mike is the kind of artist who brings that mentality to the table.  He can communicate with an old bluegrass picker like me, but is also at ease with the high school orchestra kids he does workshops with.  He lives in Oakland, California, and grew up in Florida.  He loves the Gators (listen to his tune Gator Strut) but is equally at home in Brazil jamming away with the choro guys.  As a youth, he toured with David Grisman, and was in Europe with the great French jazz violinist Stephan Grapelli.  As Mike has said, music is like the wind.  It knows no boundaries and does not recognize artificial divisions of human beings.  Mike Marshall believes in allowing people their diversity and freedom, not only in music and the arts, but life in general.  I find the notion of his involvement in government a very unifying concept. 

        The petition for Mike Marshall has gathered momentum.  If you love the arts, and believe it brings important benefits to civilized society, check out the Secretary of the Arts concept, and tell folks about it.  It seems to me a step in the right direction.

Dr. B