Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Decision 2008: views of an alternative presidential candidate (part one)

Frank McEnulty is running for U.S. president.

Never heard of him? That because he is not a Democrat or Republican but a member of the New American Independent Party.

One day prior to the McCain-Obama debate, McEnulty debated with Brad Lyttle of the U.S. Pacifist Party, Charles Jay of the Boston Tea Party, Gloria LaRiva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party, and Brian Moore of the Socialist Party. The debate of the alternative candidates took place at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

AN IMPORTANT CAVEAT: Other than making certain that independent or alternative people are offered the right to speak, this blog makes no endorsement of any political party in the U.S. But since arts and culture has been pretty much the lowest in the totem pole of priorities and issues in the current presidential debate, I did take the time to investigate the views of all the presidential candidates.

The Obama people pointed me to the official position created by the Obama National Arts Policy Committee. The McCain people never replied to my emails. A few third-party candidates did respond, and Frank McEnulty, a self-described "regular guy" with "two daughter" did reply to my questions.

Do you have an arts and culture policy or program?
FRANK McENULTY: No, I do not have an official policy or program at this time. However, I do believe that a vibrant arts scene is a very important part of any nation's well-being. I personally participate in the arts as a wood worker and wood turner. Wood-turning I find particularly artistic because I am able to allow the wood to somewhat dictate what it becomes as I turn it on the lathe.

RANDY: What is your position in regard to the future of National Endowment for the Arts?
McENULTY: I believe the National Endowment for the Arts is a very important part of what the federal government should be doing and an excellent example of what the federal government should be involved with on a national basis. In this age of continuing cutbacks throughout the nation of funding for arts programs, it is very important that the NEA continue to provide their very important funding support to state and local arts programs.

RANDY: Have you gone to see a theatre play or musical? What was the last theatre show that you saw? Did you like it enough to want to come back?
McENULTY: I thoroughly enjoy live theatre although it has been some time since I have been to a play or musical. With 2 teenage daughters who are heavily involved in both school and club sports my available time for other things is truly limited. The last live play I saw was last December, and it was called, "The History Boys." I will always avail myself of opportunities to go to live theatre.

RANDY: Have you ever helped improve the life of theatre artists in any way?
McENULTY: Only by going to their plays and promoting good things that I saw to those I know. In addition, companies I have run have in the past have owned three different concert venues, and we always went out of our way to make sure the talent had the easiest time they could hope for performing at our facilities.
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