Are you eligible to vote in the USA on Tuesday, November 6, 2018?
Do you know where to vote?
Do you have an upcoming primary election?
Do you still need to register to vote?

Even if you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that the election on Tuesday, November 6th has the potential to be a game-changer for our country.

One of the ways this rings true is in arts funding. Sure, funding for the National Endowment for the Arts is good for 2018. But what about 2019?

And how about union-related issues?

For example, the increasing number of so-called “Right-to-Work” states. In these states, unions are prohibited from requiring dues from people who work under a union contract. Dues being a huge source of income for unions, “Right-to-Work” has the potential to weaken organized labor. The Classical Music Industry is heavily unionized. Do you like when musicians make a good wage and work under good conditions? Your vote on Tuesday, November 6th could influence this.

And what about pensions?

I know, it’s not the sexiest topic. But interesting or not, we’re talking about the ability for a musician to retire with dignity.

It’s no secret that multi-employer pension plans are hurting. Almost ten years ago, the government bailed out the big financial institutions. There are people running for office want to bring the same kind of relief to pensions; anybody on your November 6th ballot feel this way? This could affect the lives of so many Middle Class workers.

Hey now THAT’S a sexy topic–The Middle Class! Political candidates just love talking about how they’ll save the Middle Class. But which of these people actually make a difference?

Because here’s another Middle Class issue: new tax laws! I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on this, so I direct you to this article if you want more information. But suffice it to say, as a result of newly passed tax legislation, many musicians are going to be paying more for their 2018 taxes than in previous year. At the same time, “the richest Americans get a $33,000 tax break“. Did a candidate who is running for re-election on your Tuesday, November 6th ballot support this?

And, for something different…

One of the most magical aspects of Classical Music is when it brings people of seemingly irreconcilable differences together with a common goal of presenting beauty to the world. Many of us in the industry often refer to the example of Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a youth orchestra in Spain comprised of people from all over the Middle East.

The Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra performed with ballet companies from the former Soviet Union for years before the USSR dissolved. The Kennedy Center being our nation’s cultural center, this was no small statement.  There are so many more examples of international diplomacy in Classical Music like this. And yet, the current White House’s ongoing actions regarding immigration and travel restrictions for people coming into the United States could stifle these efforts.

I fear that this administration demonstrates that the United States isn’t capable of being respectful, creative, and collaborative with the rest of the world at this point in time. Will the United States lose visiting artists because they are afraid to enter the country? Will we miss out on opportunities abroad because other countries are disgusted with our President?

And of course, there are other concerns with this issue as well. For example, a complete disregard for Human Rights at the U.S.-Mexico Border and at our airports. Did anybody on your Tuesday, November 6th ballot support these immigration and travel policies?

Train tracks at the center of the photo heading into very thick, gray clouds, although the sun shines from behind them. The tracks are on top of grass.

So again, I ask…

Are you eligible to vote in the USA on Tuesday, November 6, 2018?
Do you know where to vote?
Do you have an upcoming primary election?
Do you still need to register to vote?

About Doug Rosenthal

No one told Douglas Rosenthal to give up playing music. Not even his patient siblings, who endured many early-morning practice sessions; even they encouraged their brother to follow his passion. As the years passed, that passion evolved from simply playing music to advocating for music, musicians, and music-lovers. Douglas is based in Washington, DC. He is the Assistant Principal Trombonist of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra/Washington National Opera Orchestra. He currently makes his home on Capitol Hill in DC with a pug named Jake, who serves as a constant reminder to relax, eat well, and sleep plentifully.

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