In This Age of Global Divide, Art Is the Best Unifying Force We Have

The power of art to unite us across political divides is paramount, despite a tendency of artists to be leftists. Victoria Coates, art historian and foreign policy advisor to Ted Cruz's 2016 Presidential Campaign, explains.

Victoria Coates: I blame the perception of art being liberal on [Pablo] Picasso because he was a card-carrying communist. It's interesting the artist who painted the great anti-fascist picture saw absolutely nothing wrong with totalitarian communism. And certainly most artists tend to be a liberal. I don't think though that that means that Republicans or conservatives can't appreciate art and that also that there aren't artists who can be conservative. That might be the sort of tendency, but I don't think it's exclusive. And I also think art, particularly the kind of art that's in David's Sling, is a real uniting force. I mean I don't care if you are Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz; I think you both can come together to appreciate an achievement like Michelangelo's David. That shouldn't be a difficult or a divisive thing; it should be a uniting thing. Whether we want to be or not, we are engaged in a civilizational struggle with forces that are extremely hostile to what we would consider to be the Western tradition, although now it is a global tradition with the inclusion of states like Japan and Israel. This is something we should all come together to support and celebrate and so art can be, I think, a wonderful vehicle for that kind of unity.

What's the one thing Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders can agree on? According to Victoria Coates, art historian and foreign policy advisor to Ted Cruz's 2016 Presidential Campaign, it should be an appreciation of art. The nature of art is to bridge gaps, she says, whether they are made by time, space, or political persuasion. In an era of divisive politics and global struggles against anti-cultural forces like ISIS, we need art that expresses the essential human experience more than ever.

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