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You may not believe in magic, but it has touched the souls of a number of Republicans, who are now calling for the nation to officially recognize it “as a rare and valuable art form and national treasure.” This week, Texas Congressman Pete Sessions introduced a bill to the House of Representatives that lists a slew of reasons why you, too, should care about the paranormal. It’s cosponsored by seven other right-wingers.
Like all recognized art forms — from the visual arts to literature — magic has “the unique power and potential to impact the lives of all people,” allowing them to “experience the impossible” while bringing them “wonder and happiness,” says the bill. We’re glad the congressmen are so vocal about their support of the practice, while some of them also obstruct or oppose policies that could similarly “impact the lives of all people.” Sessions, specifically, believes in magic but does not extend such heartfelt endorsements to gay marriage, abortion as an unrestricted right, increased energy regulations, and restrictions on gun ownership, to name a few very real issues. Perhaps policymakers are suggesting women use magic to have abortions.
— Mark Takano (@RepMarkTakano) March 15, 2016
As ABC News reported, a spokesperson for the NRA-endorsed Sessions noted that his constituency includes a “robust magic community” and that he first became aware of its lack of official recognition from the mayor of Wylie, Texas, Eric Hogue. A former magician, Hogue is credited in the resolution as using his “skills to teach elementary school students about the different roles and responsibilities of local government.”
The text also praises a number of more well-known figures associated with magic, from Leonardo da Vinci and Georges Mélières to Harry Houdini and David Copperfield. The latter — whose “21 Emmy Awards, 11 Guinness World Records, and over four billion dollars in ticket sales” the bill references — actually receives the most mentions. When Copperfield got word of the proposed legislation, he said that it “means everything.
“To get respect for magic is a continuing quest,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “We all need to escape, we all need to dream, we all need to be inspired. Sharing infinite possibilities with young people — I think we can all agree on that.”
This isn’t the first time Sessions has pushed for such recognition of magic: he brought similar arguments to the House in 2014. Then, he mentioned that the bill’s passage would help magicians obtain federal arts grants, which would be pretty significant. That previous attempt was unsuccessful; we’ll see how this one fares, but knowing how government operates, successfully passing the bill through Congress may prove quite a trick to pull off.
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