First of all, I just want to say that this is not a political piece. As you know, I barely pay attention to politics. But I did happen to watch the debate last week, and I was fairly upset when Romney said that he was going to cut funding for PBS.
So in a form of protest, I wore my Sesame Street t-shirt today:
|"T-Shirt Mike" at his finest.|
This isn't the first time I have defended PBS shows. I also stood up for Mr. Rogers, when everyone was saying that he was the reason that my generation thinks they deserve things without putting in the work.
I also wore my Mister Rogers shirt in protest then:
I just don't understand why people go after these shows, which are probably the only pure things that exist in today's world.
Shows like Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood raised me. Aside from learning actual things like numbers, letters, and spelling, those shows also taught me lessons about making friends, sharing, curiosity, and kindness.
We are worried about the United States falling behind in education.
We are also behind on money.
Smart adults can help us make money.
Smart adults start out as smart children.
So yea, let's take away quality programming that helps to shape them before they even go to school. It might be better for them to not have imaginative minds, after all. That way they will be so aloof that they don't even realize that they are missing out on art, music, and other classes, which were also cut as a means of saving money.
Plus, the most successful television shows incorporate sex, violence, and teen pregnancy, so why mess with that winning formula?
During the debates, one of my heroes, Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted, "Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive."
In other words, "Cutting PBS ain't gonna do shit to help the economy."
I understand the premise of Romney's argument. His idea is that the money has to come from somewhere and while it might be just a drop in the bucket, every drop counts.
But wait a minute.
I remember something back in 1996 that stimulated the economy. You might too:
It has sold ten million units to date. If we are going to count drops in the bucket, we should probably count this one too.
But let's be honest here. The PBS droplet isn't something that should just be plopped into a bucket with the rest of the collective water that is going to hydrate our economy. Instead, we should look at that little droplet and praise it for doing so much and affecting so many while being only just a tiny little droplet.
While I was dealing poker a few weeks ago, a group of five women walked by our table. As it usually happens in a room of mostly men, everyone at the table took a moment to notice (See: gawk at) the group.
All five were wearing tight-fitting dresses which were apparently chosen to show as much skin as possible.
Four of them were petite.
The fifth was not.
Like, at all*.
*It is the nicest way I can say it. But keep in mind that the whole "tight-fitting dress" and "showing as much skin as possible" still applied to her.
At the table, one of the players began singing the song "One of these things is not like the other," which you might remember from Sesame Street.
If you don't remember, I'll let Big Bird help you out:
Yes, it was inappropriate. And sure, it might have been in poor taste.
But everyone immediately knew the song he was referencing and were able to quickly understand which one was the "big bowl of bird seed," if you will.
If a show that we all watched in our childhood has that kind of power -- to be randomly sung years and years later and be universally recalled and accepted -- imagine all of the other lessons that were imprinted in our psyches as children that we subconsciously recall throughout our days. Lessons about fairness, sharing, and learning that were imprinted in us. They aren't recalled as facts, but are ingrained in our personalities. All of it beneficial, wholesome stuff, given to us at a young age so that we might have a chance to survive a sometimes dark world.
To take away such wonderful shows, shows with such pure intentions that actually deliver... I don't know.
It seems criminal.
Today's children would certainly be robbed of something precious and wonderful. I just hope that with all of these drops in the bucket, we pick the right ones. Otherwise it might be the teardrops of our children that fill the bucket.