Editorial comment

The party of misinformation


No wonder today’s national Republican Party doesn’t like Sesame Street enough to keep funding it. The show and the party’s goals are diametrically opposed. 

Let’s start with the theme song, which begins “come and play” — the first indication that it breeds just the kind of hippie/bum/welfare queens who make up the 47 percent of the nation content with sucking on society’s teet.

Who cares if they’re toddlers? Members of the Republican Party want to do away with laws that keep tots out of the workplace so they can pull up their bootstraps along with their pull-ups and get on with it. 

Maine and Wisconsin just loosened their child labor laws and Newt Gingrich suggests that children would develop a better work ethic by laboring as janitors in their schools rather than wasting time learning words that begin with the letter B.

Because ‘B’ stands for ‘book’ and it’s elitists like the kids who grow up watching Sesame Street and then go on to college who are now more likely to vote Democratic than Republican. Those rancid halls of higher education also are  increasingly made up of women and people of color, who are also more likely to vote for Democratic candidates on the national stage. 

It’s shows like Sesame Street or News Hour with Jim Lehrer that help produce an educated nation of critical thinkers who might think twice before voting against their interests. 

One — ah ha ha ha. That’s the percentage of Americans who would benefit from Romney’s economic policy. And when the masses learn to add huge increases in military spending and to subtract tax cuts for the rich from programs they depend on, that’s when the bats come out.    

Sesame Street began airing in 1969 as an educational experiment in children’s television. It aims to teach very young children about numbers and letters in an honest, multi-cultural way and bring old-fashioned neighborliness to the grit and grouchiness of urban streets, like the fictional New York one on which the show is based. Those goals used to be so bi-partisan that Big Bird dined with Barbara Bush. 

Now Mitt Romney wants to toss him out on his wing. 

In the current Republican vision of the nation, Big Bird would not only be handed a pink slip, he would be cut off from unemployment, caged in an airless coop with thousands of other birds, strapped to the roof of a car and served alongside a giant basket of freedom fries with a 50-ounce drink to wash it all down. 

Those serving him up would make a poverty (minimum) wage and those eating him could always just go to the emergency room if they got sick. 

And that’s what they don’t want you to know. 

As our nation increasingly becomes educationally challenged and achievement gaps between whites and non-whites persist, even Sesame Street has stopped being Aye-OK with the extreme right wing that has taken control of the Republican Party.  

They see an educated population — not the miniscule amount of federal funding educational programming is allotted — as the real danger. That’s why they have engaged in a campaign of misinformation to disenfranchise voters. 

Quick — if you live in Pennsylvania and do not have photo ID, can you vote in the next election? How about Ohio, where extended early voting may come down to whether you live in a Republican or Democratic county?

You may have been sure the answer was yes just four short years ago, but Republicans have managed to muddy the waters just enough that you may be scratching your head now. 

 The last thing they want is some snotty public television announcer setting the record straight.