Alright folks – I was supposed to be in bed already, but I just can’t get sleepy tonight. However, for once I’m glad to have insomnia, because I managed to find out about something awesome happening next month, right before the election.
Mitt Romney, in his debate performance the other night, made it clear that PBS funding was on the chopping block should he be elected in November. His reference to Big Bird getting a pink slip angered many Americans, who understand the value of non-commercial television that educates, entertains and offers alternative sources for news and information. But Americans have rushed to the defense of Big Bird and his PBS friends, and that outpouring of outrage against Romney’s attack has led to the Million Muppet March.
The Million Muppet March is intended to raise awareness and support for the nation’s public television stations, and for the programming they offer. Scheduled for November 3, it is to take place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The organizers of the march have set up a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account to get information out as it becomes available.
At the moment, details are scarce. It’s not clear what the march will involve, other than gathering folks together to show their support. But that’s really all it needs to be. America tends to take public television for granted. In this world where the internet is the main conduit for many people’s news, entertainment and communication needs, the significance of shows like Sesame Street might be overlooked.
Mitt Romney actually did this country a favor by waking us all up to the possibility of losing PBS. The public response to Romney’s declaration of war against public television was a deafening “Oh, HELL no!” People who probably hadn’t watched or cared about Sesame Street in years, or possibly even decades, were disgusted and alarmed by Romney’s words. And thanks to the spotlight being directed at Big Bird this week, many Americans are paying attention to PBS again.
It would be fantastic if those who understand what public television is really worth would do something about it. Donating to the PBS Foundation or to a local PBS station would be great, and so would writing letters or emails to legislators so that they know where you stand regarding funding for public television. You may want to stop by Romney’s campaign website and leave a comment, too.
I won’t be in D.C. when this march takes place, but I encourage everyone who is in or near the D.C. area to consider attending. The Muppets, Sesame Street and PBS have always been there for us, and we should be there for them.