Yes, We Really Do Need to Save PBS

It’s recently become apparent that PBS is no longer a priority for certain members of our congressional and executive branches. I have to say… this is making me a real grouch.

All jokes aside, Sesame Street was a vital part of my childhood. I learned quite a bit watching it as a kid. I even had a Big Bird blanket that I used to wrap around myself like a cocoon before I went to sleep every night. You could say I was a pretty big fan, but I wasn’t the only one, because my parents loved it too. Instead of being trouble and rooting around, my parents could count on me to spend time watching my friends on Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers in the afternoons because they knew it meant they could get some time to chill out. I would argue it was some of the only time they’d get to relax during those days. After all, future politicians never shut up when they’re kids.

It’s deeper than this, though. It wasn’t just the fact that I was learning valuable life lessons from Mr. Rogers and my parents could catch a break from my chaotic youth. It was the fact that it was an affordable option for me to be able to tune in to and learn after school was over. It came standard with the rabbit ears back before everything was digital. It was there for every family to watch, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

My time with PBS didn’t end as my childhood came to its conclusion, either. I found myself getting lost in the likes of NOVA as I fell in love with science and truth in my adolescence. I dreamed of stars and distant lands while watching. It made me want to understand the complexities of our planet and beyond. It allowed me to keep dreaming as I grew up. Even after my parents found themselves in a better financial situation and we got cable, I would still set aside the time to watch this show every week. Reflecting on all of the enjoyment I’ve gotten from PBS over the years today, as I run for office, I can’t believe that the funding should ever be in question. So, although he has since passed, I’m going to take the advice of an old friend and share my thoughts with you…

The truth is: This is petty. The funding for PBS takes almost nothing out of our wallets as taxpayers, but it gives so much to our society. I was one of the kids who watched PBS growing up. I was one of the adolescents dreaming of space while watching NOVA. I’m still the one who watches the Antique Roadshow with my parents from time to time. I was lucky to have PBS when my parents were going through hard times and couldn’t afford cable during my youth, and there are still many families struggling to make ends meet. They rely on PBS for programming that educates and enlightens them at all ages. We cannot justify spending increased money on bombs that intend to harm while we cut programming that intends to educate. As a civilized society, we have to keep pushing to learn and enlighten others. PBS has been an outlet for enlightenment for so many and we will set a terrible precedent by cutting its funding.

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