Mitt, the Conservative Right and its assault on Sesame Street
by David J. Leonard
| NewBlackMan in Exile
During last night’s presidential debate, which was lackluster to say the least, Mitt Romney finally unveiled some specifics as it relates to his slash the deficit, taxes, and spending economic plan – the “no reason to hope, the future will be grim” plan. He announced his desire to defund PBS, which according to Neil deGrasse Tyson, accounts for .012% of the federal budget. His war on Muppets prompted a deluge of social media posts ranging from images of an unemployed Big Bird to an angry Elmo seeking revenge.
While reflecting people’s anger and anxiety about the nature of the political process, his oft-handed remark is revealing. At one level, it demonstrates the Republican Party’s opposition to public support for institutions and organizations that advance a social good. It represents their contempt for the social contract. At another level, it embodies an ideological movement that promotes divestment from public education, health care, and countless other social programs. The recasting of Cookie Monster, Grover, and Snuffy as freeloading welfare recipients constitutes a continuation of the GOP’s structural adjustment program that started some thirty years ago. Whether or not Mitt Romney like’s Big Bird, or public teachers, firefighters, or health care workers is irrelevant.
The gutting of public higher education throughout the nation, the destruction of America’s parks and recreation facilities, and now the proposed foreclosure on Sesame Street is part of a larger movement to divested from public support and institutions, that which is utilized by the middle-class, working-class and America’s poor. It is yet another example of the true essence of the GOP AKA POP – Privatization Old Party.