In the definitive sound bite of the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney declared, “I love Big Bird.” Despite that adoration, Romney also said he wanted to cut funding to PBS. However, he really shouldn’t sack Sesame Street considering all of the educational value it contains. Not just for kids, but for Mitt, too. Actually, there’s a lot Romney could stand to learn from Big Bird:
1. Sesame Street uses the “One of these things is not like the others” song frequently. Even children in their earliest developmental stages are able to discern differences among items. It’s relevant because Romney is adamant that corporations are people. If I were to put three people and a corporation in front of a child, I’m sure she could point out hundreds of dissimilarities, so why can’t Romney do the same?
2. When Romney was caught on a secret recording deriding half of the country as government moochers with a sense of entitlement, it looked like Romney was going to have to a deliver a big apology. Instead, he more or less stuck by his offensive words and paid for it in the polls. Take it from Big Bird and his well-known song: “Everybody makes mistakes!” Admitting he was wrong might not have entirely fixed the problem, but it certainly would have helped.
3. Romney is losing the battle for Latino voters by a wide margin, and it could cost him the election. Perhaps directing a mariachi band like Big Bird does in this clip would come across as pandering, but having any positive interaction with the Latino community would be helpful over his apparent current strategy of severely bronzing before a Univision appearance and declaring that he’d “have a better shot at winning” if he had substantial Mexican heritage.
4. Big Bird may not be able to fit into a polling booth, but he seems pretty excited to vote one day now that his adult friends have taught him about the process. Too bad he may not be able to do, as I doubt Big Bird has a driver’s license. While Republicans may be pushing voter ID laws in the hopes of securing a Romney victory, it would be nice if Romney looked at the disenfranchisement from an ethical perspective rather than saying, “I like voter ID laws… more of them.”
5. As it turns out, Romney has long supported Monsanto, the evil corporate giant that produces genetically modified crops. Real produce doesn’t need to be manipulated to be harvested and delicious. Big Bird also used to be ignorant as to how food originated until kids took him to a farm, so a similar adventure might be in order for Mitt. Of course, rumors that Romney privately prefers organic items might mean he has a better understanding of healthy eating than the laws and businesses he publicly supports would indicate. (Perhaps all of those cries for the poor to eat the rich are useful, as the rich will be the only ones who could afford to have any nutrition in their bodies.)
6. Romney creates a public health care system in Massachusetts, but then blames Obama for inventing a similar program on a national level. Romney dismisses 47% of Americans for not paying taxes, while using benefits and exemptions to pay tax rates significantly below the average American… and that’s just on the tax returns he’s willing to show! Big Bird had to learn a similar lesson when he first encountered a fellow bird and denied the similarities. Romney may want to pretend others aren’t birds just like him, but you’re both birds, Mitt, and you look silly pretending otherwise.
7. Former high school classmates have leveled accusations that Romney was a bully. While one would hope he grew out of that mentality, the fact that, as governor, he ended a commission focused on LGBT bullying demonstrates how lightly he takes the issue of bullying. Poor Big Bird has faced similar harassment for being too tall or too yellow, and maybe seeing the suffering our feathered friend had to endure would be enough for Romney to take a firmer stance against bullying.
8. ”I oppose marijuana being used for recreational purposes and I believe the federal law should prohibit the recreational use of marijuana,” Romney said. But as Big Bird discovers once he eats his first bite of an apple: how can you know that you don’t like it until you’ve given it a try? I understand that Romney’s religion forbids drinking, let alone drug use, but if he doesn’t want to try marijuana itself, he could also just try legalizing it and see how that goes for everyone.
9. Big Bird finds that learning the alphabet can be fun. Okay, okay, I’m pretty sure Romney already knows the alphabet, but after the whole “Amercia” debacle, as well as a couple of other notable campaign misspellings, maybe it wouldn’t hurt for Romney and his team to brush up on the alphabet a little bit.
Having heard Romney’s proposed tax plans, it seems like he could also use some help with math, too. I think I’ll leave that instruction up to the Count, though.
Photo Credit: Evelyn Giggles