We do not now, and we never did live in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Though he tried very hard and we parents of the late 60s and early 70s give our kids over to his tutelage for hours each week, the world of Brockett’s Bakery is in the World of Make Believe and Mr. Trolley can no longer transport us there.
There is no zip-up cardigan for us to slip into as we don our blue sneakers to leave our work-a-day world to create a world safe for children. We live in a world where children are forcibly taken from parents and kept in chain-link enclosures. We live in a world where the bakery down the street can refuse to bake a wedding cake with two men or two women atop it because the marital status of the customers offends the religious sensibility of the baker. We live in a world where parents need to explain to their children what the President means when he says on TV that he has grabbed them by their ‘pussy.’ We live in a world where it would take Mr. Rogers several episodes to help the audience understand that when the President tells things that have no basis in fact, that he is telling a lie. No, we do not have to pretend that Prince Tuesday is having scary dreams. The nightmare a substantial number of us are having is not pretend.
And no, Donny, we do not “like you, just the way you are!” One of Fred Rogers quotes is simply not true when it comes to you; “One of the greatest gifts you can give is the gift of your honest self…” Your honest self, Mr. President is an embarrassment, and an offense to decency and civility. I am not talking about conservative policies with which many of us disagree, I am speaking about you, you as a person.
It is true that we did once have a President elected from Ohio who had a private nom de guerre for his penis, I think he called it ‘Jerry,’ and it is true that one of our assassinated leaders is reported to have had affairs aplenty, but you sir, ‘take the cake.’ A minority of us in this country elected you, Donald, to the highest office in the land, but now all of us are stuck with a moral low-life.
But to stop the ad hominem nature of this piece and get back to the nightmare, your policies are as immoral as your character. Your tax bill feeds the bloated wealthy. Your foreign trade ideas undermine American industry in the short and long run. Your flirtation with foreign oligarchs and despots is egomania disguised as foreign policy. Your immigration policies are counter-productive to the future of our society, contrary to our national principles and inhumane.
Come mid-terms, Mr. McFeely and many of us, I hope this time a majority, will not be singing to you and yours, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.”