The Politics of Big Bird
During the first Presidential debate Barak Obama gave Mitt Romney a pass on what has to be one of the most egregiously insipid and outright stupid statements uttered by a White House aspirant. The man who likes to fire people, play loose with the facts, change his philosophy chameleon-like almost on a daily basis has told the American people that, should he be elected President, he would cut funding for PBS, do away with Big Bird, and fire Jim Lehrer. After his poor showing, Lehrer’s performance could very well be under review. However, to pluck the feathery and furry tribes off the air by presidential fiat is to unconscionably rob our children of limitless educational opportunities that only Mitt the Grouch could ever so proudly declare.
A few years back I saw a PBS (yes, PBS!!!) nature program on the manner in which certain entomological species use sub species as incubators for their progeny. To propagate, the unusually large female wasp, better known a the Killer Cicada Wasp, hunts for cicadas, a much weaker insect species, lights on its back, injects it with a disabling venom, hauls it to its underground habitat, lays an egg through its dorsal shell, and continues the process until it has accumulated several paralyzed (but not dead) cicadas, each of which is impregnated with an egg. Fully embedded in the cicadas’ backs and slowly sucking the life (tissue and all) out of the cicadas, within two weeks the wasp’s eggs are ready to go into the world to continue the metamorphic cycle of life, survival, and death. So perfect is this predator/prey relationship nothing but the cicada’s crusty shell is left to, perhaps, benefit yet another sub specie in the food chain.
Mitt Romney’s flouted business acumen, as per his own rhetoric (and the rhetoric of his supporters), is an attempt to reinvent himself as a compassionate, patriotic, and God-fearing family man. And his supporters have cast and show-cased him as a most successful businessman who should not apologize for his financial success. After all, hasn’t Mitt accomplished the American dream?
Halaby, Raouf J. Professor Emeritus, "The Politics of Big Bird" (2012). Articles. 110.