Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Please Don't Take My Public Broadcasting Stations!

    Facebook is the modern equivalent of the old fashioned bulletin board. We post notes and posters for our favorite music, books, events, rallies, protests, politics, and opinions. Of course the bulk of the postings lately have been in regards to the political scene in the U.S. of A. and how it is all starting to manifest in our darkest nightmares. I made the comment, "We need to rebel in whatever means our personal gifts allow." For me, currently, that is the gift of words.
    I have always managed to remain what I consider "apolitical." Yes, I vote. But I vote my conscience, not along party lines. Yes, I have opinions. Most opinions I have kept to myself, knowing that no matter what I could say it will very likely not influence anyone else's opinion on their political beliefs. Add to this the fact that most people can't talk politics or religion on even the smallest scale without getting defensive and offensive. So I choose to keep my political thoughts to myself, much as I keep my spiritual beliefs to myself, and live as a solitary practitioner.  
    But desperate times call for desperate measures. The new POTUS is beginning to hack away at the guts of the regulations protecting our rights, our freedoms, our education, and our environment. Every aspect of what truly makes "America Great."  Under the guise of "budget cuts" he is even cutting funding for PBS and NPR, our best hope for untainted, unbiased news. Our best source for scientific, political, and literary information. So much of what I have learned over the years was sparked by an episode of Frontline, Nova, Oregon Art Beat, or one of the many fabulous documentaries offered free of charge through our local Public Broadcasting Station. Since the election I have limited my news source to National Public Radio, since it gives balanced news stories from all sides, and in depth reporting instead of easily misconstrued sound bites. My younger brothers, and my children (as well as millions of other children) were given their first taste of the delight of knowledge from shows like Sesame Street, Mister Rogers, Electric Company, and Bill Nye the Science Guy. I have learned countless recipes from The Frugal Gourmet, America's Test Kitchen, and Natalie Dupree, to name a few.
    Without access to intelligently designed and researched information we are left to the mercy of Google. I am not knocking Google, I use it frequently. But I have learned how to fact check, and sort through the garbage, because I learned at a young age that truth and facts are vital to a good end product be it a book report, science project, or chocolate cake. As they say, "Garbage In, Garbage Out." If we rely solely on the internet for our "news" stories we can be fed a steady stream of what have now been called "Alternative Facts." I can guaran-damn-tee you that PBS and NPR will not feed us the bullshit that seems to be flowing freely from our highest offices. Without truth, knowledge will be replaced with ignorance, understanding with bias, cooperation with alienation. The dumbing down of America could reach unfathomable depths.
    Even if you think I am over-reacting on this particular issue, think of the millions of lives touched by PBS. Can you honestly say that you have not been influenced on some level by Big Bird, the Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, or Mister Rogers? How many children learned their ABCs, numbers, and shapes with the help of Jim Henson's Muppets? How many children were made to feel special by the kind words of a sweatered Mister Rogers? That impact alone is enough to defend funding for our Public Broadcasting. Even though I am well below the poverty line I am making a donation to OPB, and will try to send money when I can. I think it is the American thing to do.

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