There's just one thing that's been particularly bothering me that I want to get off my chest: Regardless of what he says, I don't believe that Mitt Romney really loves Big Bird at all.
I'm reminded of something that Muppet designer Ed Christie once said. He was talking specifically about Kami, the famous South African Sesame Street character, but I think it applies equally well to our domestic version:
These monsters, or abstracted weird fuzzy things that we do, people buy into it. They just love them, because they bring their own experience with it. [...] And when you love something, you want to take care of it, and when you want to take care of it, it becomes part of you.When Romney said "I love Big Bird," in the debate in October, I assume he was trying to appeal to the masses, to give the impression that he loves and values the same things we do, in spite of his ruthless cost-cutting schemes. However, that wasn't the first time he had invoked Big Bird by name. While campaigning in December 2011, Romney told a roomful of supporters in Iowa, with regard to cutting PBS funding, "We're not going to kill Big Bird, but Big Bird is going to have advertisements" (emphasis added).
Again, I assume that he meant for this to sound reassuring, that his plan to cut funding to certain programs would have a minimal effect on the things we love. However, leaving aside the question of what effect advertisements would have on Sesame Street and the kids who watch it, think about this for a moment: How would you feel if you were interviewing potential babysitters and one candidate said to you, "I'm not going to kill your kids"? Would you be reassured? Would you entrust such a person with the care of your children?
If you love something, you don't casually talk about killing it, not even in a rhetorical or hypothetical sense. If you love something and you want to take care of it, then the idea of killing it is so unthinkable that you would never even bring it up.
With that said, I'm off to the polls.
1I've gotten some ads for Montanan politicians. Um, what? If I still lived in western South Dakota, I could (kind of) understand it, but since I live in eastern South Dakota it makes absolutely no sense.
2Nevertheless, I'm screening my phone calls until tomorrow.