Saying goodbye to “Sesame Street” | The Triangle

Saying goodbye to “Sesame Street”

3dggirl18: Flickr
3dggirl18: Flickr

Since Donald Trump was elected president Nov. 8, America has gone amazingly topsy turvy, as he has followed through on his numerous campaign promises and attempting to eliminate many of the groups of people he previously ostracized.

He has instituted a travel ban that has affected millions of Americans, is currently in the put up a wall, well, segments of a wall, on the border between the United States and Mexico, and is currently in the process of defunding Planned Parenthood.

Now, Trump has decided to eliminate a new enemy — one that has influenced the minds of both children and adults for 46 years. One that has taught people to be open minded and caring, unlike a certain president of the United States. I am, of course, talking about “Sesame Street”.

When President Donald Trump announced his 2018 budget March 16, the main point he was trying to make was that he was going to follow up on his campaign pledge on making America great again.

He could’ve improved America’s future by investing more well-deserved money into America’s educational system, but instead he decided not only to allocate $45 billion into defense spending but also shut down 19 governmental organizations.

These include the National Endowment for the Arts, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and, most importantly, the Center for Public Broadcasting — the non-profit government organization that provides funding to networks such as PBS and NPR, both of which produce programs watched and listened to by more than 65 million people per week in the United States alone.

So, to rephrase this, Trump’s idea of making America great is not encouraging the future generations of America to make peace and help develop artistic and educational development, but creating a violent people who will become more ignorant and stupid as time goes on since not much emphasis will be put on learning basic things that everyone else in the world knows.

This is, of course, an amazing shame, in light of the recent announcement made by children’s television institution “Sesame Street” March 20, that after nearly 50 years on the air, it will be introducing the first-ever autistic character, with her debut episode entitled, “Meet Julia,” airing April 10.

Regarding the introduction of the character, “Sesame Street” puppeteer Stacey Gordon, who will be pulling Julia’s strings for the foreseeable future, said in an interview with “60 Minutes” to correspondent Lesley Stahl, “It means that our kids are important enough to be seen in society. Having Julia on the show and seeing all of the characters treat her with compassion and like her. Yeah, it’s huge.”

Most of the world seems to think so too, with Julia’s introduction becoming a trending topic, with the original tweet from “Sesame Street” being retweeted over 9,300 times, almost all of them positive.

“Very important to have this character. Congrats America for having little gems like this in a time of despair,” one person commented on Twitter.

Personally, as someone on the autistic spectrum who has two nieces and a nephew, both of whom are very young, the introduction of the character Julia eases a very personal fear of mine regarding how I will potentially broach the subject of my condition.

However, the character of Julia will not last very long, since Trump’s budget will go into effect in 2018.

On top of that, Trump’s infamous comments and views on autism and mental disabilities could bring the development of the American mind back by decades.

“So what’s going on with autism? When you look at the tremendous increase, it’s such an incredible, it’s really a horrible thing to watch, the tremendous amount of increase. You have any idea?” Trump said at a parent-teacher conference Feb. 14.

Keep in mind that Trump called the spike in autism prevalence rate “horrible”, when, in reality, this is not. Yes, high-functioning autism could cause a lack in basic verbal skills; however, it is not the end of the world. Some of the greatest artists and personalities in the world have been diagnosed with autism, many of whom are non-verbal.

In fact, that’s exactly what “Sesame Street” is trying to prove with the introduction of the character of Julia. By placing an autistic character on children’s television, younger audiences can better understand those on the autistic spectrum, which eliminates any possible stigma autistic children may have.

As far as it goes towards those who are on the spectrum, such as myself, it comes across as a major social victory, one that should not be dismissed so easily.

Trump’s actions, not as a person, but as the leader of this country, one built on the foundation of equal opportunity and embracing the differences of others, is hypocritical and beyond sickening to those who do not embrace his vision, including those on the autistic spectrum.

Like many others, I want to have an America that is peaceful, focused on advancing the future of tomorrow, rather than poking metaphorical sticks at others just because they are “different” from us.

Sadly, President Trump doesn’t seem to care about a potentially peaceful future, and instead wants to equip the United States with more weapons that it needs.

I’m not sorry to say this, Donald, but if you’re trying to make America great again, then you’re doing it wrong. Terribly wrong.