Tuesday, March 21, 2017

TO LET TRUMP DESTROY PBS IS TO LET HIM DESTROY ONE OF THE FEW MIRRORS AMERICA HAS




Trump's budget communicates his desire to reduce or destroy Meals On Wheels, after school programs that feed poor kids, Pell grants for poor college students,  Planned Parent Hood, PBS and the National Endowment For The Arts.

This post is about the cut that seems like it's the least important: The cuts to PBS and the National Endowments for the Arts.

* * * * *

I started learning about my place in this country before I even went to kindergarten. By the time, I went to kindergarten, I knew the policeman was not MY friend from my parents and catching glimpses of the regular evening news.

Learning words and how to spell and count on Sesame Street aside, by the time I was in 5th or 6th grade I was watching black history segments on PBS. Even when I was in junior high school, I knew PBS News went into more depth on a story than any network television news show was going to go into.
PBS NEWS is almost the anti-thesis of FOX NEWS. There is an attempt to be objective and present both sides of an issue. News as education is presented on PBS. And, nowadays, teachers use PBS shows to actually teach in their classrooms....for free

PBS would bring EYES ON THE PRIZE into my living room...for free.

This multi-episode documentary was an extensive free education on THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. I recorded that show and watched in on my VCR every single February for years. Mamie Till, Emmett's mother, became more than just a name for me because I used what I learned in that documentary to do more reading.
PBS filled my head and set my curiosity on fire and sent me searching for books to read more than once.

PBS telling the truth about white supremacy in this country, every now and again, is PBS providing America a reflection it cannot do without -- that white America, in particular cannot do without.



As an adult I fell in love with Ken Burn's documentaries. 

I watched hours and hours about black contributions to this country that I didn't have that much interest in to begin with. I painted my living room and decorated a new home while listening to Ken Burn's JAZZ. 
Years later, I would watch Ken Burn's THE WAR. 
  • It was infinitely interesting and educational to hear about what was going on at home during WWII, for various ethnic groups including blacks.  
  • I was surprised to find out that the United States, being inexperienced at waging war, would accidentally killed dozens of its own soldiers. I would listen to a man talk about hiding in a fox hole in the dark, praying that some wounded man that was moaning  somewhere  off in the distance, crying for his mother, would just go ahead and die and stop torturing him and the rest of the men -- only to find out the moaning man that finally did die was his best friend.
This documentary would confirm for me just how separate the military's job is from the job of the voter and/or the citizens that remain at home. It is the military's job to fight who the politicians say fight. It is voter's job to make sure we elect politicians that won't send the troops into danger unnecessarily nor for greed and profit.

PBS provides America a reflection it cannot do without.

Gwen Ifill of PBS
 In 1999, she became
the first African American woman 
to host a nationally televised
U.S. public affairs program with
Washington Week in Review
.
In addition to seeing content from around the world, PBS has helped me to know who I am as a black person and as an American. There hasn't been nearly enough black content on PBS. But the small amount of black history that has been on PBS has been nearly 1000% better than what I learned in grade school. 

Actually, what I learned about what it is to be an American is nearly 1000% more clear than what's taught in grade school as well. That probably says more about how bad our school curriculums are than how good PBS is -- because I was lucky enough to go to highly rated public schools. But this still says that PBS is absolutely necessary.

White supremacy and ignorance have put unqualified person in charge of the United States. To allow the nationalistic white supremacist Ignoramus of the Century and his budget to destroy PBS is to spread more ignorance than the America can sustain.

PBS provides America a reflection that it cannot do without.

Sometimes I think that more outlets like PBS would mean less room on the airwaves for news programs like that mess that is Fox News  --even the white supremacists would be less virulent due to being less ignorant.