Who could have imagined that furry Muppets could be so controversial? Sesame Street is raising some eyebrows again by introducing a character that has a father in prison. Producers of the children's educational show point to studies that show one out of every 28-kids has a parent who is incarcerated now--more than those who have parents serving in the military overseas. It follows the introduction of another character last year that featured two moms.
"Alex" is not a part of the regular Sesame Street that airs Monday through Friday on PBS. He instead appears in the Little Children, Big Challenges series that is featured in on-line vignettes and special DVD's that are meant to be shown to kids facing those issues--so you don't have to worry about your kids asking you awkward questions about prison life. And from the preview on the internet, it looks like the adults in the feature don't try to feed little "Alex" any left-wing garbage about how his father is the "unfortunate victim of a vast right-wing conspiracy to destroy minorities by locking them up and taking away their civil rights."
However, this even-handed approach in the video is not keeping those on the Left from raising those very same arguments. And again, it is not the people who commit the crimes who are in the wrong here--but rather it is those who demand accountability for one's actions who are to blame. Nevermind that hardly anyone ends up in prison by "accident". And that the vast majority of those behind bars are multiple-time offenders who violated probation or parole for previous crimes. They also like to blame the "war on drugs" for boosting the incarceration rate. Apparently for them, it would be better to have neighborhoods and communities filled with potheads, crackheads, and strung-out heroin junkies than to have them devoid of people trying to push that stuff on the very kids who got too old to watch Sesame Street just a year ago.
While it is certainly not their job to raise our kids, the producers at Sesame Street should probably spend a few episodes of the regular show on ways to STAY OUT OF PRISON. Bert and Ernie could have a nice discussion about how America is a nation of laws--and that there are consequences beyond just "feeling shame" in violating those laws. Elmo could dedicate an entire week to the word "DON'T" as in DON'T start doing drugs, DON'T start selling drugs, DON'T steal other people's stuff or money, DON'T break into people's houses or cars, DON'T kill people, DON'T try to kill people, DON'T buy guns if you aren't allowed to own a gun, DON'T have sex with people who DON'T want to have sex with you, DON'T molest little kids, DON'T take inappropriate pictures or videos of kids and trade them on the internet, DON'T pretend to run a day care center to collect millions of dollars from the Wisconsin Cares program, DON'T drink and drive, DON'T run over people while sending text messages on your phone, DON'T hold people hostage in your house for 20-years, DON'T offer to have sex with people for money, DON'T pretend your child is sick to get people to give you money and DON'T try to sneak into another country without proper permits.
All of that might sound a little difficult to a young child--but have Big Bird assure them that 27 out of every 28 parents in our country still manage to do that.