From the mouths of babes
Around the country, in communities big and small, people are sharing their concerns with political leaders. Town hall meetings are undoubtedly seeing record attendance numbers, each seemingly packed to the gills with constituents ready and willing to share their thoughts on the direction the United States is heading.
In Louisville, Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faced down a resident that pleaded with him about coal jobs and Obamacare.
“The last I heard, these coal jobs are not coming back, and now these people don’t have the insurance they need because they’re poor. And they worked those coal mines and they’re sick. The veterans are sick, the veterans are broken down, they’re not getting what they need,” Rose Mudd Perkins of Georgetown, Kentucky, told McConnell. She ended her remark with the sharp quip, “If you can answer any of that, I’ll sit down and shut up like Elizabeth Warren.”
McConnell only replied, “I hope you feel better,” giving Ms. Perkins no real answers.
While voting-aged adults around the nation raised their voices in concern, none spoke louder than 7-year-old Toby Smith from Arkansas.
During a town hall meeting with his Representative Tom Cotton, Toby stood up, barely able to reach the microphone, and shared his displeasure with comments made by President Donald Trump in regard to Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.
“Donald Trump makes Mexicans not important to people who are in Arkansas who like Mexicans,” Toby said, unafraid and unashamed. “He is deleting all the parks and PBS Kids just to make a wall. He shouldn’t do that. He shouldn’t do all that stuff just for the wall,” he added.
Cotton immediately thanked Toby for his question. While not directly answering Toby’s question or promising to save PBS, Cotton said, “We are a melting pot. We are all one people. We want Mexico to be a healthy, strong partner. But we also have to protect our own citizens, and that’s where the wall comes in.”
Sadly, the planned budget cuts Toby were referring to don’t end at PBS. The plan would additionally eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, drastically reduce funding for the departments of Commerce, Energy, Transportation, Justice, and State, according to The Hill.
Estimations for President Trump’s proposed border wall, which Mexico will not be paying for, are running close $22 billion over three years. PBS received about $445 million in federal funding in 2016, which is approximately 0.02 percent of the federal budget. Perhaps Trump can keep at least one young American happy and find it in his heart to save public broadcasting for everyone.