Let’s treat each other with dignity. Be a mindful neighbor.
The parallels between 1967, and our current state of affairs, is evident. Similar to 1967, humanity is experiencing a shift in trajectory. We are experiencing social change, war, a civil rights illumination, and an edification of gender, with the added bonus of a time sensitive climate crisis and gun violence. Fred Rogers reached out to connect all people, at a critical point, during massive soul impacting events. Now is an opportune time to watch Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Mr. Rogers talked about fear, racism, superheros, science, divorce, anger, and meditation. He created an open honest space to talk. Similar to King Friday, Trump does not like people changing things, evolution of thought, is his enemy. As, authority of the land, King Friday decided to build a wall, and screamed, “Down with the changers!” Commanding everyone in his kingdom to sing along, “Down with the changers, down with the changers, we don’t want anything to change, cause we’re on top.” Daniel Tiger, wanted peace in the neighborhood, and for all the fear, and fighting to stop. The neighborhood sent up ballon messages of peace, eventually, King Friday got the messages, embraced change, and became benevolent. Alas, we don’t have a king, contrary to beliefs within the walls of the Oval Office, and our messages of peace, will be sent through votes. Evolution is required for society to flourish, and live.
At the Carnegie Commission on Public Television in 1967, Ralph Ellison stated, “As the American people becomes aware of itself. It discovers itself. We do not know, as much as we should know, about who we are, what we are, and how we differ.” While Nixon pressured corporate network executives to bend news coverage towards what Nixon wanted, he was also defunding Public Broadcasting. During public testimony, to a Nixon controlled arm of government, Mr. Rogers shared experiences from all different kinds of families, to secure the funding required for production to continue at PBS. Mr. Rogers connected by sharing words from a song, the first line of the song came from a child, the song goes, “What do you do with the mad that you feel? When you feel so mad you could bite? When the whole wide world seems oh so wrong, and nothing you do seems very right? It’s great to be able to stop, when you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong, and be able to do something else instead, and sing, think this song. I can stop when I want to, can stop when I wish, can stop, stop, stop, anytime, knowing there’s something deep inside, that helps us become what we can.” Mr. Rogers, “translated news,” of the world, to children, and grown ups – he did so with honesty, Mr. Rogers earned credibility. He faced his own sage advise, with François Clemmons, an openly gay Black man in 1968, and a main character on the show, Officer Clemmons. Mr. Rogers told François, he could not be an out gay man, saying, the sponsors of the show would pull out. François complied with Mr. Rogers, got married, and navigated his life within the painful parameters of a closet. Eventually, Mr. Rogers took his own words to heart when facing his own fear: “What do you do with the mad that you feel? When you feel so mad you could bite? When the whole wide world seems oh so wrong, and nothing you do seems very right? It’s great to be able to stop, when you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong, and be able to do something else instead, and sing, think this song. I can stop when I want to, can stop when I wish, can stop, stop, stop, anytime, knowing there’s something deep inside, that helps us become what we can.” Mr. Rogers was correct, it’s all about love, everyone has inherit value, and dignity. The universe created you with good, you are inherently good, don’t allow anyone to dim your light. Now, go out there, and be a good neighbor, do some good. As Mr. Rogers says, be the repairer of souls.