My Friday Five: On Sesame Street & DNC Follies

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1. O-U-T-R-A-G-E

This post is brought to you buy the letters O and U for outrage and unbelievable.

I happened to be on Twitter on Thursday and noticed Sesame Street was trending worldwide. Come to find out, the bigs at Sesame Workshop (let's not kid ourselves, HBO probably had a say in it) decided to cut three longtime and beloved human actors - Bob McGrath, Roscoe Orman and Emilio Delgado - who play Bob the music teacher, Gordon and Luis the handyman, respectively - from the show. McGrath is an original Sesame cast member while Orman and Delgado joined in the 1970s.

I grew up with Sesame Street. I watched it every day. Now in my 20s, I still watch Christmas Eve on Sesame Street each year. That will be changing. First off, it's unfortunate and upsetting that Sesame sold its soul to HBO, unfairly forcing those who cannot afford an exorbitant HBO subscription to wait months for new episodes to appear on PBS. I empathize with those viewers as I was one myself when I was younger. My family didn't have the means for Cable TV - I had four channels to choose from - so I watched over-the-air stations like PBS. Couple that with the decision to remove these long time actors and that's the last straw for me. Sesame Street has always been about being kind to one another. Firing three brilliant actors - and incredible HUMANS - who have given their lives to the show does not match this vision.

Sesame Workshop released a statement regarding the situation, saying in part that the three would "still represent Sesame at public events" and "HBO does not oversee the production." Hmm. I call BS. I also call BS on the part that said with the show itself changing so does the cast. I read an article from Think Progress that mentioned how Muppet characters move merchandise (which translates into money for Sesame Workshop) as opposed to human characters. If that's the case, why were the show's younger human actors kept? Ageism perhaps? I will no longer support Sesame Street or any future Sesame Workshop endeavors.

2. DNC Follies

Like the Republican National Convention last week, the Democratic National Convention provided a lot of material to scrutinize. Perhaps the biggest of it all being the revelation of emails and other communications between top DNC officials discussing ways to undermine Bernie Sanders' campaign in favor of Hillary Clinton. As a Sanders supporter myself, I wasn't all that surprised. I've felt that "the fix was in" as they say from the beginning of primary season.

3. Other Election Thoughts

Continuing the narrative, I'm a longtime Democrat. However, this has prompted me to take a step back. I believe that neither of the two front-running candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, are deserving of the presidency and I will not be voting for them. I've begun to research alternative options, such as Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party. I've seen nunerous posts on social media calling people who share my thoughts "childlike," "selfish," and "throwing our vote away" if we vote a third party. FALSE. A vote for a third party candidate is a vote for that person. Period. I should not and will not be forced to vote for a candidate out of fear of the other. If I vote a third party candidate and, say, Trump wins the election, it will not be my fault. That's on the Democratic Party for a) not presenting the best candidate possible and b) not convincing me to vote for said candidate.

4. Great Day for North Carolina Voters

Speaking of elections, I wanted to pass along that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a lesser court decision regarding the state's sweeping, treacherous Voter I.D. Law on Friday, finding the law was adopted with "discriminatory intent." What does this mean? According to the Charlotte Observer, the ruling means that photo identification will not be required at future elections in North Carolina, including the November 2016 general, an additional week of early voting and pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds will be restored and same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct voting will remain untouched. As you probably know, I've been against this law from the start and I felt that it had "discriminatory intent" not only based on race but also regarding young people. Especially since a college-issued photo identification was not accepted at the precincts. There's no doubt in my mind that the law was used to disenfranchise voters. I'm thrilled the court sees it too.

5. An Awesome Partnership

We need more of the arts in our schools. The Carolina Theatre and Durham Public Schools are doing something about that. The two entities are joining forces to provide free tickets to the theatre's Arts Discovery Educational Series programming for students, according to a release from Carolina Theatre officials. The series will feature a selection of 22 programs during the 2016-17 season for which students will be able to obtain free tickets. This is such an excellent idea! As the release states, many students have experienced the arts for the first time through the Arts Discovery Series so this will be able to further this initiative. Face it, the arts are a pivotal part of our lives and it's a great thing for students to be involved whether as spectators or artists themselves. If you need an example of how arts programs help students, look no further than Musicality, a high school vocal group from Chicago that has made it to the semifinals of America's Got Talent.


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