Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Buckskin Bill, or the VP Debate

Mr. Rogers, Ryan, Biden, Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans, Buckskin Bill Black and Storyland

I had a bit of knowledge reinforced last night, and no offense intended to Big Bird, I cannot figure out a way to spin it to give you and your neighbors on Sesame Street teacher credit.  The Vice Presidential Debate brought images of another sage teacher, Mr. Rogers.  Here I feel compelled to provide a disclaimer of personal bias as Mr. Rogers was a member of my second tier of childrens’ TV personalities.  At the top and without peer was Buckskin Bill Black filmed from WAFB Channel 9 in Baton Rouge.  I saw a number of shows live in studio and appeared several times on the air.  There was a family connection as the eldest son of my grandfather’s older brother worked at the station.  Technically, I guess that would make us second cousins, but when the individual is older than your parents, he seems more like an Uncle than a cousin.  I remember the wake and funeral of my grandfather’s brother and how Buckskin Bill explained to me there that even though he was dressed in a suit and tie, he was still Buckskin Bill.  Funny that even when I reached adulthood and our paths crossed, I always referred to him as Mr. Buckskin and not Mr. Bill, Mr. Black, or as he suggested once Bill.  Mr. Rogers, who I never met, was in that second tier with Captain Kangaroo and of course Mr. Green Jeans.  In many ways Mr. Green Jeans was the TV equivalent to my grandfather and his friends since he could fix anything and teach you when and how to use different tools.

Enough of the childhood reflections

“Won’t you be my neighbor,” by Mr. Fred Rogers is part of that idealistic utopian world.  Listening last night, I thought about the American image of a utopian world and neighbors.  In domestic issues that image must be of limited if any governmental regulations and restrictions when that is to your individual benefit.  “The pursuit of happiness” has relocated itself from the Declaration to take up residence in the Constitution.  You see, I have the right to free speech; I have the right to freedom of religion.  You have those same rights, but only if your speech and religion are within 1 or 2 standard deviations of mine.  Together though, we all have a necessity to know anything and everything about things immediately.  It does not matter if all the facts are not known because even though government has no right to know anything about you or me, it is supposed to know everything about other people.  It does not matter if releasing information could put other people in jeopardy.  We have the right to know, and we will most likely mourn those who may lose their lives as a result of this information becoming public.  It is different, however, if our lives or those of someone we know are in jeopardy. Then the government is supposed to save the day and disappear until needed again.  That might have been a job for Superman or Wonder Woman, but until their immigration statuses from Krypton and Paradise Island are clarified it just seems un-American to employ them in any work capacity.


Foreign affairs are actually simpler than domestic affairs since every individual on the planet wants to be an American.  Just look at US history.  Canadians were merely confused in the War of 1812 and did not realize that we were liberating and not invading their territory.  Mexico did not understand that Texas was neither a Mexican territory nor independent country, but a future state in the United States of America.  The same can be said of California, and that the Mexican War was a miscommunication.  Hawaii and the Philippines in the late 19th century were more misunderstandings.  We all get the point, so I don’t think it is even necessary to include any of the miscommunications and misunderstandings around the globe after the United States truly became a World Power in the 20th century.

How It’s Done

Last night I got the impression that the United States needs to walk into any land on the planet, dictate American beliefs, and the people will immediately adopt and embrace the ideology of our Constitution.  Yes, I know that some might argue that the US declared independence in 1776 and did not ratify the Constitution until 1789 or accept the Bill of Rights until 1791, but that was before smart phones became popular.  Still all that is left after planting our feet is to maintain an American presence without using any American funding because we should not be involved in foreign affairs and let other countries fend for themselves.  Of course that only applies if a particular political faction in the United States does not have a vested interest in maintaining the American presence.  The key is to not spend any money, not jeopardize the safety of any Americans abroad, and to accept or not accept actions by the United Nations depending on our desires at the time.

The Simplicity

Now all of this becomes simpler when you consider that the government, without interfering with my life (and yours if you agree with me), accurately predicts all future events and takes the necessary actions to prevent those events which we do not like from occurring.  Of course if those actions necessitate funding, the government should not waste money by taking actions to prevent events which do not occur.

It’s Amazing

It is amazing of how everyone has the power to accurately predict the future once the future has transformed itself into the past or in better words, has already happened.  It is amazing how someone can argue that the other side wants to defame because they have no record on which to run while at the same time they only defame because they only have theories and the same record as the other side.  It is amazing of how both sides talk of bipartisanship in the past and accuse the other for its demise when obstructionism is embraced.  It is amazing how often this spin that during the first 2 years  the Democrats controlled everything and could have done anything they wanted is replayed.  It is amazing that nobody seems to recall that there were 137 filibusters in the Senate that Congress and in less than half was cloture invoked (yep totalitarian power strong enough to be halted by a single hand raised).  It is amazing that neither side accepts responsibility, but both sides cast blame.  It is amazing as to how government cannot solve problems domestically and needs to get out of the way, but the same government is supposed to solve problems abroad and maintain not just a presence but control.

Who me or Oh you?

It’s amazing that the laws of gravity apply to everyone, but this idea that the laws which apply to you may or may not apply to me.

Unfortunately, everyone does not reside on Sesame Street and even more tragic is that too many forget that we are neighbors whether we live in the same neighborhood as Mr. Rogers or another.  Perhaps Mr. Buckskin’s message will provide one similarity that we can focus upon instead of all the arguing about the differences.  If you were not reared in South Louisiana, you might not know that “You are never completely dressed until you put on a smile.”  What scares me is that media and many candidate supporters, regardless of side of the aisle, focus so much on blaming the other side that they cannot even imagine that there might be benefits to work together where each and all can share the credit and accept the blame.

At times, perhaps some government action is needed to protect citizens from those elected to represent them;contentBody


One thought on “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Buckskin Bill, or the VP Debate

  1. Professor Bob Mann of LSU made some astute remarks concerning politicians working together on his blog. Just from the state of Louisiana, it is amazing to consider some of the state’s past delegations who earned high reputations for their ability and desire to work with any other Member of Congress to push for legislation. US Senators such as John Breaux, J. Bennett Johnson, and Russell Long, and Congressman such as Hale Boggs and Jimmy Morrison are prime examples of representing their constituents and the country as a whole first. Of course, it’s easy to find political differences with any of these 5 men, but it is also easy to find issues which they addressed with support from their Democratic colleagues and Republican colleagues.

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