February 22, 2019

The Beautifully Bipartisan World of Sesame Street

“‘Sesame Street” is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It’s a huge milestone for the groundbreaking TV show, which made educating children a priority and brought us memorable characters like Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Grover and Cookie Monster.

It goes without saying that “Sesame Street” emphasizes modern liberal values. Ever since it first appeared on National Educational Television in 1969, followed by an extensive run on PBS, the program has consistently promoted social justice. But you can see a glimmer of right-leaning philosophy in it as well. The show doesn’t advocate for small government or free-market economics—although HBO’s purchase of first-run episodes in 2016 sort of counts—but some conservative themes pop up.

Take patriotism. Several episodes explore American achievements and history—including an amusing skit with H. Ross Parrot, a spoof of two-time presidential candidate Ross Perot. And there are patriotic characters like Sam Eagle, a Muppet who champions American values, defends the Constitution and wants to protect his country from “weirdos.” Since 2008, “Sesame Street” has sustained a partnership with the United Service Organization, putting on live shows for military families and their smiling children.”

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