What Americans Care About

You know who loves debates? De’fishes

Since last Wednesday’s first presidential debate, it has been interesting to hear people’s reactions. What they thought about the candidates, how they agreed or disagreed with points made, and what issues were most memorable. One issue seems to stand out above all the rest: Big Bird. In an hour and a half debate, where issues such as healthcare, the economy, and education were discussed, the one thing that people are fixated on is a two minute comment about cutting subsidies which fund the big yellow bird. WHAT ABOUT JOBS? WHAT ABOUT SCHOOLS? WHAT ABOUT FOREIGN POLICY??? Apparently, as long as Big Bird retains his residence on Sesame Street, we can do without all that other stuff.

Okay, maybe I’m being a little over-dramatic…but really people. When I opened my Twitter Thursday morning, I was expecting to see a million tweets about the debate. What I wasn’t prepared for was a million tweets about Big Bird. The first tweet read “WTF Mitt Romney… ” People seriously got more upset about this comment than about anything said about Obama care, big business bailouts, and even Osama Bin Laden. Hundreds of news articles were written regarding the subject and the majority of the Saturday Night Live debate skits were reserved for Big Bird jokes.

Why is it that people seem to care more about what a presidential candidate has to say about a fictitious television character than they do about the economy? Because people care about things they are familiar with. When candidates start talking about topics like the economy, the job market, healthcare, and even education, they just end up throwing around a lot of big numbers and people just kind of tune out. I know I do. Those issues aren’t relatable. They are this huge, ambiguous problem which is the president’s job to fix, not you own. Yeah, they will affect you, but so what? Every election they are discussed and every presidential term presidents make changes and you go on living your life oblivious to them. But Big Bird…hell no. That’s none of the president’s business! He’s close to our hearts, we all grew up watching him and assume our kids will as well. Do whatever you want with the health care system, but leave Big Bird alone! Because that’s something relatable, something we are familiar with so we feel confident in having an opinion about that issue.

So how do we make important issues, like education, an issue people will have this kind of emotional response to? I think that the best way is to incorporate discussion about education into everyday life. I think our blogs can be great for this! Blogging helps share ideas and gets people talking about issues that are important, like education. If education can be incorporated into everyday life, then people will become more aware of it and are more likely to form an emotion connection to the issue. I hope that someday Americans will care about education as much as they care about Big Bird.



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