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Real issues continue to be ignored

Let’s start with a little trivia. Can you name the tall, yellow beloved bird that has been entertaining our children for almost 43 years who is at the center of the presidential debate? If you guessed Big Bird, you are correct.

If you ever thought this column would reference the famous Sesame Street character who continues to be a television fixture on PBS, then you are wiser than me.

Here we are, less than a month away from deciding who is going to represent us politically in many different offices, and instead of focusing on serious issues, including the economy, jobs and health care, the buzz is around a presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, and his “feud” (although he did say he loves Big Bird) with a fictional character on a public access television station because if elected, Romney would seek to reduce funding for PBS.

The result includes celebrities tweeting on the subject in defense of Big Bird. This battle has been read around the world. British actor Simon Pegg tweeted “I wake up and the first tweet I read says Mitt Romney wants to kill Big Bird. What’s happening to the world?!!”

While it is part comical, it is also becoming very sad.

There are people looking for jobs. Families struggling to make ends meet. Prices of gas and food are continuing to rise.

With all due respect to PBS, which offers great educational programming, at this moment in time, Big Bird vs. Mitt Romney should not be at the top of the list of important issues being discussed.

As we now enter the middle of October and inch closer to the November general election, we are also nearing an important part of the year for many local businesses, which is that of holiday shopping season. It is a time of year when people should be able to buy gifts for family or friends.

How will the holiday shopping be impacted when prices of groceries continue to rise?

How are shoppers going to get to all of the stores they want to on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, as gas prices continue to stay over $4 a gallon locally with no end in sight?

This does not just fall on the back of whoever is our next President. These types of questions also fall on who is running for other state and Federal offices, including the Congressional races, and the State Senate and Assembly races to be decided on election day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Instead, for several days after what is the biggest race in our country, that of President of the United States, much of those issues seem secondary as the future of Big Bird hangs in the balance.

Don’t get me wrong. The value that a show like Sesame Street has brought to children for over four decades is invaluable. What good is this show going to do for children who in some cases, face the real possibility that they might not have a roof over their head soon?

Hopefully when it comes to round two of debates between President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, answers to those questions can be addressed. It is much more important than countless text messages, tweets and Facebook posts regarding Romney and his new “arch nemesis,” Big Bird.

Next go around, I want to hear more about the major issues. If Romney is against Obamacare, what alternatives is he proposing? How do they reduce gasoline costs?

Because without the ability to afford gas, it makes spending money in stores much more difficult – especially with holiday season drawing near.

We are a few weeks away from making crucial decisions about candidates running for office. Let’s stick to the real issues and make sure that they are not ignored.


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