Sesame Street is about to introduce a new muppet. Her name is Lily and she's pink. She'd also poverty-stricken and hungry.
The iconic children's television show is about to tackle the question of child hunger with a one-hour special. The are estimated to be 17 million children who are underfed in America, almost ten million of them under the age of six.
What is happening to this country? Some politicians are claiming we have the best health care in the world. We don't -- we were 37th out of 191 countries in the World Health Organization's 2000 ranking, just behind Costa Rica and just ahead of Slovenia, and yet we spent the highest cost per person for health care of any nation. (WHO no longer does these listings; they are just to cumbersome to compile. I believe, however, we've fallen even lower since 2000.)
For low infant mortality rates, the U.S. ranks a WTFing number 46. Slovenia, whose health care is just one notch below ours, ranked 19th. Using the average infant mortality rate of the 15 years from 1995 to 2010, the U.S. comes in at 34th place. No matter what system you use, we don't come out very well.
I still believe that we are the richest country in the world, a country that has the potential for the greatest opportunities, and a country that can and should demonstrate its compassion. So what's going wrong? Our political system is broken and we appear to be led by special interests that excel in blurring political and social realities.
Sesame Street has always been a utopian landscape, but a distinctly American utopian landscape -- one where our ideals have been put into action. I applaud the show for taking up this cause and bringing it to the attention of parents but part of me remains doubtful. Many of the people behind our problems and many of those not willing to tackle our problems were children of Sesame Street. Obviously, many of the lessons that the show taught went right over their heads.
All I can say is, "Give 'em hell, Lily!"