A lawyer, Chris Perri, has written a fascinating essay for the Texas Tribune that pays a wonderful tribute to the late Fred Rogers, the Presbyterian minister who became a public television superstar.
According to Perri, Mr. Rogers was a lifelong Republican, a fact that surprised the author of the essay. Why the surprise?
Perri writes: Because the values he was espousing – of compassion, human dignity, radical acceptance, emotional health and funding for public broadcasting – struck me as, well, liberal. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that’s because I identify as progressive and share these values. But these aren’t Republican or Democrat but American values.
Yet right now Republican leaders aren’t upholding these shared American values. When we see children ripped from their parents at the border, refugees fleeing violence shut out of our country and corporations being awarded more rights than human beings, it’s hard to believe that the Republican Party of today is upholding our values. Mr. Rogers would have been appalled by the developmental trauma inflicted on children by many of these extreme policies.
How about that?
Might there be a lesson to be handed down here? Of course there is.
Rogers has been highlighted in a documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” that’s drawing some good critical reviews.
Rogers, who played host on the PBS series “Mr. Rogers’s Neighborhood,” was the paragon of kindness, compassion and understanding.
Perri makes no bones about his partisan leanings. He once ran as a Democrat for a congressional seat. He lost. The bigger issue is the surprise he learned about an iconic figure’s background.
As Perri has noted, Fred Rogers’s views don’t belong to liberals or Democrats or anyone of a particular political stripe. They are quintessentially American.
I hope today’s Republican Party will start paying attention and toss aside the ongoing rage coming from the mouth of the Republican in Chief who happens to be the president of the United States.
Take a look at Chris Perri’s essay here.
I hope you, too, will learn something. I sure did.