More than a thousand people, many carrying puppets, marched from Lincoln Park to the U.S. Capitol, Saturday, to make known their support for government funding of public broadcasting.
The self-described "Million Puppet March" was organized as a response to a debate comment made by Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, who was expressing concern over mounting federal deficits.
In the second of three presidential debates, Mr. Romney said, "I like PBS. I love PBS. I love Big Bird... But, I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it."
As the pro-funding crowd wound it's way toward the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, various chants broke out, including: "Whose street? Sesame Street!"
Amanda Souvannamethy, holding her young son in her arms, said
"We love the muppets. We love Sesame Street. [It's] the only channel I'll let my son watch. And cutting that? It's just a catastrophe."
Noah Langer marched carrying a puppet of the late President Richard Nixon. "Even Nixon was a supporter of the arts, the NEA, and public broadcasting, Langer declared. "And if even Nixon is a supporter of that, come on. This is something our country needs big time."
Asked if he were concerned about mounting federal deficits, Mazin Abdelgader answered, "Yeah, but you can't cut kids out of everything, regardless of budgets. Regardless of defense spending (or whatever it is we gotta spend.) Education is most important to everybody."
The two internet organizers of the Million Puppet March (who had never met in-person before the gathering) did ask members of the crowd to make donations to public broadcasting stations.
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