LeVar Burton of Star Trek and Roots fame is "outraged" with presidential candidate Mitt Romney after Romney remarked that he would cut funding to PBS during Wednesday's debate. Burton, as the creator and host of the network's beloved children's book television series Reading Rainbow, has a close connection to PBS and has seen the positive effects that it has had on child education and development.
Burton tells TMZ:
"I am personally outraged that any serious contender for the White House would target as part of his campaign the children of America in this fashion...Educators across the country, as well as millions of children and adults know that the programming on PBS has been responsible for significant improvements in education, literacy, math, science and life skills for generations of our children...PBS represents .00016% of our nation's budget, yet this free resource benefits kids across all economic circumstances."
Let's not doubt the importance of Burton's words — a large number of the voting populous has likely grown up with Reading Rainbow as an educational presence in their schools and at home, while an even greater number have grown up with PBS staples like Mister Rogers and Sesame Street. Romney's attack on the network may have struck a nostalgic nerve.
"Defunding PBS directly punishes the less fortunate by removing this trusted and extraordinary educational resource available to all...On behalf of America's children, I can't stay silent. I encourage you to join me in fighting this short-sighted and frankly mean-spirited attack on our children."
Will do, LeVar. Now sing it with me: Butterfly in the sky! I can go twice as hi-igh!