First of all, a brief correction. In yesterday’s edition, it seems we noted the day of the week as “Thursday”—a day of the week that is actually today’s day. While we can hardly be blamed, given [gesticulates wildly], we do regret the error. We are confident that today is Thursday.
Did you know that Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood has an episode about voting? No? I am not surprised, since there are literally six thousand episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and how might you have been expected to know that there was an entire voting narrative in there? On the other hand, true DTN heads know that the canon is encyclopedically complete, and so you probably weren’t looking hard enough. In any case, there is much for a preschooler to learn about voting from our favorite tiger and his friends, who are presented with two animated voting-themed lessons separated a live-action segment that all children hate.
In the first half of the episode, King Friday offers neighborhood residents a choice between a swing and a slide. Daniel votes for the slide, while the rest of his friends vote for the swings, and Daniel is sorely disappointed at the outcome. He’s taught to pick up the pieces and deal with it, though one can only imagine what the next four years of his life is like—imagining how it might have felt to play on the slide every day, to watch as the slide issued critical executive orders to mitigate climate change, to wake up every morning marveling that a slide (a slide!) had become president.
It’s strange, of course, that this is what the residents of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood are voting for, and one can’t help but wonder why this constitutional monarchy doesn’t just abolish the crown once and for all. In the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, King Friday was an irascible and unpredictable tyrant, grounded only by the dulcet socialism of Lady Aberlin. Today’s King Friday, by contrast, seems to be less concerned with the consolidation of his power and the obedience of his subjects, focusing instead on tending his massive orchard, coordinating sleepovers, and (if I remember correctly) wearing the occasional tracksuit. Why not abdicate? Maybe the whole swing vote gambit is an effort to instill the principles of democracy in an otherwise complacent populace. The whole episode is a mind trip.
All of this is to say: Kina now understands how disappointing it is to live in a democracy, but that ultimately, if you like bunnies and rally your friends around them, you can trounce the turtle lovers in the class pet election. They’ll just have to get over it.