News & Politics

MacArthur Foundation Grants $100M So Syrian Refugees Can Watch the Muppets

I write this article with the caveat that I understand (and believe) that people can spend their own money however they see fit. It’s their money, after all. This is one of the reasons why I am a conservative; I prefer to decide how my money is spent and don’t want a government deciding for me.

With that being said, I’m fairly sure that the $100 million grant that the MacArthur Foundation has awarded the Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee could have been put to a better use than Refugee Camp Sesame Street:

According to NPR:

“With this huge grant from the MacArthur Foundation (which also gives to NPR), the IRC and Sesame Workshop plan to launch what they’re describing as the ‘largest early childhood intervention program ever created in a humanitarian setting.’

The plan is to launch a new, regional version of Sesame Street that will be available to Syrian refugees and local kids across Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria. It will be distributed over traditional television channels, the internet and mobile phones. It will also serve as an educational curriculum for childcare centers, health clinics and outreach workers visiting the shelters where refugees live. The workers will deliver books to kids and caregivers.

Sherrie Westin of Sesame Workshop says they’re going to come up with new characters and narratives specifically for children affected by the Syrian crisis.

‘This production, these Muppets, will be created to reflect the children’s reality so that children can relate with them,’ Westin says. ‘For instance one of the Muppets may have had to leave home. She may live in a tent. She may become best friends with her new neighbors. There may [also] be characters from the existing Sesame Street. On our international productions it’s a mix of characters you recognize and characters that are completely indigenous.’

The goal is to provide kids with academic skills while also helping them navigate the social and emotional challenges of being forced from their homes.”

If the Sesame Workshop were to release a statement claiming that the large amount of money is being used to distract children from the fact that they’re hungry and living in tents, the whole thing would make a little more sense. That’s not to say I would spend the money that way, but it makes more sense then the objective expressed by the Sesame Workshop. I roll my eyes hearing that the $100 million will help kids “navigate the social and emotional challenges of being forced from their homes.”

It boggles my mind that a group of presumably educated adults looked at the very large figure of $100 million and collectively thought: “Hey, you know what would really help the displaced and starving Syrian refugee children? Making sure that they’re able to emotionally handle being displaced and starving!”

If I had been involved in the discussion, I would have interjected: “Just spitballin’ here, and bear with me because I know this is crazy, but how about we use that money to feed the hungry children. I’m pretty confident that their emotional well-being will improve with food.”

“And I’m not so sure the refugee camps have great wi-fi anyway.”

Granted, my mindset ensures that I will never be allowed to help progressives make decisions about how to spend money. Once again, it’s their money; they can waste it if they want. But this does speak to why conservatives are so opposed to taxes being used to fund social programs. Progressives are not interested in solving any actual problems. They’ll rarely, if ever, spend your tax dollars in a way that actually accomplishes any lasting good.

On the flip side, with their decision, the Sesame Workshop is helping me educate my children. I’m going to sit my two kids down, show them this story, and then ask: “If you were starving, do you think you would prefer food, or a Muppet show?”

After my kids answer “food, what a dumb question, Dad,” I’m going to respond: “This is why we’re not progressives.”