Mr. Rogers' Foreign PolicyFred Rogers has died, just when our country needs him most. Some of the many former children who spent time with him in his virtual living room will just have take charge of the US's foreign policy, to act sensibly so that we can all live together and help each other.
For example, on the Op-Ed page of today's NYT, Davy Rothbart recalls consulting Fred Rogers a couple of years ago about conflicts in her neighborhood in Chicago, where, she (he? Rothbart, I mean) said,
everyone seemed to fear each other. The people moving in feared the people already there, and vice versa, and everyone feared the teenagers who cruised up and down the boulevard. ... "The worst thing, is people seem afraid to talk to each other," I said. I wanted to know why.Sounds like the Middle East. Or South Asia. Or Korea, or the Philippines, or Colombia.
Mr. Rogers sat quietly for 15 full seconds. "Perhaps we think that we won't find another human being inside that person. Perhaps we think that there are some people in this world who I can't ever communicate with, and so I'll just give up before I try. And how sad it is to think that we would give up on any other creature who's just like us." His eyes seemed to be watering.In the very next column on the same page is an opinion piece by Nicholas D. Kristof, about how the Bush administration has given up, before even trying, on negotiations with North Korea. "We haven't exhausted diplomacy," he quotes "one senior player." "We haven't begun diplomacy."
So sad. It makes my eyes water.