All politics aside, I wanted to take a moment out of this ridiculous election cycle to say thank you. You have entertained and instructed four generations of children in over 140 countries. You have revolutionized the way we think about education and childhood development. You are an American institution, and you have made the world a better place.

Wall Street gets all the money, and Main Street gets all the love, but Sesame Street has steadfastly been going about its fundamental purpose of preparing kids for school since 1969. It is without a doubt the most important children’s program in the history of television, and all of its denizens — be they Muppet or human — deserve a certain measure of respect.

Big Bird, you certainly deserve better than to be made a political symbol. The last two weeks have marked a low point in the national discourse as pundits and political operatives on both sides have played a big, yellow, feathery game of tug-of-war. It would be silly if it weren’t so degrading, and all because the tiniest fraction of our tax dollars account for a small percentage of Sesame Street’s budget.

It’s fine if the grown-ups want to squabble over whether federal funds should be used to subsidize public television, but let’s not forget where we learned our 1-2-3’s. Sesame Street is one of the single greatest cultural achievements in American history, and there’s not another instance where we’ve gotten so much educational impact for so little money. (If the Count helped us do the math, no doubt he would laugh at how good a deal we’ve all gotten. You can almost hear him now, “AH! AH! AH!”)

On behalf of everyone who understands the importance of early childhood education (and everyone who loves the Muppets), thank you for doing your job, and for doing it so well.

Yours where the air is sweet,

The Coquette