It’s rare to find an individual with as much passion and dedication to helping people as Fred Rogers was. It’s even rarer to find an individual like that, who fights with his whole heart for everything good in this world, to courageously go up against the powerful interests of cynicism and maliciousness, and bring them to their knees in the span of a six-minute speech. But in 1969, Rogers did just that.
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood had been on the air for less than two years when PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting became a target of massive budget cuts proposed by Richard Nixon, who hoped to funnel that money into the Vietnam War. Two days into a dismal Senate subcommittee hearing that would determine the fate of PBS, Fred Rogers took the floor and addressed the chilly and impatient subcommittee chairman, John O. Pastore, with the goal of underscoring the importance of educational, emotionally positive programming for children. What happens next is straight out of a Frank Capra film. Take a look, and have the tissues ready: