The neighborhoods of Fred Rogers and Donald Trump

Sam Smith – An exceptional new documentary on Fred Rogers hit a theme for me about two thirds through: I realized that Mr Roger’s neighborhood was the exact opposite – in decency, integrity, friendliness and happiness – of that being created by Donald Trump.

Fred Rogers wasn’t a perfect individual. He was, in that fine definition of a saint, a sinner who tried harder. He took his own difficult childhood and turned it into something else not only for him and for millions of others. Nothing could be further from the cruelty, falsity, and greed projected in Mr. Trump’s neighborhood.

As I watched the film, I was reminded again of how television and movies have chosen mainly not to celebrate the good but to reflect the evil around us. This is not wrong in itself, but without any major alternatives to this cynical media world, how do we learn how to behave differently? To love? To be kind? Where are our role models for good?

The reason Mr. Rogers moves even adults is in part because he was a model of how we might handle things differently. He was a little corner of hope and joy in a nation that would soon  join Mr. Trump’s neighborhood.




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