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On Saturday, Nov. 3, Chris Mecham and Michael Bellavia will likely be holding signs in Washington D.C.’s National Mall that read, respectively, “I am Bert” and “I am Ernie.”
They hope you join them.
The duo were brought together after Mitt Romney infamously uttered the words “Big Bird” during the first presidential debate. Now they’re organizing the Million Muppet March to show solidarity for “keeping full employment for all Muppets” by continuing public broadcasting funding — which Romney plans to axe if elected.
Bellavia and Mecham described to The Hollywood Reporter their impromptu plans for the assembly, to be held on the National Mall at the nation’s capital.
Even “if it’s just the two of us with puppets in Washington D.C., I’m happy,” said Bellavia, president of Animax Entertainment. Bellavia, based in Los Angeles, and Mecham, a writer and student at Boise State in Idaho, both had the idea of creating a Million Muppet March after Romney’s remark.
After finding out that the other person had already created a web presence for the event (Reuters noted that Bellavia bought the domain name for the March while Mecham created a Facebook page) they decided to cooperate to make it a reality.
“Niether of us is a community organizer,” Bellavia said. But, if “likes” are any indication, they might be getting some company in the capital: more than 11,000 people have given the thumbs up on the event’s official Facebook page, and 440+ people have RSVP’d for the event on the social-networking site so far.
“The route is to be finalized early next week but the aim is to gather on the Mall likely near the Smithsonian and walk with puppets in tow to the western grassy area by the Capitol building,” Bellavia noted.
“The ultimate mission is to show support for public media and public broadcasting,” he said. Though public broadcasters like PBS, which airs Sesame Street, have been in the crosshairs of budget hawks, Romney’s “Big Bird” comment regnited the debate about continued funding.
President Obama’s campaign has even aired an ad starring Big Bird that mocked Romney for cracking down on Sesame Street instead of Wall Street.
Mecham, who will be visiting the nation’s capital for the first time, hopes that the March will draw “everyone from the young families with kids who understand the value of PBS Kids television programming, to retirees–the generation of citizens that built America’s public broadcasting network and who know its value to democracy and to national security.”
“We also want puppets there. And people dressed in full mascot outfits,” Bellavia added.
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