On May 1, 1969, Fred Rogers, host of the (then) recently nationally syndicated children’s television series, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce Subcommittee on Communications to defend $20 million in federal funding proposed for the newly formed non-profit Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which was at risk of being reduced to $10 million. Subcommittee chairman, Senator John Pastore (D-RI), unfamiliar with Fred Rogers, is initially abrasive toward him. Over the course of Rogers’ 6 minutes of testimony, Pastore’s demeanor gradually transitions to one of awe and admiration as Rogers speaks.
Watch the speech at 5:31:
What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh-so wrong
And nothing you do seems very right.
What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag
Or see how fast you go?
It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned the thing that’s wrong.
And be able to do something else instead and think this song.
I can stop when I want to.
Can stop when I wish.
Can stop, stop, stop anytime.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a lady,
And a boy can be someday a man.