This lesson brought to you by letter E

As the midterm elections approach, there are many pressing issues that voters must weigh. Education, health care, the economic situation, America’s role in global affairs (especially in the Middle East) and the overall direction of the country—these are just a few of the critical concerns voters need to contend with before they cast their ballots. Although the average citizen does not need one more thing to ponder over, there ought to be one more factor considered amid the hype and speculation of this election season: who would Elmo vote for?

That’s right, Elmo, the beloved red furry monster from Sesame Street.

At this moment, there are probably groans from various readers questioning why such a preposterous idea would be even suggested by anyone older than five. Good point. Elmo is indeed a Muppet who lives in an apartment covered in crayon and has been three-and-a-half years old since 1985.

Yet, it also should be noted that for decades parents have trusted Elmo to teach their children about fundamental skills like reading, writing and coloring as well as sharing, being kind to one another and personal responsibility (it’s safe to say that his goldfish, Dorothy, has lived longer than her average counterpart).

In recent years, Elmo has joined the cause for healthy eating and helping the environment, showing his concerns with important issues for the nation and the world. Elmo even spoke in front of Congress’ Education Appropriation Subcommittee in 2002 about the importance of music education. With a resume like that, listening to Elmo wouldn’t be half-bad.

Although he is a very friendly monster and generally likes everyone (some of Elmo’s recent visitor’s include actors Robert DeNiro, Colin Farrell and Ricky Gervais, who can safely be considered not the warmest or friendliest individuals around), even Elmo has some standards for people he would want to hang out with. Therefore, if voters take to heart the standards Elmo has for friends, then they should have a good idea of whom they should vote for.

As mentioned before, Elmo supports many causes including environmental awareness, promoting a healthy lifestyle with exercising and healthy eating and education, particularly in the arts. Therefore, one can assume that Elmo wouldn’t want to vote for someone who didn’t think these programs are beneficial for future generations and do what they could to make sure there was funding for them. With this first requirement, a couple candidates are already knocked off the platform.

Another point Elmo continuously stresses whenever he speaks somewhere, whether it is a talk show or at home at Sesame Street, is that everyone needs to love each other and we should all be treated the same. This includes people who may be different. Automatically, this eliminates any candidate that vote to keep "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" or believes that gays should not get married. With these laws intact, a message is sent that all individuals are not equal and there is still hate in our society. With this requirement, a larger chunk of the candidates are no longer in the running.

Elmo strongly believes that everyone should be kind and respect one another. And with this final requirement, we would have to eliminate political candidates.

With all the mud-slinging happening at the local, state and federal levels of government right now, it seems there is not even the tiniest speck of respect anywhere. Whether it is in a political ad or on the floor of state and federal legislatures, the evidence of base and degrading comments toward fellow politicians is everywhere. It may be politics as usual, but Elmo would not approve of this at all.

What does this say about the current crop of politicians? The fact that a small, red, furry Muppet monster wouldn’t even vote for these people should be a point of concern. Shouldn’t there be a higher standard for the individuals that are chosen to protect and enforce the laws of the land? This should be a wake-up call to citizens to seek and vote for people who are truly honest and think about what is best for the country.

Now, in all fairness to the politicians, they wouldn’t want Elmo to vote for them anyway; he’s red after all.

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