It turns out the rival kingdom wasn’t building “bombs”—it was building a bridge. It may seem silly to most adults, but to young children trying to understand a reality in which nuclear war was possible, Rogers’s puppet allegory was likely far more effective than other, sensationalistic programs about the ongoing arms race broadcast at the time.

The conflict series was assumed to have been lost to history. Perhaps it’s merely a coincidence, but the timing of their re-emergence is certainly fitting. Trump has made gestures toward nuclear proliferation multiple times already during his presidency, including via Twitter:

Trump went on MSNBC shortly after sending that tweet and stated, plainly, “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” His statement puzzled and worried nuclear experts in equal measure.

The US president’s proposed budget, introduced on March 16, called for a 10% increase ($54 billion) to America’s already enormous defense budget. Under Trump’s plan, virtually every other federal agency would be cut—some of them entirely.

According to Neighborhood Archive, a site that logs old Mr. Rogers episodes, in the conflict series, King Friday suggests his kingdom won’t be able to pay for much of anything besides bomb-building. One of the puppets is told that, because of the weapons stockpiling, the town won’t be able to afford programs like “music for the children.”

Rogers, who died in 2003, famously defended federal funding for public broadcasting and the arts numerous times throughout his epic career, most notable in a 1969 hearing before the US Senate. They listened to him then: Funding for PBS was increased from $9 million to $22 million two years later. Will anyone listen to him now?

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