I'm Confused

>> Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I know, I know, I should avoid politics, but I'm completely confused about the hoopla, the absolute panic out there over the President talking to students in school. What the hell?

Cops come and talk to students at school without causing a panic. Astronauts, poison control experts, fire safety experts, FBI personnel, school administrators, celebrities, politicians... If Ron Paul were to come to my daughter's high school (yes, he's our representative - he ran uncontested), no one would think twice about letting him speak to the kids, and not just a go-to-school lecture. He could pound the drum with his professional agenda because he represents us.

Parents don't demand the right to screen their talks or censor their opinions (and if they feel that strongly, chances are they've already dragged their kids out of school to homeschool). Unless a teacher does something completely off the wall (like teach *gasp* evolution), most parents don't feel the need to screen everything children hear in school. And that's a good thing.

Folks, Obama represents as well. We, in fact, voted him to head up our government, represent our interests, lead the executive branch. We should not be panicked at the notion that he's going to address our children about education. He is a living breathing example of education gone well. He has made no bones about his opinions on this subject, that he takes it seriously, that he considers education a key to our future. If you don't want your kids to get that message, why are they in school at all?

If we can't trust the President to talk to our kids why would we trust him with the office we've elected him to? What are we mad about? That he is open and communicative, not just with children but with all of us? Oh, the horror!

If you bought into this whole hysteria, perhaps you should pause and reflect. When we start panicking, not over what someone has done, but what we're afraid will happen (with absolutely no evidence that those fears are justified), perhaps we should ask ourselves the real reasons we're so reluctant to treat the man we elected with trust, why the reactions we so often hear are so extreme. I hate to ascribe anything to racism, but it's challenging not to think that people wouldn't be so quick to judge, so easy to manipulate if they weren't distrustful at some level of his skin color, if those prejudices are really overcome. If you are worried about him, write down the crimes he's committed to date, the horrible things done and ask yourself if he's really committed a crime or if it's presumed future crimes that really are getting him painted with the ugly brush.

And ask yourself if fear, prejudice, and paranoia are really a better lesson for our children than the lessons he is trying to impart.

One last observation. Am I the only one who thinks it would be a very canny policy to remain calm in the face of unending paranoia and hysteria so that the wolf-callers and fearmongers would have ample opportunity to look foolish and be demonstrated wrong over and over?

Just sayin'.


  • Bob Johnson

    I have heard a little about this up here in Canada, I'm super baffled by this and am figuring it must be the community he was going to speak in, down south, might be like you said racism, or just plain ignorance.

  • Laura

    Amen! The hoopla surrounding his speech is/was totally and utterly ridiculous.

  • Anonymous

    In your last paragraph, do you mean the Obama administration should remain calm (agreed, somewhat), or the populace at large should remain calm when confronted with lies, deceit and fearmongering?

    Too much damage can be done by a few vocal liars -- the death panel scare, government sponsored abortion on demand, and free health insurance for illegal aliens -- in a very short timeframe. That short blitzkrieg of lies have set the public on edge and no amount of reasoned calmness, at this point, will get through to some of them. They're running scared from all the misinformation.

    Calm, cool and collected will work, to a degree. But, past a certain point, those traits can be taken for a sign of weakness or lack of commitment to your beliefs. But then, I'm not much of a "turn the other cheek" kinda gal.

  • Stephanie B

    What I'm saying, Mrs. Bitch, is that, when misinformation and hysteria are bouncing everywhere, this was a small quiet corner where Obama could let the fearmongers look ridiculous without any effort and no worries about side effects (since it did little real damage for the kids to miss out - and, of course, since their parents are freaked, they are more likely to seek it out and listen).

    I'm not saying passive is always the right move, but, for this particular situation, those that have screamed loudest did the most possible to discredit themselves.

    In my opinion.

    Not that I'm omniscient.

  • Jeff King

    i hate the direction our goverment is heading and has been heading in the last 20 years...

  • Project Savior

    I'm glad Obama stayed calm and collected and just called the fearmongers silly, I personally prefer to ridicule the idiots.
    They might get mad at me for it, but hey if someone is afraid of the President getting their kid to work harder in school they deserve to be picked on.

  • Roy

    What? You expected sense from the people who claim that: (a) he's not really a US citizen and if you show them his Hawaiian birth certificate they claim it's not really his birth certificate; he's really a Muslim; he's a socialist; he's the biggest Nazi since Hitler? There's really only one reason why these people make the claims they do, and why they don't want President Obama addressing their children, and you know what it is as well as I do: racism (well, except for Alan Keys, but he's just stark raving insane). They don't want their children to see an actual black man as President of the US, up on the TV screen where it can't be avoided or denied.

    There are times when it's embarrassing to admit to being a citizen of the US.

  • Boris Legradic

    You see, you Americans make it really difficult for us Europeans not to succumb to petty prejudice - or rather, your 24-hour news channels do. That is, until I get a good look at our own insane politicos...

    But seriously, I blame much of the idiotic, idiotic reaction that sweeps your country on the concept of 24-hour news channels. Desperate for news, any news, they will glom to anybody and anything, and thus provide a ready-made forum for any crackhead, be he (or she) now right-wing or left.

    I am quite happy that we don't have this TV-culture to the same extend on this side of the pond, although it could be argued that the boulevard-press of Great Britain more than makes up for it...

    @Jeff King: So you are saying that you long for the days of Reagan? War on Drugs, Iran-Contra and the immigration laws?

  • Joel Klebanoff

    What a shocking and appalling thing that the President of the United States should address students to tell them that education is a good thing and they should work hard at it. What a terribly corrupting force that is!! Shame on the President!!

    In case there is any doubt whatsoever in anyone's mind, obviously I was being sarcastic. I would be thrilled if our senior politicians here in Canada spent some time delivering that message to our students.

  • Doctor Faustroll

    I remember teaching as a poet in the schools in the early seventies and getting fired for reading a poem about death. That same year, I had to share a class with a deputy who came into to do a war on drugs talk who actually told a class of fifth graders that he had smoked marijuana once and it made him want to rape and kill. What a guy! They probably gave him the medal of freedom.

  • Shakespeare

    I can't say I know how to top Doctor Faustroll's story... WOW!

    My kids haven't seen the speech yet (I didn't know it was on yesterday, and my daughter starts school today), but my husband watched it, and he picked through it line by line... and could not tell what the fuss was about at all.

    And from what he's said (my hubby's into this stuff), the speech has been out in print for weeks... so it's not like these people were afraid of what he MIGHT say... they had to actually KNOW what he was going to say, and think something was wrong with it.

    I hope to see it soon. The hubby was very much impressed, and I understand my kids' school is going to play it for every class. I think the whole school district is showing it everywhere.

    Then again, we're all a bunch of tree-hugging liberals up here in the Seattle area, so we're naturally biased towards black presidents with fishy birth status. Call us crazy!

  • The Mother

    I've had this conversation on several blogs.

    My opinion is still the same: What hypocrisy!

    The religious right has been stacking school boards, attempting to implement their young earth, intelligent design woo for DECADES.

    And suddenly politics don't belong in schools????

  • WillOaks Studio

    What a great batch of comments and nice to know I'm not alone at being baffled by what all the hoopla and hysteria is about...I trend towards the racism masquerading as politics, etc. theory. It's hard to see how any real progress can be made in this climate and yes, on many occasions I admit I AM embarrassed by how many in our country are handling the new political realities.

  • Poetic Shutterbug

    I was completely baffled by all this hysteria myself. I don't know what people are thinking these days. Just as with all the hysteria over government run health care. Obama is trying to do good here and all people do is bitch and bitch. It's beyond me.

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