Friday, September 04, 2009

This is just embarrassing

That's the only word I can think of to describe the divisive nature of the current Republican party - the talking heads on the radio and television are riling up the ignorant masses about a threat of President Obama going after the children to try to indoctrinate them into his socialist agenda, like some sort of evil pied piper.

Of course, these same people didn't raise a peep when President Bush implored our nation's children to support the war in Afghanistan or the clusterfuck of mangled "facts" and rhetoric that became the "liberation" of Iraq...

Nor did I hear anything in 1991 when President George H.W. Bush addressed the children, of course, I was in school then, and wasn't aware that I had the opportunity to choose to not listen, just as in 1988 when President Reagan addressed us about the importance of education, low taxes, and the line item veto. (Much of the information provided above is covered in this post at

What's more embarrassing than the fact that the governor of our state is "troubled" by the President of the United States addressing American Citizens is that many people are actually going to NOT allow their children to hear the address, because they're afraid he "might" use it to spout left-wing, socialist rhetoric, and we can't have that happen to our children. God forbid a dissenting opinion be heard, another viewpoint be allowed to be conveyed - discourse is dangerous for democracy, apparently.

This makes me ill.


nuje said...

As long as we have a choice to let our children see this speech, or the speech of *any* politician, I'm ok with it. You have no problem with choice, right?

The "it happened in the past and no one complained" argument is always a weak one.

Calling the other side the "ignorant masses" is what 14 year olds with weak arguments do on YouTube.

Steve said...

When I was at one of my last duty stations in the Air Force before I separated, I had a captain who I couldn't stand. I didn't think he was deserving of his rank, and I certainly didn't care much for his demeanor, which I thought was narrow-minded. However, whenever I passed him in the building, you can be certain that I greeted him with a sharp "sir," and when I passed him outdoors, I always offered him a crisp salute. Whether I liked the man or not, he held a position of esteem - he was an officer in the military, a position that demands respect.

I view the office of the President in a similar manner - a position that commands respect, and I think it does a disservice to the office by denying our children the opportunity to hear him address them, he's earned that right by virtue of his position. Moreover, I think it serves our children very well to let them know that our President thinks enough of them to choose to address them directly, it helps vest their interest in their nation to know that their nation's leaders are interested in them. Further, by allowing our children to hear viewpoints with which we disagree, we are charging our children with perhaps the most important product an education can provide, the opportunity to hear information from opposing diametrics and make a decision on the merits by themselves, a concept that is paramount to a successful representative democracy.

One thing I try to do when I consider a political opinion is ask myself what I would say if a President whom I had utmost respect for did the action, what would I say, and what if it was a President who I disdained? In this case, I can say that if President Truman chose to address the children directly, I would have no problems with it. Conversely, I had no problems when Presidents Reagan or G.H.W. Bush addressed me as a student, nor would I have insisted my children not participate in a direct address from President G.W. Bush (or, had Senator McCain won the presidency would I have issue with his addressing the students - I wonder if the vitriolic opposition to President Obama would have the same consternation if that were the case).

At the end of the day, I believe that this issue transcends the speaking of a "politician" and becomes an issue about respect for the office of the President.

To close, I would link to a post I made back in 2005, after the inauguration.

Cassie said...

Ok this was a long ago post and no one is going to read it but I just wanted to add that my friend's viewpoint is that if she agrees with what the president says she will talk to her child and reinforce that. If she doesn't agree then she will talk to her child about what she disagrees with and why. Either way it opens their eyes and allows them insight into their parents beliefs. I think that when my children are older I will adopt this. I do not want to shelter my children from different viewpoints because I want them to learn to make decisions on their beliefs on their own and know that it is ok not to agree with others.