After listening to and reading some of the reactions to the announcement of Obama's school focused web address yesterday, my initial thought was:
Have we really reached a point in this country where the President can't talk to teachers and students about the importance of education without being called a Nazi?
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is 'yes'.
After coming to this realization, I was initially saddened, then disheartened, and eventually a little angry. After those feelings and emotions washed over me, something else followed: Laughter. The more I read and heard the comments, the more tragically funny some of the rationality for opposition was.
Since there are so many reasons why this 'outrage' is in a sense, comical, I had to list them to keep them straight. I tried to start with the most obvious and work from there.
1) Every President in my lifetime has addressed children in school in some form or fashion; either by video, in person, or through print. Never do I recall any outrage....ever.
2) I have read and heard repeatedly that it's not 'appropriate' for the President to speak to children in the classroom; that it's not his 'job'.
My understanding was that the President is the ultimate head of the United States Department of Education right? Doesn't the President handpick and supervise the Education Secretary? If it's not appropriate for the President to speak to teachers and students, who is it appropriate for?
3) When did a message about the importance of education become a 'liberal, partisan, socialistic agenda'? Do other political ideologies no longer believe in the importance of education?
4) Accusations of indoctrination? Really?
So what fits the definition of indoctrination more:
- A President speaking to school children and teachers about the importance of education, OR
- Parents telling their children that they are not allowed to listen to the President because "he's not like us".
Is this the messge we want passed to our kids: "If they aren't like you, don't give them the time of day"? It is this type of mentality that has continued to pass prejudice/bias on from generation to generation.
5) The entire address, and the suggested activities, are optional. There's no mandate forcing any school or teacher to participate.
6) This notion that parents should be able to screen what the President is going to say so that they can keep their children from being 'infected' with the policies of Obama.
Seriously? How many of these same parents have demanded a transcript of what their child's teacher is going to say to their children throughout the day? Or their guidance counselor? Or their principle? Or a guest speaker?
This web address is open to ANYONE. Does anyone really believe that the President would begin a 'socialist recruitment party' via a web address to school children or attempt to discuss healthcare reform with 8 year olds? If you believe that, I ask you who is REALLY indoctrinated to harbor a certain mindset?
7) I have also seen numerous complaints that children will be punished if their thoughts about the web address aren't 'Obama enough'. To this completely unfounded assumption I have no response other than laughter.
8) I saw this comment posted on the FOX News forum for their article on this topic:
"Pray for the sickle cell to find its way into the white house........this is like planet of the apes with the apes taking over...its all starting with michelle and barack" lukeh in New Jersey
Who's indoctrinated again?
Sadly, after a few hours, this comment had still not been removed by FOX and many others similar to it had been added.
After the ridiculousness of it had subsided, I could do nothing but laugh.............. to keep from crying ;)
9) I also saw a comment on FOX News forum, paraphrased:
"I'm a school teacher and I don't want any of my students listening to Hussein Obama. I tell them about Obama alright............but probably not anything that Obama wants them to hear"
Again, who's guilty of indoctrination?
ADDENDUM: After listening to and reading more about this, another point came to mind
10) The outrage over the 'what can you do to help the President' optional lesson plan:
This is standard language for the speakers we have in schools. Police officers generally ask us to help them keep our schools and streets safe, DARE officers ask us to help them keep our schools drug free, etc.
When we have reached a point in this country where the importance of education is no longer a bipartisan message, we have sacrificed our integrity as a governing body.
This recent 'outrage' has made it painfully obvious that for some people, opposition is the only ingredient, regardless of the subject matter.