Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pardon me while I dust off the corner of my blog labeled "politics." Because wow... it sure has been a while, huh?

But it's time.

I have been watching in shock... disgust... HORROR even...over the last several days, as the media and the citizens of this country talk about the speech that President Obama will deliver to school children today. I don't even understand how it has escalated to this level.

Parents pulling their children out of school?
Schools refusing to air the speech because they don't want to upset anybody?
Protesters outside of the high school from which Obama will deliver the speech?

SERIOUSLY, my fellow Americans? SERIOUSLY?!

The White House, in order to try to calm the hysteria over this, has released the full text of the President's speech. And it, quite frankly, is wonderful. Beautiful. Inspiring. A message every child should hear.

Yet so many of them won't.

For whatever reason, ever since Obama took office, Republicans have been totally on his ass. Not just in the traditional "the opposite party is in power and we have to knock them for it" sense, but in the "we need to DESTROY this man" sense. I don't even know how the guy manages to breathe.

people who disagree with his policies are taking everything he does, everything he says, and blowing it completely out of proportion. They call him a racist. They call him a socialist, or even a communist. They call him a muslim (as if that's supposed to be something negative). It's sick. But then I remember... these are the same people who called liberals "unamerican" and "traitorous" when we had the audacity to voice disagreement with George Bush. In other words, they're into exaggeration and namecalling.

And you know what? That's fine. Every American has the right to disagree with his policies. That's fine. It's the way it should be. It's America.

But in this case, they've (once again) politicized an issue that's not even political. It's not about politics. Read the speech. Tell me what parent would disagree with those messages. Who?

He is the President of the United States. Regardless of whether you agree with him, he has reached the highest-ranked position in this country. He is one of the most powerful people in the world. Should children not strive to be like him? Should he not serve as a role model?

The youth in this country need a fire to be lit under their asses. These are the children who will grow into the adults who will lead this country someday. This country. This totally fucked up country.

And the President of the United States wants to speak to them. So, my god! LET HIM.

I think the saddest part in all of this is that if it were announced that some celebrity--oh, I don't know, let's use Miley Cyrus for an example--wanted to deliver an inspiring message to America's school children, people probably wouldn't have batted an eye.

And she's practically a stripper.

Yet people are up in arms about the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES talking to school children about never giving up on their dreams and striving for greatness. Oh, the horror.

To take it one step further... I happen to believe that even if President Obama's message to the children was political, the children should still watch it. What is the harm in presenting both sides of an issue to children? Should we really be sheltering them from messages just because we don't agree with them? I sure as hell don't think so. I actually think it would foster educational and thought-provoking conversations between children and their parents. But you see, parents are lazy. God forbid they actually have to TALK to their children about important issues. God forbid should you have to turn your TV off and have an actual conversation at the dinner table.

"No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in... So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?" (excerpts from Obama's speech)

I believe this is a good message for kids. Sure, they should hear things like this primarily from their parents, their teachers, and their peers. But maybe they don't really hear it. Or maybe they don't have people around them to inspire them in this way. Maybe 10, 20, 30 years from now, there will be just one child who remembers the day back in 2009 when he or she sat in school and listened to President Obama, and it changed his or her life. Is that not worth it?

We should do everything we can to help encourage and promote the opportunities that lay before these children. They have the potential to grow up and change the world.

I think we need that.


Lindsay September 8, 2009 at 1:40 PM  

Couldn't agree with you more!! I've read Facebook comments from friends who say they are pulling their kids out of school for the day because "that's what any good parent would do." Really? So I guess to them, being a good parent is letting your child only hear your insane, fucked up viewpoint on issues rather than presenting the child with other's views on the same issue? I am disgusted as well and it was refreshing to read your post! You go girl!

Blablover5 September 8, 2009 at 2:19 PM  

There is something almost art film ironic that people are pulling their children out of school because the president wants to give a speech telling them how important it is to stay in school.

I loved The Daily Show's take on this republican nuttery a few months back. "I think you're confusing unpatriotism with losing."

Ewarwoowar September 8, 2009 at 2:24 PM  

I'm not American, nor do I live in America, but I love this post!

You're spot on with almost everything - America can't be as bad as Britain at the moment, seriously.

Chrissy September 8, 2009 at 2:45 PM  

I completely agree with you that parents shouldn't pull children out of schools in objection to the president speaking. Children deserve the right to hear both stories, although I feel this updated speech isn't political. It contains important and vital points that any child should hear.

However, Obama's writers revised it from the original format. It is my understanding that people were so upset because Obama was going to ask the children to write letters on what they can do to help him. From people that I have talked to, they were upset because since HE is the elected official, HE should be serving US.

I think it has all been blown a bit out of proportion though. Great thoughts.

Heather September 8, 2009 at 2:57 PM  


Even if that's true, I still don't see the grounds for objection. So he wanted to give the children a writing assignment? Writing him letters about how they can help make America better?


These people are, what? Thinking that he's trying to get elementary school children to do his job for him? PLEASE.

So, we elected President Obama. Some people voted for him, others didn't. He's now our highest-ranked elected official, and he will be for 3.5 more years, at least. As you say, he's serving us. But does this mean we place responsibility for everything that the people of this country do squarely in his hands? He's completely responsible for our well being? Our actions?

Last time I checked, he's still a man. ONE man. He's in a powerful position, yes, but he can't do anything alone. The successes and failures of this country rest on ALL of us. Each and every one of us.

So Obama wanted kids to be involved in their government through a little letter writing? That's the horrific part of the speech that people are throwing fits over?

If I'm misunderstanding you, please correct me, but that argument still doesn't make any sense to me. Not one smidgen of sense.

Anonymous,  September 8, 2009 at 3:21 PM  

People are upset because they are total loons!! What's the point in arguing with them anymore? The issue with Obama in office is much deeper than the Republican v. Democrat debate anymore. It's sad to say, but it's turned into a race issue. ANYTHING the man does or says is scrutinized. Can you imagine if Obama was the one to send us to war over "weapons of mass destruction"? I don't even want to...

Chrissy September 8, 2009 at 3:32 PM  


Girl, I get what your saying and I’m conservative on most topics! I was just pointing out a different view that I have come across (gotta love hearing all sides). A lot of people were skewing his intentions, I think. Bring out the fear mongers and some people will listen (and take things to the extreme). I don’t think parents felt he was trying to get children to do his job for him, but rather they were upset that he was asking the children for their suggestions on what THEY could do for HIM. Which, to be completely honest, I think it great! Yes, he is there to serve us, but hearing a child’s views can gain a great perspective. Also, I think it’s important to instill in children that while you may not agree 100% with what someone says (in this case, the President) he/she should still receive respect.

Secondly, I’m not completely understanding where your comments on Obama and taking responsibility are coming from. I understand what you are saying, but not sure how that came across in my comment. I don’t think that Obama should take responsibility for citizen’s actions – that’s absurd. He can’t control everything, and quite frankly, I don’t think he should.

Honestly, as sad as I am to say this, I think so many people (Republicans mostly) get so involved/upset that this man is PROACTIVE. He is trying to make a difference, and while I disagree with some of his policies, people have to give him props. He isn’t sitting on his ass, waiting for things to pan out, he’s taking the initiative.

As you have said, this man is our President. He is the man who won the majority of America and I will support him to the best of my abilities on most items. I think instilling this in children from an early age is a great idea.

Whew, sorry that was so long! :) I hope that cleared up a few things. I wasn't siding with the parents in my original comment (as I think they were blowing things out of proportion), but just stating what I had read as the qualms they had.

Heather September 8, 2009 at 3:42 PM  

Anonymous--I'd say that there are some instances of people disliking Obama because they're racist, but I would like to believe that the majority of those who disagree with him do so validly. We're all so different in this country--different in the things we believe in, different in what we think is the best way to handle things. For that reason, there are plenty of "good" reasons to disagree with or dislike Obama. And, after all, he is a politician, and our government hasn't really given us any reasons to trust it in recent years.

Still, I agree with the main part of your argument. President Obama seems to be under more scrutiny than I have EVER seen. Every move he makes is dissected and analyzed and criticized and demonized. It doesn't make any sense to me, and I do wonder how we managed to go through eight years with GWB as our president without this kind of uproar. And I just wonder what the heck he has done to deserve this. He has his work cut out for him, that is for sure. You couldn't pay me enough to agree to be in his shoes right now.

Heather September 8, 2009 at 3:50 PM  

Hello again, Chrissy. :)

My comments on Obama and personal responsibility came from the statement, "they were upset because since HE is the elected official, HE should be serving US." I just think it's an ass-backwards way of looking at the way this country is run, and my point was just that we're all in this together, regardless of who may or may not be leading our country at any given time. That statement, to me, just demonstrates an entitlement attitude that I think so many people hold these days... as if Obama owes everybody something because he is "serving" us. I just took it a step further, and was asking rhetorical questions about whether he's supposed to be responsible for us and our actions because he is "serving" us. Not sure if I'm explaining myself well, but hopefully you get what I'm saying.

And for the record, I know you weren't necessarily saying that you agree with the points of view you were reiterating in your original comment, but I still wanted to react to it! Even if the people who do believe those things aren't here to read, it's still fair game for the sake of discussion! Thanks for contributing.

Love all of your interesting comments in your second post, too.

Gia September 8, 2009 at 5:00 PM  

My district refused to show it due to parents threatening to keep their kids at home. I am hoping we will be able to show it in class though.

Chrissy September 8, 2009 at 5:07 PM  

I don't want to beat a dead horse, but I love, love, LOVE this statement you made, "That statement, to me, just demonstrates an entitlement attitude that I think so many people hold these days... as if Obama owes everybody something because he is "serving" us."


Moya September 8, 2009 at 5:13 PM  

I'm glad you didn't hold back because even though I am not American I felt that this reaction to a country's leader addressing the children of that country was nothing short of ridiculous. However, people are usually heavily criticized when they are making a difference. The fear of change is very real and behaviour because of change can be quite irrational.
I enjoy reading your posts because you are so honest and opinionated & I can tell you're not saying things just because it's popular.

Vanessa September 8, 2009 at 5:35 PM  

Britain is the same if not worse.

Parents don't take the time to speak to their children. Children are completely uninspired, disaffected, uninspired...

I think it's great that the President thought to speak to children, thinks they matter. Because they will remember this, they will.

I would imagine that people are annoyed because they don't want children to be politically influenced from a young age. The same reason people hate advertising to young people. But that's gone so ridiculously far in America that this is nothing in comparison.

Kudos to an enlightened man who is trying to include a generation, show them that he cares what they think. It's more than most of their parents do.

Alison September 8, 2009 at 9:26 PM  

Ummm... can I just say I laughed out loud at the Miley Cirus comment. A lot.

I live in Texas, so I get to hear people say ridiculous things with alarming regularity. And, maybe it's just how I was raised, but I've always thought it was best to let kids hear what they hear and have an honest discussion about it later. I mean, obviously try to limit the drugs/sex/horror viewing, but by taking kids out of school over this it's teaching them to shut down and refuse to listen to anyone who might be remotely different than them. That's sure to make for some functional adults later.

A Chatty Future Mrs. September 8, 2009 at 9:48 PM  

My inner city Richmond kids watched today... and, as you said, if he reached just one child today, he did his job. DOWN WITH THE HATERS! :oP

Mrs. J L September 8, 2009 at 10:59 PM  

I know you mentioned once that you like to write...but you are REALLY great at it! Seriously!

Couldn't agree with you more!!!

Jen September 9, 2009 at 11:24 AM  

Total thumbs up. That's all :)

Cheryl September 9, 2009 at 12:26 PM  

"He is the President of the United States. Regardless of whether you agree with him, he has reached the highest-ranked position in this country. He is one of the most powerful people in the world. Should children not strive to be like him? Should he not serve as a role model?"

This. It applied to GW, so it's obviously going to apply to Obama as well.

As for the racism issue, it's still there in the south. It made me sick about every day I went to school after transferring from Jersey.

HoosiersFan,  September 9, 2009 at 7:37 PM  

Heather: You are very gracious in one comment when you say you want to believe that the objectors are not racist. Fact is that if our President was a White President, no matter how liberal, most of those complaining would not be afraid of allowing him to speak to their children. They probably would not even bother thinking about what goes on in the school (unless someone mentions "evolution" of course). What they cannot tolerate, but would never admit, is having their children SEE this intelligent, honest, inspiring African-American right there in the classroom.

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