So I’m not really known for political commentary. I try to stay away from it as some topics get too convoluted and upset me to be honest. However, sometimes you have to overcome one’s own apprehension in order to get a point across. I’ve monitored this “uproar” about Pres. Obama’s speech to school children and quite frankly I’m disgusted. I can understand parents (especially those who reside on the red side of the aisle) opposition to a politically charged message to impressionable children. However, they made a federal case out of it, even after the text of the speech was released, showing only malcontent for educational mediocrity from our youths. No political messages were embedded, subliminally or directly, in his speech.
Some parents even took exception to the White House asking students to write letters to themselves discussing “what they can do to help the president.” Pressure from conservatives forced the Obama Administration to modify this statement, but I don’t understand the uproar. I did similar exercises in school for the President. In fact, these outraged Republicans and parents act like the President addressing our youth on education is something new:
President George H.W. Bush delivered a nationally televised speech to students from a Washington school in fall 1991, encouraging them to say no to drugs and work hard.
In November 1988, President Reagan delivered more politically charged remarks that were made available to students nationwide. Among other things, Reagan called taxes “such a penalty on people that there’s no incentive for them to prosper … because they have to give so much to the government.”
Many old school GOP representatives, including former Speaker of the house Newt Gingrich and Laura Bush praised the President’s initiative. Some people were quick to attack Obama before the speech occurred, yet cosigned after reading the transcript:
Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer accused Obama last week of trying to “indoctrinate America’s children to his socialist agenda.”
“Now that the White House got their hand in the cookie jar caught, they changed everything,” he said Monday.
After reading the text, he said, “My kids will be watching the president’s speech, as I hope all kids will.”
So I wondered why all the hate? Why the uproar? When I stepped out and looked at the bigger picture I thought of a few reasons why a simple speech caused this much controversy:
Politics as usual
Parents who don’t necessarily approve of Obama or his administration oppose his speech. So conservatives look at this as an opportunity to combat the Obama administration yet again! Look, I understand that the rumors of the Obama administration’s bipartisan effort have been greatly mistaken, but surely you’ve heard the phrase “pick and choose your battles”. So far since Obama took office, the polarization effect astonishes me. I wonder if Obama really thought he could get bipartisanship to work immediately. Either way, I think Obama opponents jumped on this like piranhas smelling blood in a fish tank, and it makes them look stupid! Bad politics indeed.
Racism is still alive in 2009
I know a lot of my conservative friends want to eliminate the notion of race from political conversation, but its an unfortunate fact that race is prevalent and alive in our society. Let’s be real for a second: There’s STILL many people upset that Obama won. Take it from a Knicks fan who’s seen Michael Jordan crush my hopes and dreams 8 summers; Sometimes you have to accept that the better man won regardless of affiliation. I know that more than “concern over a political message” was on the minds of some of those parents. I know Obama wants to transcend race, but he may have to curtail that ideal and continue to work with that “handicap” as he, and other black males do on a daily basis.
Respect for the office of POTUS is non existent
I’m not sure when this happened, but it seems like we, as Americans, don’t hold the office of President in the same respect as other countries view their leaders. In other countries, it would be an honor for the country’s leader to speak to the youth, while we ridicule here. Why shouldn’t a president who achieved the dream millions of kids hold daily, and especially THIS President who sparked new dreams in people of color, speak to our youth on the value of education? My family is ride or die democratic. They were not in favor of EITHER Bush in office (that’s what she said). I knew where they stood, but I also was taught to RESPECT the President whomever it may be, as he represents our country and its ideals. That’s why I got mad when people applauded dude who threw the shoe at Bush. YES it was hilarious, but to cosign someone attacking our President is disrespect to our country and makes us look bad. I agree that indoctrination of political ideologies have no place in the classroom. The president shouldn’t impose his political agenda on kids. However, we must allow our President to serve as a role model for our kids to achieve great things, regardless of political affiliation
SBM community what do you think of this issue? Did parents have a legitimate concern? Was this merely a political move from Obamas administration to deflect from healthcare? Are the problems deeper than rap race? Speak on it!
Streetz: Mr Write Now