Sunday, September 6, 2009


On Tuesday President Obama will be speaking to the school children of the country. There are many outraged parents, and a lot of talk about whether to allow their children to attend school that day. It has reached the point where my local high school called to notify parents that they could excuse their children (have them do other activities), provided they write a note. I myself have been asked over the past week if I would send my kids to school.

Yes, I am.

I think, first and foremost, that my children are informed enough to listen and question on their own (I've had to urge restraint on my youngest, however!). I also feel that the speech itself will be pretty vanilla - mostly about staying in school and getting good grades, setting goals and achieving them, and going to college. All things I try to teach my own children.

There may, however, be stuff about 'service' to the community, which I will talk to my children about. Service to your community is a commendable thing, but it should be a personal choice, not something mandated by the state.

The thing that truly gives me pause is the worksheets that have been proposed. I'm not thrilled with the section titled 'Before the Speech'. The students are asked a series of questions, the last of which asks, "Why is it important that we listen to the President and other elected officials, like the mayor, senators, members of Congress or governors? Why is what they say important?"

I would have less issue with these questions if they were followed with 'Why is it important for our elected officials to listen to the people? Why is what they say important, too?' This is, after all, a representative democracy form of government, and our elected officials should, ideally, do the bidding of the majority. Since I can count on the school system to drop the ball on pointing this out, I will, of course, supplement my children's education so that they understand how their government works (or, at least, how it's supposed to).

To me, the grade 7-12 worksheets were a bit more troubling, mostly because if you look at the style of the questions, some of them almost seem like polling questions. "What are the three most important words of the speech? Rank them" After all, grades 10th -12th will be of voting age in 2012, so why not focus group them now, hmmm?

What really has people freaked out, in my opinion, is the fact that he is addressing all of the school children in the nation. Considering some of the liberal ideas about training children from a young age to support their social causes and political agenda, conservatives are understandably concerned. However, Reagan himself did something similar back in 1988, and was actually quite partisan, discussing such conservative values as low taxes, the greatness of America and the American vision of self-government. It was broadcast to schools nationwide, and barely got a blip on the radar. One can only assume this is so because most of America (certainly the conservative middle) holds those same values, but have recently become suspicious of the socialistic bent of the current administration. Thus the 'Conservative Freak-Out".

My question on this is: Are conservative parents concerned about the 'indoctrination' of their own children, who most likely would listen with skepticism due to hearing their parent's opinions, or the children of the 'mushy middle'?

These children are the largest block, and most likely to not have a political opinion due to their parents political indifference (yes, it seems that lately everyone is political, but it's truly surprising how many people are still politically asleep) and so would not recognize indoctrination when they are subjected to it. That is most likely the deeper fear for conservatives, and one that is well founded.

This fear was brought out on the liberal side back in 1991, when George H.W. Bush spoke from a Washington middle school. Naturally, it wasn't labelled 'hysteria' back then. This event, according to Dick Gephardt (D-MO) was "paid political advertising", and caused quite a bruhaha. There was much talk also of wasting precious education funding - a theme the MSM of today should have examined, considering the financial crisis and budget deficits facing our schools. The fact that they do not is just par for the far-left slanted course.

Let's face it - millions of school children look up to President Obama. He has achieved much, and is an example for at-risk kids everywhere, who desperately need a role model who advocates perseverance, achieving goals and thinking big. He is living proof that this is a land of opportunity where one can achieve almost anything, and that is definitely a lesson all our children should learn.

It's just too bad that, if he is successful in implementing his agenda, mediocrity will be the order of the day.

This speech seems innocuous enough - to keep my children out of school because of it seems a little petty to me.

That doesn't mean, however, that I won't be paying attention, reading the transcript, talking to my children and scrutinizing any future speeches he (or any politician, for that matter) aims at my kids.

But, ultimately, this is probably more of an exercise in the Obama administration chasing history again than anything else.

The funny thing about all of this is that this speech was most likely meant as a harmless distraction from the controversy of a week ago about an additional $2 trillion Obama is adding to the deficit.

It certainly blew up into more than just a harmless distraction, but I'd have to say 'Mission Accomplished', wouldn't you?

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