Fear of What?

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The White House continues to insist that President Obama’s planned address to the nation’s school children and an accompanying suggestion plans are simply meant to encourage students to work hard and stay in school.

Under normal circumstances, no reasonable-minded parent should possibly find a reason to object to that.&nbsp  But politics are anything but normal.

Those very loud conservative parents who so vehemently oppose the notion of Obama talking to their little darlings are only interested in the “worst-case scenario,” which conspiracy theorists have wound up into a case of a president “brainwashing”&nbsp young, impressionable children into looking through liberal-colored glasses.

And their adoption of such an outlandish argument leaves two critical unanswered questions.

Most notably, what’s wrong with their kids? If hearing one speech is enough to brainwash them, something has seriously gone awry with their parenting skills when it comes to teaching their kids to think for themselves.

It’s ironic, but certainly worth mentioning, that of the people I’ve encountered on Facebook opposing Obama’s talk whom I actually knew when they were of the same age, not one of them would have been able to be brainwashed by hearing one speech.

Not one.

Their parents had apparently already helped them develop working brains that could hear viewpoints and weed out what they felt wasn’t right. Their parents had taught them not to be so gullible.

So it leads me to wonder if they really intend to send a message that they, apparently unlike their parents, have managed to drop the ball somewhere along the way.

The other critical question is this: do these parents truly believe that Obama is such a compelling speaker that hearing him in school one time will turn their kids liberal to such an extent that the parents themselves won’t be able to “snap them out of it”&nbsp in the years it will take until they reach voting age?

I mean, come on, people. Let’s consider a fifth grader. The average age is about eleven. Voting age is eighteen. That means two things: first, the kid won’t even be able to vote for Obama for a second term, and second, the parents have seven years to rant and rave about how wrong Obama is and turn their kids back onto the “right” path. (Pun intended.)

Are they trying to tell us, without coming right out and saying so, that they can’t even do that?

I wonder how many of them would have genuinely objected when George H.W. Bush, in October of 1991, delivered a nationally-televised speech to students encouraging them to say no to drugs and work hard. And whether they would have dared complain when his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, in November of 1988, delivered more a more politically-pointed speech made available to students.

That was the year my schoolmates graduated high school; I don’t remember a single protest.

Nice little double standard there.

The long goodbye to real political discourse continues.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.


  • To be fair, Dick Gephardt was (to coin a newsroom phrase) standing on his head spitting nickels at HW Bush being broadcast into classrooms across the US. But he was the very vocal minority. ’91 lacked the “tea parties” and Glenn Becks and the ranting from the generally uninformed population.

    The result of the elder Bush’s words was negligible — honestly, barely memorable if not for our current line of political discourse which has turned analysts to the history books to find other examples of presidential behavior.

    What saddens me are the closed-minded parents that are so bent on disliking anything the current administration deems of core importance they are willing to sacrifice a child’s education to make a point they cannot competently verbalize without citing the talking points of half-truths the far right are spouting.

    What scares me is the possibility of at least some of this being racially motivated — a pathetic stance that is slowly spreading.

  • Thanks for the insightful article. My wife and I are so enraged by the lack of sense that we see politically in SC that we are starting to lose faith in the region. I like to know that there are people down here that don’t just regurgitate their opinions from what they’ve heard on the TV or radio. We are planning on taking our children home at noon on Tuesday to let them listen to the nation’s leader live because we are in Dorchester district 2 and they are not allowing it to be shown live. Its kind of strange that our children have to miss school now to listen to a speech about working hard at school. We just don’t know any other way to protest this obviously hate-fueled decision by the district to politically influence our children.

  • I think it’s the same “something else” that’s the reason that people don’t “trust” Obama (despite the fact that everything he’s done or tried to do was something he promised to do during his campaign) or think that he isn’t a US citizen (despite the fact that his mother is a citizen). Some people will never change.

  • W’s problems started all the way back in 2000. Additionally, a lot of things that W did sunk his own presidency (the list is sooooo long!). Obama will be judged the same way at the end of his – what you did or what you didn’t do during your time in the job.

    • Meredith, Did the Dems raise this kind of stink when G.H.W.Bush spoke to kids in ’91? I don’t recall one at all. Even when G.W.Bush was sitting in the classroom on 9/11, I don’t recall the Dems complaining about him being there. (They certainly complained about how long he stayed AFTER being told America was under attack. But I can’t find record of them having complained about him going there before the fact.)

      • Visiting children in school and talking with a class and perhaps reading a book is far from being broadcast into every classroom in America and speaking to highly impressionable youth. no, I did not vote for him and do not want him as leader of the free world, but throughout history, the 2 main partys have been throwing daggers at each other. No, there were very little, if any, critisism towards Bush when he was in a classroom during 9/11, but he didn’t try to speak to all kids as a captured audience. It doesn’t seem like another attempt at Government getting more “friendly” with the people…closer into our everyday lives. In any effect, the debate of who is angry and why they are angry will never end, you can’t make everyone happy. but, Obama has tried to work on all his promises and that is admirable, but it is discouraging that he is spending more money than some countries will ever see in his first 8 months and showing us that “our government” is like us and is helping us. But it still gets me that the “save all” healthcare plan is a must join for US citizens and not mandatory for out government. yes, some people will never change, but how fair is it that? Who are those “some people”? Is it the ones that support obama and everything he does or is it the ones that do not support him and find fault? Or is it the same for GW Bush?

        • Meredith – while there are no simple political subjects, you also can’t blame Obama completely for all of this “spending” you referred to, after all, congress passes spending legislation. Consider also that there was a budget surplus before W took office in 2001 and after all is said and done in 2009 he left a trillion dollar deficit. Yes, Obama’s administration could do more up front in his first year to reign in spending by lowering budgets, but I believe it was Ronald Reagan’s administration that once said “Deficits don’t matter”. It’s true – no presidency will ever be perfect for everyone.

        • Meredith – Honestly, you seem like an intelligent person, but your information on the health care program is a little off. The plan doesn’t force the public option on everyone. If you have health care, you do not have to change it. It is offering an affordable option that will hopefully drive down the cost of health care overall. You don’t have to go on the public health care plan. You can stick with your own plan if you want. The only concern I see is how many providers will stick around and compete with the public option. On the flip side, I see a lot of potential for insurance companies to develop niche supplemental coverage to accommodate people who want more than what a public option has to offer.

          • Joseph – I feel the same about you. Have you looked at the proposed Healthcare plan? Not just what the politicians are telling us. I believe it’s page 15, I’ll look it up when I get home, but it states that congress and the president are excluded and you CAN keep your current plan, but if ANY changes are made (annually) you MUST change to the government plan. And your insurance provider makes many small changes every year, like change in deductible, minimal increase in premium, etc. So, everyone will eventually have to change. I put the page number above as a starting point, this is not gossip, I actually read this with some Physicians. I was very open minded about the proposed change, but when I read the fine print, it now seems a little sketchy.

          • Meredith, that’s incorrect. The section you’re referring to is about grandfathering in existing health insurance coverage. It does not say you must change to the government plan if your provider changes to your plan. It simply states that all plans must contain the basic criteria (also included in that section), so if an insurance company decided to reduce coverage, you could switch to another private insurance company. You know — one that was actually following the law. Also, I do not see anything in the plan stating that “congress and the president are excluded.” I’d be interested in knowing exactly where that is located.

  • It’s total political BS. What do you think Obama is going to say? Kill your parents? Drugs are cool? Join the democrats or die?!?!?!? It would be political suicide to say anything out of the ordinary. This phony outrage is so rediculous and is 100% politically-based. The Republicans hate Obama and will do absolutely anything to make him fail at every turn. Period.

  • i wasnt raised around any kind of politics and I wish i had been. im not rep. or dem, and i would feel happy for my kids to be able to hear from any president. i hope that it would peak their interest in politics so by the time they are of voting age, they will actually VOTE. i dont understand politics at all, its like chinese to me. and i’d be happy for my kids if that didn’t happen to them.

  • If we have reached the point where the President of the United States cannot speak to our children, the road has gone right over the cliff.

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