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Where was your student at noon Tuesday? Was he or she in a classroom or assembly watching on television as President Obama offered encouragement about our young people’s commitments to education?
Was he or she listening to the wisdom of the person we so overwhelmingly chose last year to be our spokesperson to all mankind, being inspired by one of the most talented orators of our times?
If you are a parent or educator who turned your head from this because you don’t like the man’s philosophies, then you have bowed to the reckless winds of politics to deprive your student of something irreplaceable and historic.
Your child has lost a wonderful opportunity, but some of you may be the bigger losers.
You have failed in one of your chief responsibilities – to ensure that your child gets the best education he or she can, the very concept of Obama’s remarks. This speech was about education, and it was in itself a lesson in democracy and history.
It is incomprehensible for me to consider that any parent or educator would not have encouraged – nay required – that all students listen to Obama’s special address to students. To do otherwise is to teach life’s least valuable lessons: to be close-minded and petty.
There are many things in life I don’t understand, many decisions, actions, reactions and prejudices that leave me dumbstruck.
And now I think I have a new No. 1 on that list.
With the national furor around this speech ringing in their ears, Shelby County’s school leaders tried to do their best to be responsive. They delegated to principals the responsibility for whether or not Obama’s speech was would be available to students. There were scheduled, district-wide tests and other conflicts, so this, they decided, in a most delicious irony, was the politically correct thing to do.
And here’s what happened: Most principals in the county’s 10 schools left that decision up to the teachers. Many – perhaps most – showed the speech, others saved it for a later lesson plan. A few dozen parents sent notes requesting their children not be exposed to the speech.
Though the school’s central office did not keep track of how many students missed out on this opportunity, a best guess would be in the hundreds who never will be exposed to a class in current events in which they were part of the event.
Sadly, this whole discussion has left me mortified and perplexed at what I have heard and read from parents and leaders about Obama’s speech. The outrage and out-and-out bile that has spewed from mouths and spilled across our children’s lives brought with it an unmistakable stench of stupidity.
Some said it was wrong that Obama should be able to speak to students. Some said he only wanted to push his “socialist agenda” and “brainwash” them.
One wrote on Facebook that if her children had to listen to Obama, then they should get to listen to a message from “the other side, too.”
Just who is “the other side?”
Aren’t we all on the same side, especially when it comes to educating our kids?
What would that other side‘s message have been? “Drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, do drugs, have lots of sex and drop out as fast as you can?”
Maybe Dr. Timothy Leary could have delivered the other side.
This isn’t the State of the Union. There was no rebuttal required.
People have said Obama’s only motivation was politics, but that’s pure hypocrisy. Politicians of all walks have been appearing on campuses and with kids as long as there have been campuses and kids.
Presidents often have visited schools and spoken to classes, some of them even reading to classes. President George H. W. Bush delivered a televised address to students in 1991. People only complained then about the production costs.
And do you recall what George W. Bush was doing on Sept. 11, 2001 when he got that chilling tap on his shoulder by an aide?
There also seems to be more than a touch of irony that the same schools that balked at showing or declined to show Obama’s pep talk welcomed parents to campuses last January to sit with their students and watch his historic inaugural address.
You would think students might have had a little more interest and understanding of Tuesday’s speech than that one.
Better be more careful next time, because that inaugural address tends to be political.
This whole thing became a California-sized wildfire generated by extremist viewpoints and fanned by the ample amounts of Santa Ana winds that come from the well-greased throats of talk radio hosts.
Those people – and some of their TV brethren – say more about nothing than anyone I know. They are entertainers. They just can’t sing, so they dance with their mouths.
But people inexplicably listen and believe, and they jump to startlingly ridiculous conclusions.
Did you really think your child was going to be corrupted and pushed to lobby you for a health-care plan you don’t like?
Please, most school kids loathe going to the doctor and would prefer there be no health-care of any kind.
The bottom line is this:
Like him or not, Barrack Obama is the president of the United States, the person we hold up as a model to all young people, the icon of achievement in our country. He’s the leader of the free world, the most recognizable face in America outside of maybe Tiger Woods.
And, in the case of Obama, he’s a man who represents unique historic accomplishment that I thought we were celebrating.
This person, this figurehead, wanted to encourage our children about education and ask them to write him letters to tell him what they’re thinking.
But I guess that really was a bad idea and a waste of time. We should have just offered them a beer and a smoke instead.