I know some of my readers will already believe that people protesting Obama’s school speech are a) all conservative radio listeners, and b) stark raving mad. They will believe this partly because Obama and the media that supports him have succeeded in what the blogger at Acid Test warned us about last year:
Obama, on the other hand, does one thing, says another, and enough people are so desperate to believe in him that they lie to themselves so that they can keep doing it. Look at the reaction on the left when he started promoting faith-based government. Suddenly the left, the left, was trying to find reasons why it wasn’t such a bad idea after all. The ability to make people believe night was day was Reagan’s talent. He succeeded in making selfishness respectable, and then even admirable. He could make people forget which way was up. It’s very hard to climb out of a morass if you can’t even see that.
Obama, judging by the evidence so far, has the same talent. … What scares me is the large majority who, a year ago, finally understood that they don’t want that crap. But he can make them think they do.
The other part of this is that even liberal people in opposition to Obama have comfortably re-joined the ranks of their former group and have slowly been re-acclimated to the rhetorical tricks of the left. Now, even once-PUMA bloggers are calling people “teabaggers” and getting agitated with them, even though they share opposition to the government’s mess of a Health Care overhaul.
Liberals also agree with the school speech protesters, of whom I am one, though you’d have to turn to history to know it. Such liberalized citizens refuse to see what is happening, because they have now happily returned to their couches. It doesn’t help that their leaders are just as disingenuous as the other side. Now, people who should know better have slipped right back into rhetorical habits they had serious issues with just last year. They have not even investigated this particular issue for themselves or their children.
Liberal pushback on this issue has revolved around the concept that several presidents have done this. This is the first lie that people accepted. While presidents do routinely visit individual schools, which I still have some minor qualms with, only one president has ever nationally broadcast a speech on Channel One, the closed circuit television channel on which all televised content is distributed to schools.
That president was George H. W. Bush in 1991. Though it’s been deleted from the collective liberal memory these days, know that liberals had a lot, rightfully, to say about that. They rightfully complained about the $27,000 price tag on what was essentially a campaign commercial at tax payers’ expense. Why was it considered a campaign commercial? Because people can do basic math. Nearly half of the high school kids that Bush spoke to would vote in the next election. About 3/4 of the high school kids who will see Obama’s speech will be voting in 2012. And how much will Obama’s speech cost? Will we ever know?
What Obama is attempting to do, just as Bush was attempting to do, was to get a bite at that pie before it comes of age. Regardless of content, the speeches such presidents give, and which are beamed into all of our nations public schools, are speeches advocating for political parties. The fact that the president is the head of his party is all you need to know to realize this little fact.
More troubling still, though, was the content of the speeches. Bush’s speech was on the nation’s “War on Drugs” program. I have not found a copy of the curriculum guide that invariably accompanied Bush’s speech, but I would be unsurprised to find some offensive rhetoric intended to persuade children of the rightness of Republican ideology. Obama’s speech will be on setting goals, and there are assignments that accompany the speech, as reported by the Washington Times on September 2, in an early report on the speech:
Along with advanced word of the speech, the U.S. Department of Education last week distributed a “menu of classroom activities” to teachers that aims to turn the speech into one of Mr. Obama’s teachable moments.
Among the activities, the government suggests that students from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.” The material includes a suggestion that teachers then collect the letters and redistribute them at a later time “to make students accountable to their goals.”
In a democracy, we should all be opposed to the state indoctrinating our children. I am opposed because I do not want my daughter convinced of the rightness of Democratic ideology, or any ideology for that matter. Furthermore, I don’t want my child asked how she can help the president because I am in profound disagreement with the president on 90% of the issues. Even if we were in perfect agreement, my ethics would not allow me to abide this obvious attempt at such indoctrination.
My own liberalism includes the belief that a child should be given a choice as to what their own beliefs are, and they should not be subject to persuasive attempts to brand their minds before they have critical thinking skills, most especially when it comes to areas such as politics and religion.
So no, not everyone opposed to presidents giving speeches before huge groups of children in their educational setting is a stark raving mad and/or conservative. Some of us are liberals who appreciate the value of intellectual consistency. I was opposed when Bush did it; I am opposed when Obama does it.
My kid will not be in school on Tuesday, because I will not have her marked as one of the children of fanatics whose parents refuse to let her see the speech, which is how she’ll be seen thanks to the offensive and incredibly lazy rhetoric coming from the left. I will also not allow her to be erroneously marked as a racist, or have it implied that her family is racist, which is what will happen if I sign the letter they have sent home that allows her to go to the library when the speech is aired. And it’s not just a side-bonus that the school will lose its federal funding for my daughter for the day because of her absence. Maybe if they lose enough money, they will think twice about accommodating such speeches.