Intellectual Consistency and the Left: School Speech Edition

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.

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8 comments on “Intellectual Consistency and the Left: School Speech Edition

  1. Sis says:

    This reminds me of the anti-abortionists getting into schools, and then protesting if Planned Parenthood did.

    But I really came here to thank you for your post at Reclusive Leftist. You’re the only one who’s hit it. Is Vi trolling her blog or what.

  2. SYD says:

    Thanks for your insight… regarding the historical data.

    The lie that “other Presidents have done this” was lost on me. I believed them!

    SYD

  3. Modem X says:

    Had my daughter still been in school in 1991, I would have kept her out the day of Bush’s speech. It’s an outrage for ANY president to attempt to indoctrinate schoolchildren, who are a captive audience, and more so because he’s using public money to do so. Considering all the money Obama has gladly accepted from the health insurance, pharmaceutical, banking, and other industries, I think he should be paying for this himself as what it is: an early campaign stratagem.

    The idea that children should “write letters to themselves about how they can help the president” and that teachers should collect the letters to be returned at some later date “to make students accountable to their goals” makes me think of “Brave New World,” “1984,” and other dystopic novels. Exactly how would teachers “make students accountable to their goals”? They would most likely lead class discussions and ask individual students what they had done “to help the president.” Those who had met their goals would be praised, those who had not met their goals would be exhorted to work harder to help the Dear Leader. This should not be a function of the public schools in a democratic republic.

    Anna Belle, you nailed it about the inconsistencies of the left. It’s sad for an old lefty like me to see.

  4. kk says:

    I agree, I’ve just been over to the Confluence…I usually enjoy reading the debate and clever comment…but now they are just name calling…. I mean IQ calling people ‘teabaggers’ and other such names..SOD shutting down genuine comment like a paranoid person….Huff post ok….Clinton haters OK…. I’m an honestly a little bit stunned…. and clearly not the only one…

    thanks for your post…and your capacity to ‘remember’.
    cheers

  5. Anna Belle says:

    Glad to see I’m not alone in this. Thank you all for commenting. It never really matter what the content of the speech was. Presidents should not give televised speeches to the nation’s children, period. Television is too powerful, and children are too malleable. And we all know that the politicians of our two major political parties are untrustworthy, calculating, conniving bastards (sorry, that’s the beer talking) who wouldn’t be above poll-testing this idea for electoral reach. It’s sad when a citizen has to be so paranoid about that shit, but we do.

    Thanks again. I was feeling pretty isolated in my sentiments.

  6. Butters says:

    Here are some choice tidbits from the Obama’s children’s books that the White House literature (which was sent inappropriately) encouraged teachers to have students read.

    http://www.puma08.com/2009/09/02/sept-8th-here-are-two-of-the-books-on-obama-your-kids-are-expected-to-read/

    Sept 8th… Here are two of the books on Obama your kids are expected to read…

    “There, swept up in the waves of their singing, with tears on his cheeks, he knew why he was there. He knew who he was and he knew where he belonged….

    “On the horizon, at the dawn of a new age, there appeared a man who would be the embodiment of King’s dream — a presidential candidate whose very being was a bridge that joined nations….

    “One sun-drenched day, as his wife Michelle stood by, Barack smiled on a sea of faces from Wichita to Waikiki. He saw whites and blacks, rich and poor, Christians and Muslims and Jews; he saw the ghosts of his parents, of Gramps and Toot, of Martin Luther King, Jr. and JFK. And on that special day Barack was the bridge that held them all together. “I want to be your president,” he said. “Can we make America better? Can we work together, as one?” With a single voice the crowd called out, “Yes! We can!”…

    “His mama, white as whipped cream; his daddy, black as ink…

    “Ever since Barack Obama was young, Hope has lived inside him. From the beaches of Hawaii to the streets of Chicago, from the jungles of Indonesia to the plains of Kenya, he has held on to Hope. Even as a boy, Barack knew he wasn’t quite like anybody else, but through his journeys he found the ability to listen to Hope and become what he was meant to be: a bridge to bring people together.

  7. Butters says:

    Amazon.com’s comment section from 2008 (when these books above were published) is very interesting too.

    Two of the books on the reading list were out even before Obama was elected.

    “Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope
    Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing; Library Binding edition (August 26, 2008)
    The most helpful critical review
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    A little much, even for a fervent Obama fan”
    The most helpful favorable review
    5.0 out of 5 stars “Funniest book I’ve read in a long time. I’m giving this 5 stars simply because this is the most hilarious laugh out loud book I have read in a very long time. First you must realize that this is a work of pure science fiction..”

    Barack, by Jonah Winter
    Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (September 30, 2008) The most helpful critical review
    “Written before Barack was elected President, this book showcases how Barack has become a great human being and leader because he was able to pull together the many disparate pieces of his life into a healthy whole. The vibrant illustrations glow with color and drama. It is very hard to depict real people…”

    A cult-like status not unlike Hitler’s, December 8, 2008 “This book is well written and beautifully illustrated, atleast, for propaganda it is. Seriously, I understand partisanship bias, but even the most staunch liberal will find this book eerily similar to the cult-like propaganda that surrounded Hitler during the Third Reich….”

    “Textbook example of propaganda,” October 26, 2008

    You’re kidding… right?, October 8, 2008

    “For somehow his journey had led him to Trinity Church, surrounded by the people from his neighborhood including many he had helped. And there, swept up in the waves of their singing with tears on his cheeks he knew why he was there. He knew who he was, and where he belonged.”

    Perfect… if your aim is early indoctrination of children. …”

    “Never thought I’d see something like this in America. There’s a picture in this book of BAM crying in Rev. Wright’s church. The book talks about how great Trinity is…”

  8. Alison says:

    Just got a chance to read this, Anna Belle. It’s wonderful to hear a voice of reason that is neither controlled by right-winged nor left-winged dogma. You are a free-thinker! Hope you are well:)

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