LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 3 – November 2009



mail-box-full-colorDear Sir:

Recently, President Obama made a decision to give a speech to the children attending school in the USA.

Now, in my mind, this isn’t a political thing. This is leadership.  This is the President leading by speaking to the youth of our nation directly. He is including them, making them a part of the world around them. But for some reason, that is not the way some people took it.

The media blitz prior to the speech made me wonder, “What the heck is going on in the United States?  Have people lost their minds?” CNN had news reports that showed one woman in tears. “We are talking about my children!” She wept.  In another interview, two parents said that their children were being subjected to “propaganda” and were being “brainwashed.” Many parents swore they were keeping their children home from school—that they would not allow their children to be “subjected” to the President’s message.

Why do they assume the worst?  What is there thinking? Are they thinking at all?

In my time, which was the 50s and 60s, we were taught to listen to the speeches and give our opinions.  Yes, even in those times, we were taught to respect our elected officials, and allow them to speak, allow them to present their views. Then, if we had questions, or disagreed, we spoke to our representatives, or wrote letters. Occasionally we even protested. But by in large, we at least let them get their message out before we disagreed with them.

A President addressing the children of the Nation is not new.  George H.W. Bush was the most recent President to address the children in 1991, and Reagan talked to them via C-SPAN in 1988. And yes, then, too, political talking heads announced the opposing parties concerns, but nothing to the same degree as President Obama’s speech approached.  Some schools didn’t carry the speech; others delayed the broadcast so that the teachers could view it for themselves first. There was such a hullabaloo about the speech that the White House released the text on its website a day in advance for all to preview.

It’s such a shame that those parents who were so sure they were going to disagree with what the President would say, or thought that he would say something harmful, didn’t try to use the speech as a learning tool with their children. Talk about the speech, talk about what they agreed and disagreed with, discuss the talking points. What a wonderful opportunity to communicate with your child, to discover your child’s point of view. But instead, they decided against fairness and open-mindedness. They kept their children home.

The speech itself was anti-climatic.  It was 2472 words long, taking about 15-20 minutes of time.  It was designed to motivate students to do their part in achieving their educational goals. President Obama talked about the importance of staying in school, completing homework assignments, working through tough times to achieve goals, and inspiring students to become whatever they wanted to become through attending to their own education. He also told them to wash their hands a lot and stay home if they felt sick during the flu season. Now isn’t that just totally radical liberal rhetoric?

And could someone please explain to me: What is so horrible about having a child listen to that?
Victoria Schmidt


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Ojo Del Lago
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