Thursday, September 10, 2009
This week, kids all over NH and the rest of the country were back in school, where I would have presumed we all want them to study, get good grades, and behave in a mannerly fashion. Fortunately, the right wing mainstream media showed me the error of my ways.
It all started with President Obama making a televised address to our nation’s school children. I learned from Glenn Beck that this was “unprecedented” in our history. In fact, Beck advised parents to keep their children home from school that day. This unprecedented speech was deemed so subversive, that children should not even be allowed to hear it. Meredith Jessup of Townhall.com called it “a massive abuse of government power.” Laura Ingraham of Fox News said that Obama’s intent to speak to children, “smacks of an underhanded attempt to influence these young people.” Monica Crowley of Fox said, “It’s something Chairman Mao would do!”
The superintendent of schools in SAU 56 in Strafford County chose to ban the speech from schools in that district. Some schools in Manchester chose not to broadcast the speech. Parents were hysterically calling school superintendents across the state, paralyzed with fear that their children might be exposed to this frightening speech – and the even more frightening suggested follow up activity. Not only did Obama (who we know isn’t really the president because he was actually born in Kenya) want to give a speech, he wanted to encourage the kids to write themselves letters with ideas about how they could help him. He wanted them to…think. What could be more frightening?
It’s a good thing I paid attention to the mainstream right wing media. Otherwise, I might have found President Obama’s speech to be rather typical of what anyone might say to kids at the beginning of the year. I wouldn’t have known that telling kids to study, get good grades, and use good manners was actually deeply subversive. I would not have known that suggesting kids wash their hands a lot and stay home if they’re sick during flu season was actually a secret code leading to socialist indoctrination. Luckily, Michelle Malkin, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, and everyone at Fox News showed me the truth and the light.
Okay – time to crawl out of the sar-chasm. Glenn Beck is a lying sack of dirt. A cursory Google search would have revealed that a televised presidential address to schoolchildren is hardly “unprecedented.” I’m betting that when St. Ronnie Reagan and George H.W. Bush did it, no one was comparing them to Chairman Mao, or accusing them of attempting to indoctrinate our children. I’m betting that no one in the media suggested to parents that they should keep their kids home from school that day rather than listen to the president. It was heartening to read that most parents in our area did not succumb to the kind of hysteria generated by the media.
It was disheartening, however, that not a single one of our NH Republicans spoke out against this fear mongering. Where was Judd Gregg? Where were our local Republican Party leaders? They all told us it was our duty to respect the last president, yet they are strangely silent when it comes to this one. Not a one of them has spoken up to say that those who believe Obama is not a US citizen are crazy people. Not a one of them has spoken out against the constant, idiotic labeling of Obama as a “socialist.” Not a one of them has spoken out against the disrupting of town hall meetings, the lack of civility, or the outright racism inherent in all of this. Let’s not bury our heads in the sand, people. The constant drone about Obama’s otherness has everything to do with his race. No one would have accused Clinton of “socialist indoctrination.” For all of his faults, Clinton at least had the right skin tone for the US presidency.
We all like to decry the political divide that has been carefully fed and nurtured in this country – yet here we have parents who are teaching their children that only white Republican presidents should be respected. They are teaching divisiveness, fear, and prejudice to their kids, who will grow up and pass that kind of anger and bigotry to the next generation.
Why was the right so fearful of Obama’s speech to kids? One can only conclude that encouraging kids to study, get good grades, and have good manners might cut down on the number of future registered Republicans.
The 12th annual Climb Against Cancer will be taking place on September 19th, at Cranmore Mountain. This is the yearly fundraiser for the local group known as Jen’s Friends, a group that helps valley residents as they battle cancer. There is still time to register as a hiker, be a sponsor, or donate money to the group – all of which can be done at www.jensfriends.org . I hope you never find yourself opening an envelope with a gift card for gas in it, and find yourself sobbing in relief, knowing you’ll be able to afford to drive to Maine for radiation treatments. In fact, I hope you never have to learn firsthand what a great organization this is.
Sign up. Raise some money, go for a hike – and know that this will help folks in our community who are fighting for their lives.
The reprehensible, racist picture of President Obama is being given space to counter all those who will attempt to tell me that all this has nothing to do with racism. Horse hockey. It's ALL about racism.
© s bruce 2009
This was published in the Conway Daily Sun on Sept. 11, 2009, as an op-ed.
Posted by susanthe at 9:40 PM