Yesterday, I wrote a post at my blog that was something of a rant about the right wing's campaign to keep kids home from school on September 8 when the President is scheduled to broadcast a web event to talk with them the importance of education, working hard and staying in school.
Brainwashing! Indoctrination! Filling our children's heads with lies! The invectives came fast and furious from the ultra-conservatives with the announcement of the school-time speech and some schools are actually going to ban the talk.
It seems pretty innocuous to me, nothwithstanding all the fear that some are trying to generate about a supposed plot by the President to use this talk to turn our children into liberal converts.
Really? Do people actually think this is part of an EE-vil plan? I'm sure that those who are behind this effort to take their children to the zoo instead of sending them to school know better, but they want to use this as another way to create more fear about Barack Obama.
I'm not the only shaking my head in disgust over the faux tumult. As Julie Pippert points out at MOMocrats blog, there was no similar outcry by progressives when George W. Bush spoke to our school children about guns and drugs. I'm with Julie on this point -- why this outcry? Why now?:
I'm also not comprehending why people are so outraged and concerned about the President addressing kids about committing to education. Of all the benign and potentially useful messages, this rates pretty high. I'm a lot less concerned about the possible messages here, than say the strange messages my kids have come home from school with about sex, drugs, music and religion (yes at public school). I'm also well-prepared to discuss this with them. I've read through the letter from the US Department of Education about this, and scanned the suggested classroom activities and discussion points.
For the first time, I've got a heads-up about a message being delivered to my kids as well as potential activities and discussions they'll have about it.
I feel more and better informed than EVER BEFORE. I feel more a part of this than EVER BEFORE.
Cynematic, also at MOMocrats, raises an important aspect of this debate -- this isn't just a boycott over a difference of opinion. This call for a right wing day of truancy is costing us all money, money that our schools can't afford to lose:
But this is why the boycott has me steamed: my kid goes to a public school in California. Like many other states, our state's budget is stretched thin. Public school dollars are based on attendance. In our case, when a kid's absent from school for sickness or any other reason, our school loses $47/day. Per student.
[I]f this boycott becomes widespread, it amounts to a one-day systematic de-funding of your public schools and mine.
That hurts your kids and mine.
Down to Earth Mama, a former public school teacher herself, says:
Conservatives stood up, crying foul. Several started a tea party movement to keep their children home on September 8th, calling it an indoctrination of youth into the socialist agenda. They are likening this to the recruiting of Nazi youth. They are complaining that Obama is subverting their authority as parents to sell his health care and big government plans, that he is recruiting them to be his army.
But I can argue, so what? So what if he talks about health care. So what if he talks about community organizing. So what? Are you so insecure enough in your influence over your own child that you are threatened? Do you not want your children to learn? Do you disagree with the pep talk? Because, in all honesty, I would use it, regardless of what I saw, regardless of who was giving the speech, a republican or democrat, as a learning opportunity.
If this is what right-wingers really believe, I'm scared. If, as I suspect, it's not what they really think and that they are the ones trying to brainwash the easily persuaded that Barack Obama is sending subliminal signals to our children, then isn't that as evil as they claim the President is trying to be?
When progressives tried to criticize George W. Bush, many in the GOP said we were being unpatriotic. But the Fox News crowd wants us to believe that their criticism toward Barack Obama is merely an effort to protect their children from mind-control.
My question to all parents is this -- when was the last time you were able to control the mind of your child of pretty much any age? If a speech about staying in school and working hard is propaganda, and it convinces even one child to keep on studying, then that's propaganda I can live with.
I'd like to think if I close my eyes and ignore these efforts they will go away when people realize the nonsensical extremism at work here.
But I know better than that.
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