Hide the Children 2

The President of the United States addressed the schoolchildren of America this morning with a message of encouragement to take their education seriously, apply themselves, work hard, listen to their teachers and parents and pursue their dreams for their own good and the good of our nation.  Well, he didn’t actually address all of the nation’s schoolchildren.  Officials at some schools, in response to parental concern, opposition and even outrage, elected to not make the address available.  Other children did not hear the address because their parents (if they followed through with their stated intentions) kept their kids at home today or had them participate in an alternative activity during the President’s speech.

I must admit that I have experienced a huge amount of disbelief over this whole controversy.  As I expressed in a comment on a friend’s blog last week (http://bobbyrossjr.com), it was as if some parents believed that in the span of a brief speech President Obama could use mass hypnosis to brainwash and corrupt millions of U.S. children and instantaneously erase years of moral and ethical training provided by their parents and their churches.  Would he irreparably influence them to become socialists, communists or, even worse, Democrats?  Over the last week, I have heard people compare Obama’s planned address to the propaganda and indoctrination tactics of Hitler, Stalin and Mao Tse-tung.  Seriously?  I mean…seriously?

As a Christian, it concerns me to see fellow believers respond with such reactionary, politically-induced fear.  As an American, it concerns me that our nation has become so politically polarized and the Office of the President so diminished that “party” trumps patriotism with such ease.  I know that there is plenty of blame for this to be laid at both ends of the political spectrum, but it saddens me, nonetheless. 

In March of last year, on the day before the Democratic Primary in Texas, then Illinois Senator Obama spoke at my daughter’s high school in Carrollton.  She and I attended the speech together, and we were both impressed with his oratorical skills, command of the issues and the way in which he handled questions from parents and students.  So, did this hour-long exposure to the future President re-program Hannah into some kind of apologist for all causes left and liberal?  Hardly!  A few weeks ago, she attended town hall meetings in Denton and Gainesville, Texas, to protest “Obama-Care.”  She even made her own spiffy protest signs!

As I mentioned in my comment on Bobby & Tamie’s blog, if you have children in public schools, they see, hear and experience numerous things on a daily basis that should cause significant parental concern.   The President’s speech on education would not make my Top Ten.