This story just screamed out for a post here. President Obama gave a speech today to schoolkids across the country to welcome them back and encourage them to stay in school, work hard, do their homework and play a little less X-Box. I fail to see any controversy in any of that, unless you work for Microsoft and take offense at the XBox bit. (Of course the X-Box was recently rated as the least reliable game console so you reap what you sow, there Redmond. )
Right wing talkers like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh protested the speech claiming that the President was going to indoctrinate kids with his communist, socialist propaganda (with a 30 minute speech? I thought he was from Kenya, not Dagobah.) while failing to point out that talking to school kids is a time-honored tradition among Presidents including Reagan, Bush, and we all know about Bush 43's "My Pet Goat" moment on 9/11/01. To be fair, though, the talking heads get paid by generating ratings and they do that by drumming up controversy. Well done, fellas - collect your paychecks while the country burns. And one more note: the Democrats protested Bush 41's speech after it happened though that didn't come within 1% of the fevered pitch of today.
What is even more galling, though, is the school districts that refused to show the speech and the parents who broke down in tears at the thought of the President of the United States speaking to beloved baby. Some protested, some kept their kids home from school. All are insane.
The President's speech was all about how hard work and staying in school was the best path to success. The text of the speech was released on Monday (a national holiday, mind you so there was ample time to read it) so claims of "I didn't know" are lies. How does keeping your kids at home set the right example? On top of that over the last few days those flaming liberals Laura Bush and Newt Gingrich (on Fox News, no less) released statements saying that it was a good speech that children should hear.
So with content and the matching carpets of politics and partisanship yanked out from under these fools what's left? I don't see anything other than garden variety, good old fashioned racism. These people are terrified that their world is changing, that the complexion of America is darkening and they're being left behind. Couple that with the fear being pounded into their brains by Fox News and you get a potent, tear-inducing combination.
Back to the talking heads and politicians for a moment, as they're fueling this for all they've got. Why? Because an uneducated populace is easier to spoon feed garbage like creationism; global warming skepticism; opposition to universal health care; tax cuts as a cure for all ills; the idea of small government meanwhile growing government faster than any previous administration (See Reagan and Bush 43). It has been shown time and again that an educated population is more interested in how we impact the rest of the world and our environment. An educated population is the GOP's worst nightmare. How else can you explain their opposition to science? Their dumbing down of political discourse? The shouting matches in town halls?
Of course the world does need check-out clerks, janitors and fry cooks. So go ahead parents, teach your kids it's ok to skip school, to avoid thoughts that don't fit into their narrow world-view, that challenges them or causes them to think. Follow Sarah Palin's example and teach them to quit when things aren't perfect.
The GOP is banking on stupid and sadly, it's paying dividends.
Absurd and extremely dangerous.