Posted by : Sherri Cornelius Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I hope everyone had a relaxing holiday weekend. The hubs is off one more day, but the kids have gone back to school, which means we have some time alone as a couple. It's such an unusual prospect I can't think of a single thing we could do together without kids that we can't do with them. Maybe we can go to the art museum. Spent a couple of days migrainey. The sinuses are still prickly, but I feel better now. DH discovered Facebook and we spent the weekend playing Farmville together. It's nice that he's finally taking an interest in my activities.

I didn't get much of my own writing done because of the migraine. I used the lucid times to get some editing done for the Eternal Press stories. I don't know if I'm very good at juggling two stories at once, but I can already tell it's going to be a good lesson. It's so rewarding to get the manuscript back from the author after the first round of edits, the hardest part. Seeing it so much cleaner than it was when we started is awesome.

Something else I've been thinking about is this uproar over the presidential address to the schools. I never get political on here, mostly because I'm on the fence about all the issues and I know my limitations. I affiliate with no party. But why is everyone being so unreasonable about this? I understand how a parent might worry a politician might try to indoctrinate the young'uns to his ideas, and how that parent might wish to look over the speech before it is delivered. The way some folks have reacted to the very idea of that speech, text unseen, is ... I'm just flabbergasted. He won't have hypnotic lasers beaming directly into our children's brains. It's, what--20 minutes out of their day? When the kids come home from school, I'll ask them if they saw the speech, and what they thought of it, and address any questions they have--if they're even showing it at our school, I haven't asked. What happened to calm reason? Waiting to find out the facts before freaking? Or has that always been a quality in the minority?

I invite your comments and discussion on this issue, 'cuz I know you will. All I ask, since I have readers on both sides of the fence, is to keep the snark to a minimum. Snark reflects worse on the snarker than the snarkee, and solves nothing. Calm reason, please.

{ 16 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. The Denver Post acquired and printed the entire text of the speech last night. I read it and honestly didn't find anything in there that even the staunchest conservative parent could find in there to argue with. The gist of the entire message is "stay in school, work hard, because it's for your future and the future of your country."

    Anyone against that message ought to have their heads examined. Come on, isn't that as parents what we all want for our children?

  2. I don't think anyone is against that message, but those who freaked out at the beginning were freaking out without hearing what the message would be. I think are probably a lot of embarrassed freakers now.

  3. I'd have kept my kids out of school today if they weren't already homeschooled. For a couple of reasons.

    First, my kids don't vote, and don't need any kind of political address at school. That's not what school is for. There is nothing remotely educational in the speech of a man who uses the word "I" 56 times and "America" only 4.

    Second, it's not a politician's place to tell my kids what to do, that's MY job, period. My kids aren't there for "the country." The government is supposed to work for the people, NOT the other way around.

    Third, "reaching out to the youth" is a tactic that was much employed by Hitler and other socialist and communist dictators - and our kids don't vote.

    Lastly, it's the whole "your kids WILL listen to Obama, whether anyone likes it or not." It's one thing if a president has been invited to speak at a school, it's something else entirely when a president says, "I'm taking over your school for part of the day," and does this on a national level.

    If Democrats wanted to have a hissy fit when Bush spoke to students back in '91, then by what reason do they now think it's okay for Obama to do something they themselves decried?

    No thanks.

  4. I think people have gone insane. It's the president talking to children (of which he has two) about our nation. Last time I checked, it wasn't a child molester or a drug addict or murderer, or a rap star or an athlete giving a speech, but THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, a man who holds the highest honor in this country.

    I don't know what the fuss is all about other than a bunch of jerks trying to create a panic. Shut up and let the president talk!

  5. See now, it's this kind of stuff right here that makes me identify myself as an independent. As soon as people see a D or an R next to a politician's name they immediately decide a whole host of things about that person without ever having bothered to learn a single thing about them beyond his or her political affiliation. When Democrats protested Bush's address to students, they were embarrassingly reactionary and vitriolic about it, and Republicans are being every bit as embarrassingly reactionary and vitriolic about Obama's address.

    Watching the speech was not decreed mandatory by the president or any part of the federal government. Some school districts decided to make it mandatory for their students to watch it, and some others decided to ban teachers from allowing students to watch it. As both groups are being needlessly totalitarian about the speech, I'd say both are in the wrong here. Those districts could have avoided a whole lot of anger if they'd just left the decision up to individual teachers to decide whether or not to show it, or if they'd let students' parents or the students themselves decide whether or not to view it.

    And this is a bit off-topic, but I've got a question for Darcsfalcon. Could you explain to me the validity of comparing Obama to Hitler? I'm not trying to pick a fight, I'm honestly curious.

  6. I knew some liberals who compared Bush to Hitler. I thought that was insane and I wouldn't compare anyone to Hitler. Any time you bring Hitler into an argument... well, I like everyone here and don't want to argue about it. But I wouldn't and don't think I did vote for a Hitler.

    Our school district had a leave it up to the teacher. You could write a note if you had a particular wish that might be different than what your kid's teacher decided. I wrote a note asking my child listen. My tax dollars pay for the school so it isn't like it is a government free zone.

    I don't think we ever get anywhere with democrats and republicans tossing the you-did-this line back and forth. Both sides do it. But to me it is like two siblings always saying mom-let-you blah blah blah... Like I tell my students--stop worrying about what your classmate is doing and worry about yourself.

    It distracts from the issue. Certainly every citizen should consider how we let leaders talk to children. I don't want a cult of personality. At the same time, children ought to know that their government can take a healthy supportive interest in them. When I was a teenager I thought the government could give a damn about me. What did the President care if I failed? So any President--on either side--should be able to express an interest in how the next generation is doing. Do we need to be careful about it? Sure. But I try to consider how I would feel if it were the other guy doing the same thing.

    So, if it were McCain wanting to have this chat, how would I feel? More cautious because I didn't vote for the man, but still supportive of my kid hearing what the man has to say.

    And while it would be great if things were left up to the parents, too many parents say nothing to their kids at all. This speech may the first adult some kids have had to say anything like this to them. My kid is going to get an earful from me. But too many kids don't have anyone. Maybe this reached one of those kids.

    What really makes me sad is how hateful both sides can be to one another. I didn't agree with George Bush, but I remind myself that he did care about this country. That he believed he was doing the right thing. The fear mongering going on about Obama just amazes and saddens me. It is like the talking heads on tv would rather get more ratings and say the cleverest snidest thing than actually be helpful. Which is why I don't watch any of them--no FOX, no CNN, no MSNBC. I can't stand any of them.

    This is getting rather long, but oh it is a subject near and dear to my heart!

  7. Sure M, it's because of things like this:

    and this:

    This is a man who is regularly defying the Constitution, refusing to even release his own birth certificate and education records. His mentors and friends were/are self avowed communists and this isn't someone I want spreading any kind of message to my children. Let's not forget the original speech to the kids today included post-speech materials in which the students were to write an essay telling how they could "help the president." Not be better students, learn more, help their friends even - it was how they could help Obama. Obama seems to have forgotten that he is supposed to be OUR servant, not the other way around.

    Does that answer your question?

  8. After doing some digging and taking a look at the full text of HR 1388, I'm afraid I don't share your concerns. Public service has been a mandatory graduation requirement at many public schools in the U.S. for years, and a Hitler Youth movement has yet to arise from any of them. Besides, for anything like a Hitler Youth movement to come about there has to be a Hitler in power, and Obama simply isn't Hitler. You know who else wasn't Hitler? George W. Bush. Clinton wasn't Hitler either, and neither was Bush Sr., Reagen, Carter, Cheney, or anyone else who's been targeted with that comparison. There's only ever been one person directly comparable to Hitler, and that was Hitler; everyone else falls short by several million victims.

    Quite frankly, accusations of someone being just like Hitler and the Nazis are thrown around far too freely these days. Obama has no Beer Hall Putsch, no fascist thugs, no dictatorial powers, no Mein Kampf, no aspirations of global domination, no genocidal schemes, and no starving desparate populace to control through fiery rhetoric and intimidation. He's just another president in a long line of presidents and, just like all the others who have held the office before him, his legacy will be judged based on whether he helped the country more than he hurt it. There's nothing more sinister to the man than that.

    Also, Obama did release his birth certificate. You can see a scan of it here:
    I've seen some people try to prove it's a fake by pointing out the lack of an official seal or signature. They are not visible in the scan because in the state of Hawaii both those items are placed on the back of the certificate, not the front.


    I'm reminded here of a letter to the editor I read years back that said Liberals shouldn't protest Bush's anti-gay marriage stance because the Defense of Marriage act was passed while Clinton was in office. I replied with a letter of my own explaining that anti-gay marriage sentiment was just a disgusting when it comes from a Democratic as it is from a Republican. It depresses me to no end when people choose to see the world solely in terms of political factions.

  9. Oh. My. God.

    Just wow.

  10. M,

    Perhaps you didn't fully read my original comment? I said, "“reaching out to the youth” is a tactic that was much employed by Hitler and other socialist and communist dictators".

    I didn't say that Obama was like Hitler, I said he used similar tactics, which is true. There is a world of difference in those statements. And I can think of a few dictators who killed more people than Hitler did.

    As to the birth certificate, what he slapped up on the web is not the actual Certificate of Live Birth. He has refused to release that. Not that it matters much, since he's not eligible to be president anyway, since his father was not a US citizen. The only way he could be eligible is if his real father is not in fact Barrack Obama Sr, but another man of US citizenship. The COLB would reveal that.

    As a parent, it is my right to educate my children in the manner I deem best, not the federal government's right. HR 1388 addresses not just public education but private as well, in addition to senior citizens. Whether you are comfortable with it or not doesn't make it Constitutionally valid. It reeks of violations to the 13th Amendment.

    As to all the other things you brought up, I'd be more than happy to discuss those with you either in email or my political blog. :)

  11. Fal, about the Hitler thing, surely you're not saying we as a nation shouldn't reach out to our youth. It's not the reaching out that was a problem with the Nazis, it was the motivation behind it. By comparing Obama's speech with Nazi tactics, you are implying that Obama's goals are the same as Hitler's. So my question is this: do you believe Obama wants be the dictator of America?

  12. What I have seen, read, and studied of this guy in the last 5 years, yes. Categorically, yes.

  13. Well all righty then, that helps me understand a little better why you're so vehement about him. Glad I asked. :)

  14. It seems to me that blocking access to certain sources of information (like, for example, refusing to let them see a speech by the President) is as much indoctrination as claiming the President is trying to do. I think a more enlightened parent would want to expose their children to a wide variety of viewpoints in order to better educate them about the world and how beliefs differ throughout its people. But then, I'm not afraid of letting my children think for themselves instead of telling them to blindly accept certain things as gospel. I believe by doing this I'm better preparing them for the future instead of hiding them from it.

  15. Your father has to be a citizen for you to be president? Really? ANd your mother being a citizen doesn't count for anything? Well, you don't have to like Obama. I hated George Bush. So, you know. That's the way it goes. But Obama wants to be a dictator? If that is how you want to see him, that's just sad to me. I'm sorry. I wish I could show you something of what I see in him.

    When I hear the talking heads on TV say that Obama has not released his birth certificate even though he has and his birth was reported in the paper at the time, I can't help but think you could take these people in a time machine and watch his mother give birth and they still wouldn't believe it. They don't want to believe. They can't. I can totally understand not agreeing with policies, but this birth certificate thing is beyond me.

    It makes me want to believe all the lies about George Bush because I can. And that would be fair, wouldn't it?

  16. In that case, the comparison is even more faulty. I'm pretty sure Hitler didn't confine himself to "work hard and stay in school" when he talked to German kids. And it doesn't really matter if other dictators were responsible for more deaths because none of them have become a universal symbol of pure demonic evil the way Hitler has, which is why comparing people to him (whether directly or indirectly as you did) is so patently unfair.

    Look at the certificate I linked for you. What does it say across its top? If that isn't the document you're looking for, them I'm afraid what you're after doesn't exist for anyone born in the state of Hawaii.

    Also, parentage doesn't necessarily determine citizenship in the United States. What you're describing is jus sanguinis, which in this country only applies to people born outside the United States. If one or both parents are citizens, then the child born to them is an American citizen in the eyes of the law regardless of where he or she is born. There's no requirement that both have to be a citizen -- to believe otherwise is to misinterpret the citizenship clause of the fourteenth amendment (which is exactly what the argument about his father's citizenship is based upon).

    If the child is born within the borders of the U.S. (and Hawaii is part of the U.S., so this is applicable here), then both parents could be foreign nationals and the child would still be a natural born citizens by virtue of being born in this country. The legal precedent for this was set over a hundred years ago in United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898). Criticize the guy's policies all you want, but his citizenship is unimpeachable.

    I'm all for regulation of private education, actually. As it stands now, there are virtually no rules for private schools. You don't even have to have a teaching certificate to teach in one. The point isn't to tell people what to teach, it's to ensure the quality of what is being taught in order to make sure the students receive a proper education. If you want to educate your kids the way that you and you alone see fit, there's an option for that: home schooling. Quite frankly, if you're going to interpret the involuntary servitude clause of the thirteenth amendment as broadly as you are, then the requirement that all children in the U.S. go to a school of some sort (public, private, or home) would run afoul of it.

    As for your offer to continue the conversation elsewhere, I'm afraid I'm going to have to decline. The conversation began here, and there's no reason to move it if neither of us is resorting to personal attacks.


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