Sunday, September 6, 2009

fear


I realize that I have been very quiet lately on our blog. What I have posted recently has been more of the safe "stuff." Every once in awhile, though, something comes up and I feel compelled to share my thoughts. So here goes...

Fear about President Obama has gripped our nation once again. Obviously, this is nothing new. In the past we had the false emails that were widely circulated claiming that Obama is a Muslim and even more recently we had the false claims about Obama's death panel. From the beginning of the election fear has been one of the main vehicles used against Obama. I have been able to dismiss most of the propaganda, but the latest incident has hit me hard. Our president decided to address school kids and encourage them to work hard and stay in school. An outright attack against Obama ensued. I am having a very hard time understanding this one. What exactly is unhealthy and fearful about a president telling kids to stay in school? How did it come to this:

"The idea that school children across our nation will be forced to watch the President justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other President, is not only infuriating, but goes against beliefs of the majority of Americans, while bypassing American parents through an invasive abuse of power."
-Jim Greer, party chairman

When this is what will actually be shared:

The White House has said Obama will "urge students to take responsibility for their own education, to set goals, and to not only stay in school but make the most of it."

Again, false claims designed to scare Americans and undermine our president. I am being sincere when I say that I cannot see the harm in Obama's speech. Which leads me to believe that this has been made a political issue. People are against Obama's speech simply because he is Barack Obama and they don't like him. But, I'm not asking anyone to like Obama or his policies. What I'm asking is for people to leave politics at the door and allow our president to tell kids to stay in school without a huge uproar. There is no intent to brainwash or harm our children. I would not be offended if any past president (whether I voted for them or not) gave a speech to my children about staying in school. I would not be offended if John McCain gave such a speech either. Clearly, this is not about the speech, but the person giving it.

Furthermore, Barack Obama is the President of the United States. I believe that office still holds respect. Again, whether I voted for someone who is currently in office or not, I do respect their position and, therefore, them. As School Superintendient Ron Blocker stated, "Barack Obama is the President of the United States. Regardless of political persuasion, we should be responsible for teaching kids to respect the Office of President." We need to be very careful about the hatred and fear that we are spreading to the next generation.

This controversy also made me think through how I would react if I was concerned about Obama's speech. Our children attend public school and there will certainly be times when things are shown or shared that Blake and I do not agree with. That is actually part of why we love public school- we love the diversity of people, cultures, values, and political views. We are not going to hide our children from differing viewpoints. We believe that what we are teaching our children in our home makes them strong enough to decide for themselves what they believe or follow. For example, Riley's school held a mock election last year. We allowed Riley to research both candidates on her own and decide for herself who she wanted to vote for.

The intent of sharing my thoughts is not to offend anyone or bash a parent's decision. I simply believe that if we step back and remove politics and fear, then we will see that this is an innocuous speech. Hopefully even an inspiring one to some children who don't have hope that hard work and school will improve their future. I will leave with one last question that I stole from this post:

"If you're one of those people threatening to keep his or her kid home from school next Tuesday, ask yourself this: Who's really the one forcing a political agenda on their children?"

5 comments:

Adrienne said...

Thank you Sarah!
I want to help my daughter understand the issues of the day, but I want to teach her even more that she doesn't have to be AFRAID of the issues of the day.

We're called to love the lost and encourage unity among believers - not fight for our rights and hide from those who believe differently.

hilary said...

aMEN! that's all i can add to that very well written post. thanks :)

JTP said...

well said sarah! we were told by our superintendent NOT to have the TV on tomorrow- how crazy... I'm with you, what's all the uproar?

Colton's Journey said...

Well said is all I can say! I think it was said so beautiful I don't need to say anything else. Thank you!!!!!

alyssa said...

you go girl! (ha, haven't heard that phrase in a while). i totally agree. and i love the last quote.