The outrageous controversy sounding President Barack Obama’s plan to deliver a speech to American students demonstrates the lengths that some will go in an attempt to undermine his presidency. As a result of this craziness we may well in fact see kids sneaking behind their parents back to view the president’s speech.
Shanneen Barron of Highlands Ranch, CO is an example of those who believe the president’s speech is some sinister plot to destroy America. In an emotional interview with a Denver television station she literally shed tears as she said:
“Thinking about my kids in school having to listen to that just really upsets me. I’m an American. They are Americans, and I don’t feel that’s OK. I feel very scared to be in this country with our leadership right now.”
Barron is concerned that President Obama will use this an opportunity to promote socialism and attempt to indoctrinate her children.
Where on earth would she get a crazy idea like that? One source might be Jim Greer, chairman of the Florida Republican Party, who is one of many conservative voices who sounded the alarm on the president’s speech in a number of media appearances last week.
Even as Greer whines about Obama bringing politics into the classroom, he has been called out as a hypocrite by the Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell, who reported that the GOP chairman is known to visit public school classrooms to espouse “Republican values.”
Greer and many other conservative voices, from bloggers to talk radio/cable TV hosts to GOP officials, are pushing a meme that President Obama is a threat to America and its values. Their dangerous rhetoric is an attempt to dehumanize the president and to paint him as an anti-American, Black radical socialist. While decent people dismiss this as foolish talk, a fringe element is emerging and growing in visibility.
Whether it’s disrupting Congressional town hall meetings on health care, showing up with guns to presidential events or forbidding children from hearing a president talk about the importance of hard work, responsibility and an education, this crowd is becoming increasingly unhinged and disturbingly hostile.
Many people, myself included, believe that while partisan politics may play a role in the backlash against the president, there is also a significant element of racism fueling the rage and disrespect that is targeted towards the president.
Obama is not being afforded the respect that a president should expect, he is being treated like a criminal. While presidents who trade arms for hostages or mislead this country in an effort to start a war are considered to be heroes, this president is being treated like a sexual predator who should not be allowed anywhere near children. Its absolutely disgusting and appalling.
Low information parents/voters like Barron claim to fear indoctrination, but there is also another danger that Obama’s speech presents to those who feel the need to protect their children from him and I would say that fear is legitimate. It is the fear that if their children see and hear Obama speak to them about education, inspire them to work hard and challenge them to contribute to society they might form their own ideas of this nation’s first African American president.
These children have been told he is an evil man who hates this country and is trying to destroy it (they have probably also been told he hates white folks as well). So the parents are correct to believe he will dismantle the incorrect characterization of him that they have painted.
There may be a couple of unintended consequences that those turning a simple presidential address to students into a controversial act may soon regret.
This speech has become “must see” TV and folks who normally would have either ignored it or just heard about it will now make point now make a point to watch it which means more people will hear Obama’s message and by responding irrationally to such an innocent event those who do so run the risk of marginalizing themselves.
A president seeking to inspire our nation’s students is something to be applauded, the campaign against his speech is something that needs to be condemned.