A MinD in MoTown

Build a bridge and get over it.
September 3, 2009, 7:12 pm
Filed under: Getting my RANT on, MoTown, Too liberal for the Bible belt

I tend to shy away from commenting on things happening in my own town because, as a journalist, I’m not supposed to have a public opinion. However, an issue has recently erupted that I cannot ignore on this blog or otherwise.

Several parents in the school district I regularly report on for the newspaper are up in arms today, but it’s not because of banned books or inappropriate teacher relations or even student misbehavior. Rather, it’s because the school district made a decision to air a national address from President Barack Obama this upcoming Tuesday; a speech that plans to discuss student achievement, working hard, staying in school and the student’s responsibility for his or her own learning.

He’s not ranting about health care or the war in Iraq. He’s not challenging children to think about adult problems such as unemployment or the economic crisis. He’s talking about education, something that daily affects every child in the nation. Yet some parents have complained to the school district about its decision to broadcast this national address for all students in grades three through 12.

And because of those few parents, the district has decided to allow all parents to choose whether or not their children watch the President’s remarks.

Now, let me start by saying I understand the school district’s cooperation with these parents in providing that option since so many parents seem perturbed about this broadcast. It’s the parents – the ones across the country who are furious about this school presidential address – I have an issue with.

While I have little to no idea why these parents have so uproariously refused to allow their children to watch Obama’s statements, I can only assume that it’s ignorance causing and creating their judgment. Perhaps these parents voted for John McCain in November and remain bitter that their candidate lost the election. Or maybe it’s because this is still the south and despite all hopes for equality, a rift – to some extent – remains between blacks and whites when it comes to personal perception. Or it could even be that these particular parents have something against Obama’s religion. But whatever the reason – and I assume it’s the first – this is a man discussing education and its importance, and yet ignorance prevails to the point where these innocent children miss out.

This is the President of the United States and regardless of someone’s personal opinions regarding his political party, his race, his religion, etc., we as a country need to come together and support him as our leader. That office commands respect. How many of us, after all, weren’t proponents of George W. Bush, but would have never in our wildest dreams thought of disregarding his position as commander in chief so callously? It’s one thing to catch a bit of flack from your critics for whatever reason. It’s quite another to defiantly challenge the president’s authority and standing in this nation.

And to make matters worse, the same kind of complacent ignorance is being taught to their children through these actions. As a person whose political opinions greatly differ those of my parents, being allowed to formulate my own stance without the pressure and coercion of my parents truly helped shape who I am as an adult. Imagine all these kids, forced to sit in another room as the majority of their fellow students watch this address. How much are they losing by this seclusion, by this blatant disregard for our president’s statements concerning education? These kids aren’t being taught to think for themselves; they’re being taught to mimic their parents and follow in the same footsteps as those before them.

It’s disheartening, to say the least.

I feel sorry for these children who won’t get to listen to their president this Tuesday. I truly do. And I’m equally appalled by their parents actions regarding this particular address. It’s a complete shame that ignorance has triumphed and caused a certain course of action by the school district to handle these individuals’ views on something as simple as a speech on education.

I vow this very moment to never, ever be this kind of parent. My future children deserve better.

17 Comments so far
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[…] President of the United States, you can’t just vote “present.” You must make decisions. Build a bridge and get over it. – amindinmotown.wordpress.com 09/03/2009 I tend to shy away from commenting on things happening in […]

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Wow. I had no idea this was going on.

I have no words. Ok, actually I have A LOT but this kind of ignorance makes my blood pressure rise and I just don’t have the energy to go there tonight.


It really is unbelievable. And so very disappointing, too.

Comment by thatShortChick

Wow, that’s absolutely crazy. I wouldn’t be able to keep my mouth shut either.

I tried to, I did, but it got the better of me.

Comment by Jill Pilgrim

It bothers me that people can be so closed minded that they’re not even willing to hear what the other side has to say. And about something relatively non-controversial! I think these people are a very vocal minority, though.

From what I saw on the news last night and read online late yesterday afternoon, the parents in this region aren’t the only ones fighting against this broadcast. I’m sure, in general, it’s a minority of people. However, if it’s truly spread across the nation, that’s just unfortunate.

Comment by Ashley

Wow. That’s absolutely NUTS. And it sounds like something that would happen in my town. In fact, I’m surprised it hasn’t because people down here? Ridiculously conservative.

You have until Tuesday to find out if it does happen there. From all indications, here isn’t the only place this is occurring.

Comment by E.P.

I can’t believe people can be that ignorant and a bit childish just because they can’t accept today’s president? What a stupid bunch.

Agreed. It’s childish, for sure. And who loses out? Kids. I wish these parents could realize that.

Comment by Andhari


Concisely put.

Comment by TOPolk

That is crazy! I mean if he’s just talking about education, it’s not like you need to cover your children’s ears!!

People are weird, and a lot of times unintelligent, and it’s very annoying.

I did not vote for Obama, but I wouldn’t pull my kids out of school to keep them from hearing what he has to say. In fact, it would be something I would use to talk to my kids and see what they think, and what it meant to them.

Oh well…people are gonna be ignorant and unfortuantely, there’s nothign we can do about it.

There truly is nothing we can do about this kind of ignorance. I guess all we can do is hope that people change and mature. If he were discussing something controversial, I could easily see the parents’ point of view. But education? Children need to be reminded how vital a good education is to their future and really, who better than the president to say that?

Comment by Gen

If these parents are just fearful of what their children are watching, plan on watching it first in order to evaluate and THEN share it with their children, then I think it’s a great idea. Kids are very impressionable and sometimes things should be censored just in case. BUT it that is not the case and they just don’t want their kids to see it period, then that is ridiculous.

I can’t help but wonder if these parents also censor their children from violent video games, sex in movies, etc. Or are they just keeping the president’s remarks hidden? I’d be curious to find out.

Comment by Dutchess of Kickball

I don’t think it really matters what the President is talking about. I think it’s important to get the younger generations involved in thinking about current events and politics. Provide a forum for them to talk openly about their views on it. Provide some sort of basic understanding of how to interpret and understand things of this nature.

I’ve always been sort of jealous of my friends who can follow current events and politics to eloquently… I don’t think everyone needs to be active in the politics, but to be able to understand what’s going on is key.

Agreed, I don’t want to be that type of parent either.

These kids will have to grow up and learn about politics to some extent, and unfortunately all they have right now is their parents guiding those decisions and views. It shouldn’t matter what the president says. You’re right. Kids should be able to watch it and, from his remarks, create their own judgments.

Comment by Erini CS

There are some out there who have issues with trust and our president. And they didn’t like the idea of their children hearing straight from the president w/o first hearing it themselves.

I’m just not sure a direct line to our students was the best way to go about this. Why not make the speech, put it online, then let parents watch it first? If it’s just your basic stay in school, go to college kind of speech, and parents saw it first, this wouldn’t be an issue.

Children are VERY impressionable. Something my brothers teacher might say could single handedly change some of his habits. He stopped eating chicken for a month once, another time he read the sugar content on labels and started drinking diet everything.

Either way, I can understand parents wanting to watch it first.

That would make sense, but they were all told it was just about education. However, they still believed the president held a hidden agenda for the speech. Now, I’m sorry, but that’s a bit much. Sure, children are impressionable. I stopped eating eggs for years when I realized what they really were… But regardless, what reason does the president have for yapping about health care and other political issues to kids who can’t even vote?

Comment by Patrick

I am so angry at this, I really am. I recently got into a heated argument with my grandfather (super conservative) when he showed me a letter about how Obama “scares” him a businessman had written. When Bush was in office, I hated the Bush-bashers. Like it or not, he was our president. And we need to respect him as a president. No, you don’t have to like everything he says. No, you don’t have to like everything he does. No, you do not have to agree with him. But you do need to respect him.

So now it really, really irks me how former Bush-lovers thinks it’s A-OK to bash Obama. I see it so much now that it makes me so angry.

All these parents are teaching their kids is intolerance, plain and simple. THEY don’t like the president, so their kids now have to suffer. He’s talking about EDUCATION! It’s something these students probably need to hear. It’s not something political or controversial.

I just think it’s wrong. And I agree, I do not want to become this type of parent either.

You’re so right. It’s the same people who loyally defended Bush, looking down on those who bashed him, that are now acting against Obama, and that’s a shame. But unfortunately, it looks like this year’s losers – Republicans – are far more bitter, blaming Obama and Clinton for everything wrong in our country rather than taking a look at the man they defended. It’s one thing to bash the president, but it’s another to overlook the troubles a man you supported aided as well.

Comment by Stephany

If you trust your child in the hands of a fresh-out-of-college 22 year-old to educate your child, then why should parents have to first see what the president has to say? He knows a hell of a lot more about education than does a Bachelor of Arts.


I remember when I was in school and President Reagan or Bush made a speech, we all got excited about getting to watch it. I guess when the president is republican, it’s okay to let your kids listen, but when a democrat is in office – god forbid. I remember similar happenings when President Clinton addressed the nation – hearing about how they don’t want their kids being influenced by him. Granted, he was in the midst of a sex scandal, but same parents…different decade.

It’s great to wholeheartedly support your political party, whatever it may be. But this is a circumstance where support is being pushed a bit too far. As a child though, you’re more likely to be excited simply to watch the president than to care about what he is actually saying. How many kids will really walk away from today’s speech with something? That’s uncertain. But what exactly is wrong with kids being consistently encouraged to work hard and stay in school? Absolutely nothing. I wish parents, regardless of political stance, would see that.

Comment by Justin (Oats)

that is absolutely BOGUS!!! it’s interesting because i just read that speech today:
if you’re interested.

the speech if completely benign and encouraging and sort of reminds me of that ‘wear your sunscreen’ song. if it’s the “messenger” you dislike or don’t agree with, tough cookies because the MESSAGE is nothing short of inspiring.

Thanks for the link. I heard the speech was posted online yesterday, but I had yet to see it. I’ll definitely read it right now though.

Comment by floreta

I think it’s good for the parents to have the option (they should always be the ones in charge of their own children’s education), but I agree that most parents who are opting out are doing so out of ignorance. The mere fact that they were opting out prior to the opportunity to read the speech points to that. I don’t generally agree with Obama, but I think this is a great thing and I’m bummed that many schools here are not showing it.

My post on the issue is here: http://ignoranthistorian.com/2009/09/parents-and-the-president/

I just marked my entire Reader as read, so I’ll have to check that post out (thanks for flagging me on it). The parents should have an option, sure, but I cannot believe so many would utilize it. Very discouraging.

Comment by Ronnica

I’m glad the school gave the option, it shows that you respect families and their choices for their child. However, the president is talking to them about their education and wanting them to do well. I don’t understand why any parent want to keep their child from that kind of motivation. Besides, he’s our president – whether you like him or not.

Motivating is exactly what that speech was. It’s shocking that parents wouldn’t want their children to be encouraged to do well in school, of all things.

Comment by Melissa

That’s all I can reeealllly muster to say.

Comment by Felicia

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