Friday, September 04, 2009

The President Speaks

I am not a very political person. The state of politics in our country these days makes me sad and anxious, and there are too many other things in my life to deal with day to day to worry any more.

But I feel compelled to write about the President speaking to our school children next week. This came up on my radar earlier this week, and after reading the "lesson plan" that the DOE suggested, I was against it. Questions like these:
What specific job is he asking me to do?
Is he asking anything of anyone else?
make me wonder what his intent is going to be. But I am not content with just one side of the story, so I did some research. And I still had concerns.

The next day, the questions/lesson plans had been updated, and a transcript was offered so parents could read and speak to their children about the speech. People are still warring, calling for schools to ban the video, blaming teachers for promoting "Obama's socialists ideals." Hello over-dramatics.

And this whole incident demonstrates the low levels that we as a country have sunk. When I was in school, if the President of the United States was willing to speak to all students, we would have been in awe. My mom and I would have spoken about it, and we would have moved on. If there was name calling and such going on, I was blissfully unaware of it. But now, my children know. They know that some people think he is trying to turn us into a socialist state, and they know that some people hate him because he's black. They know that Sarah Palin was attacked about clothing choices, and that she's cute. They understand that people oppose the war, and that many Americans thought Obama would save us all.

But a lot of that information comes in the form of sensationalism. Name calling, finger pointing, mudslinging. These are the things my children see in politics. It's hard to teach your children to live the Golden Rule (do unto others...) when the people they see and hear on television aren't following that rule, especially the people we've elected to lead our country, state and city.

I struggle to truly understand what anyone is proposing these days.  We spend so much time trying to filter what all the talking heads spew out, trying to unspin the truth from the web.  You know how to convince me your plan works?  Use the KISS method.  Keep It Simple Stupid.  Bullet points, summary paragraphs, plain words, etc.  Provide me the basics.  Provide me places to go to ask questions, find answers, etc.  Get rid of the yelling, sensationalism, etc, and just let the plans speak for themselves.

How about we all take a deep breath. Let your child watch the President's speech. Then sit down with them that night, and discuss it with them. Share your views and thoughts about the comments. Tell them why you agree or disagree. Ask them for their opinions. They might suprise you with how insightful they are. After all, they are the future of our country, and I'm hoping that they find a way to stop the system of politics we have now, and learn to work together to make us the great Country we used to be, instead of the laughing stock we've become in the last 20 years, under both Democrat and Republican leaders.

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