XXXIV. Parents Fearing Obama’s School Speech

To The Parents Who Kept Their Kids from Hearing the President’s Speech on Education:

One nation. During grade school, those were two words, among others I didn’t fully understand, that I remember repeating time and again. Not two partisans parties that couldn’t rally around the right causes, but one nation. That’s what America was meant to be, one nation.

Recalling the Pledge of Allegiance is one of the reasons I was drawn to the idea of President Obama speaking directly to America’s youth. It’s something that’s rarely done, a person of such stature speaking to so many young Americans, the same ones we want to be patriotic, with a vital message.

President Obama talks to our nation's youth.

President Obama talks to our nation's youth.

While we adults spend so much time bickering about birth certificates, we tend to forget that our youth — our nation’s future — is the most important part of this nation. We forget to remind them that for our nation to be better than it is, they must hold themselves accountable for their own actions and education, same as we adults must.

Accountability is learned, and fewer parents are teaching it in today’s America.

This hasn’t been lost on President Obama, which is why making the speech that he made makes perfect sense. Thus, I can’t understand what was so wrong with him giving this speech to America’s public school students about living up to their end of the bargain.

I’m still waiting for any of you to make any valid arguments as to why you didn’t want your children to listen to the president’s message for them. I haven’t heard one. You all should be smart enough to know that President Obama and those around him wouldn’t be foolish enough to speak to children with a partisan agenda. And that whole socialistic brain-washing indoctrination chatter is a load of fried baloney an American-born goat wouldn’t eat.

Look, I get that most of you are right-wingers and don’t necessarily care for our new president for whatever reason. I understand the political games that are being played because the GOP is at a severe disadvantage in American politics right now. But we’re one nation with one leader, and there’s no reason for you to not support said leader who is telling our children something you should be preaching to them anyway.

In a lot of ways, our country is in shambles because so many youngsters of past haven’t heard these messages with consistency from you, their parents. We’re paying for them all to go to school, and around 30 percent of them are failing us, failing this nation and failing themselves. It’s beyond time that they be held accountable for their lives, and what comes of them.

In an endearing, emphathetic manner, President Obama told the nation’s students that they, too, have a responbility to this nation. He told them that it’s about more than memorizing those words we say every day at the start of class during our youth. It’s about knowing what they mean and contributing to our society in a positive way so that this one nation can be better than it was the day before.

I just hope most of you adults who tuned your children out yesterday, tuned yourselves into the real message.

Sincerely,

Damon

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54 responses to “XXXIV. Parents Fearing Obama’s School Speech

  1. Good read. Very good read. You put this together without even going hard on the race card. Thumbs up and ish. Thumbs up.

  2. I agree whole-heartedly. I am all for criticizing our leaders, if criticism inspires them to greater productivity. Hell if we had been more critical, or more vocal with our criticisms, of the previous government (and Clinton’s government too if I’m being non-biased) then maybe we wouldn’t be in half the mess we are in now. But what I don’t get is people choosing sides before they even know what the sides are fighting for. President Obama’s speech was much needed given the current state of our nation. It was very poignant, one of the best speeches I ever read. So for people to completely disregard it just because they disagree with his politics, (or they think they disagree with what they think his politics are) is simply ludicrous. To all you right wingers out there constantly berating the president with insults and simply disagreeing just for the sake of disagreeing, stop and listen for a change. You might find out that you actually agree with the man.

    • @tjackson: It’s funny because this whole idea of accountability is supposed to be something right-wingers are about, right?

      It’s slightly confusing… *shrugs*

  3. Well, I’ve decided to thank the wingnuts for re-focusing me out of my post-election malaise. I’ll be far more vigilant in my support of President Obama. http://www.blacknbougie.com/2009/09/thank-you-wingnut-nation.html

    On a related note, my nieces and nephews heard him in school today and were excited and honored that the President was addressing them. Sad when kids are smarter than adults.

  4. Hey, y’all.

    @damon: Very good post. I agree completely. I read the transcript of his speech & then watched as he delivered it today. The students all seemed so excited to have him there. The informal round table he had prior to the speech afforded some of the kids some one on one time with him to ask questions; I thought this was a nice touch & added bonus.

    I thought it was a great pep talk. If the parents who were upset about his address being aired during class time in the schools would have taken the time to read the transcript which was made available prior to the address, maybe they wouldn’t have denied their children the opportunity to hear this. Maybe they would have realized that he was not telling the students anything different than most parents tell their children…stay in school, study more than you play, work hard, education is necessary for success regardless of what you plan to do with your life, etc.

    @OneChele: I enjoyed your post earlier today as well. Also, nicely written.

    • @shawnta: I feel like reading that transcript should be required reading for these students. It’s a good speech that speaks directly too them…

      It’s strange that no matter how obvious it is that this president gets the simple stuff, that people want to cause some sorta ruckus.

  5. One of the better letters you’ve written. I read the draft of the speech when they put it on the white house website this past weekend. It just bothers me that people were angry about this speech. Of all the things to be upset about, people are mad because Obama is trying to help kids better themselves? I put up a FB status that I’m instituting a new rule: No one is allowed to use the word socialist unless you can accurately define what it means. You’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) at how few people can actually do it.

  6. I heard some crazy stuff as time drew closer for this speech to be given. I mean CA-RAZY stuff. My favorite was probably the gentleman who said something like “Our kids hear what we say at home and then they have to go to school and listen to and like this man!”

    I’m so disappointed with Americans these days. A co-worker said, “I love my country, but some days I really don’t like the people in it…”

    There’s also the story of the TX county that didn’t air the President’s speech, but IS bussing their kids to hear former President Bush speak either later this week or next week. EXCUSE ME?! ARE YOU JOKING?! The cruel answer is, “No.”

    As I said on Twitter earlier today, the irony is that Obama’s message of “quit whining and do the work…” is a very Republican message. Is that not what they’ve been shouting to us for decades? Is that not a basis of capitalism? Work your way to the top?? Gosh, I don’t get it, I don’t get it. I’m getting more and more sad with every passing day, and more and more concerned that there’s no hope.

    Damon, I’m with Slim, kudos for not going in on the race card.

    • “the TX county that didn’t air the President’s speech, but IS bussing their kids to hear former President Bush speak either later this week or next week.”

      I saw this, and laughed hysterically for two minutes. Then I started shaking my head.

      “the irony is that Obama’s message of “quit whining and do the work…” is a very Republican message”

      I just said this. You’re back in my head. It doesn’t take you long, does it? lol.

  7. The thing that got me the most with this issue was the woman from Colorado who broke down crying on tv with her husband consoling her. She stated that when she thinks about her kid having to listen to ‘that stuff’ it upsets her, she choked up and then broke down.

    *Newsflash* our president is not looking to spread any information about his policies or his tactics of governing our nation. He was talking about nothing more and nothing less than EDUCATION! There is no need to cry and get upset about him speaking about EDUCATION! I know that Obama never acknowledges racism but it’s blatantly in front of us now folks. I GUARANTEE you that if this was a man with less melanin in his skin and no african ancestry giving this speech, we would have NEVER seen this type of reaction…smh and saying a prayer…

    • What’s most disappointing is that we know it’s race. MANY other WHITE presidents have done what Obama did. Both W, and H.W. spoke to children and so did Reagan (and he wanted to do away with the Dept of Education).

      Gosh I can’t stand how blatant this racism is and how nobody will (or is it can) say anything about it!

      I’m glad I didn’t see that woman, because I surely would’ve broken the TV.

  8. Just like the Armageddon that would befall us in the year 2000, the speech that was suppose to indoctrinate our youth. Now who was spreading the baseless lies…..hmm…..oh ya, “Fake News”. Is anyone real surprised? Too funny.

  9. Great letter.
    I live in an area in the south that has a lot of small-minded people in it and I saw an unsually high amount of kids yesterday that weren’t in school and I’m sure it was due to the fact that they were airing the speech.
    This really saddens me because kids, especially younger kids are shaped by the things that they see and hear at home. By protesting a message about staying is school and being responsible contributors to society what are these parents teaching their kids?

    • I hope that if I have kids, I have the good sense to raise them to make their own decisions based on the facts.

      I HATE hearing kids say “We hate the President…” because a)that’s absurd, show some respect and b)I know it’s what their parents are saying to them, without giving them facts to back it up. Heck, the kids are probably just over hearing what their parents say.

      Too often, people grow up believing one thing without ever knowing why. I hate seeing that, on any subject/in any realm.

    • very very good point Tam. the only thing these parents are teaching their churrin’ is to defy authority. it begins by the parents choosing to take their children out of class b/c they don’t like what they THINK will be said. now if the child decides to skip classes b/d they don’t like what the teacher says, who can the parents blame other than themselves? we all reap what we sow.

  10. Great article Damon. I wish I could respond but everyone has said already what I thought about it and I just don’t have the energy today to deal w/ that nonsense.

    Very good and kudos on avoiding taking a debit on that race card.

  11. I’m so frustrated with this particular issue that I don’t think I can put my thoughts into words without degenerating in to stark raving, cussing, insulting your dead grandma mad. I’m embarrassed to consider myself to be “conservative”. This whole issue is insane. I’ve read that “someone” saw the “original” tape and it was “just like Nazi propaganda.” I swear if I could punch fools through the internets I’d be in jail.

    • @Travis
      We’d be sharing a cell.

    • @travis: As you know it’s not every conservative, it’s just the uninformed, the ones who don’t have common sense and those who are scared to death the party is going to fall apart in the next few elections…. They’re taking the wrong approach to getting back into the game.

      This is Tyson biting Holyfield’s ear.

      • “They’re taking the wrong approach to getting back into the game.”

        Agreed.

        Well, they’re taking the wrong approach to getting back in this game in a legitimate way.

        But the crazy right wing has always been about “any means necessary…” (who has bets on how many of them have read The Autobiography of Malcolm X… at least the first half… and took notes). So if fear-mongering is what it takes (and that has ALWAYS been a trust method) then that’s what it takes.

        It’s so unfortunate because from an idealist’s standpoint, the conservatives have a legitimate platform… they just hate losing so bad, they don’t know how to appeal to people with some sense.

      • “This is Tyson biting Holyfield’s ear.”

        YOU’RE TOO MUCH, I’M DEAD!

  12. Well said Damon – if we could only get the far-left and the far-right to shut up once in a while, this country might actually accomplish meaningful change.

    • “the far-left and the far-right to shut up once in a while, this country might actually accomplish meaningful change.”

      I’ll co-sign on this statement for the rest of my life, I’m certain of this.

    • [in my Eddie Murphy “Coming to America” Voice”]

      Kyle, wat is dis Utopia you speak of? Have you seen it? A land where people discuss ideas vs. political parties? A land where the greater good wins out? Oh please show me where this land is. I want to go!

  13. And I’ll co-sign Damon’s statement.

  14. Damon, a little facetious constructive criticism.

    This letter should have been much shorter. Here are some suggestions. . . .

    To The Parents Who Kept Their Kids from Hearing the President’s Speech on Education:

    Suggestion 1: “Kill Yourself . . . . Heinously”, Sincerely Damon

    Suggestion 2: “You Stupid!”, Sincereley, Damon

    Suggestion 3: “Turn your child(ren) over to DCFS or a local foster home cause you obviously don’t have the tools necessary to raise a child.”, Sincerely, Damon.

    Suggestion 4: “You are the reason why abortion clinics are necessary”. Sincerely, Damon

    Just a few thoughts.

    Sincerely,

    Robert

  15. This is crazy. I’m probably closest to a Libertarian but have always voted Dem…and EVERY time I start inching toward Repubs their crazy base turns me off. They were making very good, valid points about healthcare that Pres Obama needs to address until Glenn Beck and the tin foil hat crowd started screaming about a birth certificate and now a speech. A speech?? Seriously, the President is giving a speech to kids as part of a master govt plot to brainwash kids so that they can implement their big government plan which is to control every detail of what Americans do and take away all of our freedoms so we can turn into Cuba and Russia. Riiiiight.

    And where were these people screaming about government control and loss of freedom when the Patriot Act got passed, where if you’re suspected of “terrorism” the government can wiretap you and search your home without a warrant. That sounds WAYYYYY scarier and more nefarious than a presidential speech to students about accountability.

    I want Glen Beck and Lou Dobbs to lead all of these nuts into a cave (wearing their tin foil hats now, so the government cannot read their thoughts) where they can wait for the impending Communist takeover far, far away from the rest of society…

  16. i must admit i thought this was gonna be monday’s letter yesterday, and when i saw the ft ball entry i was like, ‘don’t tell me he punked out!’…glad u didn’t 😀

    i’m saddened on many many levels about this, but i think the part that really leaves me spirit in sorrow is 2-fold: the lack of critical thinking that seems to penetrate from the top to the bottom of the folks loudly declaring they represent the republican party, and money michael steel and co. seemingly mute and M.I.A. on defending what exactly the true republican party stands for. the party is now ran by radio/tv personalities who know how sheepish their followers are. it’s just sad. it’s one thing to have beef w/mr. president, but to follow and make judgement without ANY evidence but one’s fear is just…..sad. all of this isn’t even racism anymore, it’s just ignorance. ignorance which grows into fear, and is manifested by some folk’s irrational and upredictable actions (guns @ townhalls, birthers, tea parties, etc.)

    • @nn: I wanted to wait until the speech was over before I went in… I read the text of it on Monday, but still wanted there to be no doubt. And I wanted to see some of the reaction as well.

      “the lack of critical thinking that seems to penetrate from the top to the bottom of the folks loudly declaring they represent the republican party.”

      This is strange because on so many fronts they seem to lack common sense. And on a few others, they have it. Idk.

  17. It calls for a repeated post…

    A WOMAN WAS STRAIGHT UP CRYING ON CNN BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T WANT HER CHILD BEING EXPOSED TO ‘THE STUFF’ THAT OBAMA WAS GOING TO SAY!

    WTF!!!???

    • yea, my homegirl just told me about this absent-mindedness. i tell ya, retard is so 90’s, but it seems to be makin’ a strong comeback nowadays.

  18. In my cough/snot-filled haze, I’ll try to be succinct.

    My main problem with this entire situation is that the people who are crying “Obama/Socialism” are the people who didn’t vote for him. They are in the minority. As a journalist, I was taught to give balance. All we’re getting is the crazies who boo hoo at the very thought of their children being told to stay in school by the most powerful man in the world. WTF! This is the equivilent of continuing to pay attention to your crazy aunt/uncle/cousin who refuses to shut up about whatever ramblings are going on in his head at Thanksgiving dinner. If we stop shining a continuing light on their absurdity, then all the logical points being made will be lost in the shadows.

    **crawls back under my cover of snot rags**

  19. “I’m still waiting for any of you to make any valid arguments as to why you didn’t want your children to listen to the president’s message for them. I haven’t heard one.”

    I haven’t either. In fact, a previously concerned Republican mother said she read the speech and thought it was a good one. Enough with the fear-based tactics! Folks need to get their facts right. Most of those folks complaining about his so-called partisan agenda didn’t even bother taking the time to listen to/read the speech (they couldn’t have if they’re still supporting their paraonid claims). And they’re supposedly SO concerned about their kids, right?

  20. “I’m still waiting for any of you to make any valid arguments as to why you didn’t want your children to listen to the president’s message for them. I haven’t heard one.”

    Here’s one: “Because we don’t want children to truly believe that you can be whatever you want to be if you work hard enough. Thoughts like that are only reserved for the children of the wealthy. Well…maybe not necessarily the ‘if you work hard enough’ part. But children of the wealthy can be whatever they want to be! Not our kids (since most of the beliefs I ride for don’t apply to us). I’d rather my children find that out when they graduate from college.”

    Or this: “We don’t want our chidren to see someone that looks like the President speak about education! That would pretty much destroy everything that we taught them. We want people that look like the President to speak about b*tches, blunts, forties, pimpin and palm trees. Somebody go find Plies for me.”

    Or how about this: “YEAH IT WAS A TRAGEDY…can you repeat the question?”

    • ‘We want people that look like the President to speak about b*tches, blunts, forties, pimpin and palm trees. Somebody go find Plies for me.”’

      ~~~~

      DEAD AGAIN…..

      • And you get the slow clap award… which is even slower than normal because I’m DYING LAUGHING.

        • @ASmith

          Girl, they want our prez to roll up in 20 inch rims on his Obama mobile, they want him to start using ignorant slang and ebonics and have fried chicken feasts in the white house. They want to catch him trying on a gold grill or something..they aren’t used to him just being a normal man or a man of his word and promoting education and school…no way…

          • I always told people that if the Republicans ever wanted to ruin him all they would have to do is pull a fire alarm in the White House while he’s sleep one night! He goes running out of the White House in his wifebeater, gym shorts and of course a wave cap (brotha has some crisp waves), that image would have frightened most independent voters lol.

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