Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Even professional wrestlers get along backstage...

I'm slightly peeved about something happening today...

President Barrack Obama addresses the school children in our nation in a broadcast meant exclusively for them. It is unprecedented in our history. But believe it or not, that's not what has me chapped today...although I have a very strong opinions about the address which I will get to en un momento (broadening horizons, just go with it).

On the way to school this morning, the teenager reminded me about the event and explained to me that the school had sent forms home for parents to sign if they didn't want their children present for the address.

Excuse me?

She went on to state several of her friends were bragging on MySpace and Facebook about getting out of it because their parents had signed the paper.

Teenager: I know you weren't for Obama, but I really don't mind sitting and listening.

Tony C: No, I wasn't for Obama, but he is our President now and deserves the respect that goes with holding the office. That's what being in a democracy is all about. We have elections, one side wins and one side loses...but we're all still on the same team as Americans.

Teenager: Why do people hate him so much? I just don't get why it has to be so ugly. One kid still wears his McCain shirt to school at least once a week.

Tony C: And he has every right to do so. I want you to go, listen, and be respectful. See what you can learn from what he says.

Teenager: My teacher in that period is all about Obama. She should be happy about it.

Tony C: Be respectful! Like I said, there's always a winning side and a losing side.

Teenager: Are we Republicans?

Tony C: I don't know what 'we' are, you must determine for yourself what you stand for politically when the time comes for you to vote. The most important thing to remember is never vote for something or someone just because that's the way I feel. You're a smart kid, so form your own opinion on things.

Teenager: But you always say it goes God, family and country in that order of importance. Shouldn't family stick together?

Tony C (chuckling): That's a great question! Unfortunately, it's also a very complicated question. Let me say this for now. I want you to learn, grow and think for yourself. If your opinions happen not to agree with mine, I will still love you...no matter what.

Teenager: I hate politics. It's just a bunch of arguing.

Tony C: I know. But, politics is a controlling force that determines how you live... today and in your future.

Teenager: Whatever...I just don't get it.

Our conversation was occasionally interrupted with the cry of 'juice!' coming from the two-year old car seated in the back and obviously bored, but still the teenager was attentive and engaged...and I was encouraged by her participation. She really wanted to know what the big deal was about President Obama speaking to school kids. When she got out of the car and headed into the school, I was left with an overwhelming feeling of frustration. What just happened? Why did it happen? How did we get to the point of such divisiveness in our country?

I could easily blame either or both political parties for polarizing our country to the point of discord, but personally I think the problem originates from a much craftier culprit...I believe friction between factions is whipped up by the news media. It would be impossible to effectively govern a country split down the middle politically without accepting disagreements. Agreeing to disagree. Bipartisanship is paramount if anything is to be accomplished by elected politicians. Bipartisanship doesn't, however, fuel the advertising needs of the press. Dissension and confrontation sell newspapers...not concurrence and compromise.

To me, the problem isn't the President of the United States addressing the nation's young people...I guess I can live with that. The real problem is more fundamental in my mind. Why does the federal government have any say whatsoever in our local education systems? There's absolutely no constitutional authority giving them the power to do so. How did we let that happen?

The Department of Education was formed under the Carter Administration. Ronald Reagan campaigned on the promise to abolish the department if elected, but found doing so with a Democrat-controlled Congress impossible. Still, the Republicans have had there moment in complete control, yet the department continued to grow and issue mandates to local school systems (remember No Child Left Behind).

So, I'll conclude with this thought. If you have fallen victim to the rabble-rousing fueled by our country's for-profit media sources to the point of total partisanship no matter what...blame yourself...while the media executives laugh all the way to the bank. Our young people need to be taught to respect public institutions regardless of occupant, especially the posts of President, Congress and Supreme Court Justices. What happened to the concept of civic obligation?

Just keep it constitutional please...


katdish said...

I for one am impressed that you took the opportunity with the teenager for a civics lesson. Our schools recorded it and the parents will choose whether their kids will watch it on Thursday.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the issue of respecting our President who happened to not be our choice for president:

One of the ugliest political memories I have is the day Kerry conceded the election to Bush.
I was in a very liberal college, specifically in class at the time and the reaction from the students was scary.

Ranting and raving; hooting and hollering; cursing and cussing; calls for assassinating Bush...all because they didn't get their way with the election.

I think Obama has been disastrous for this country and will continue to be so unless he moves to the center.
But I refuse to behave like my classmates that one day and am embarrassed of any conservative who does.

Lula! said...

You're a much better person than this here ol' gal. It wasn't shown in our school system. But if it had been, our 2nd grader would not have listened in. She knows that we respect Obama...that we pray for him, audibly, and that we may not agree with his policies, but we are to respect his position as POTUS.

Having said that, I refuse to allow him to indoctrinate my child. If she has questions about health care, she can ask her father. The physician. If she has questions about anything else, she can ask of both her parents...and of The Great Physician.

His speech was aimed at children. No thank you. He is not allowed to speak directly to my child. She requires a filter. A filter that has been saturated in the Holy Spirit.

Is all I'm sayin'...

photogr said...

Granted we should respect the positions of our elected officials but we must stand up and be heard when we do not agree with their positions. Those officials must also give us the same courtesy, respect and not label us as a band of disidents or worse like what has been said recently by thse elected officials.

It is good that you and your child had a meaningful converstaion on politics. That leaves an open line of communication for further issues as they come up like dating and boys

Lynn Lane said...

Let me start off by saying that this is the first time I have ever offered my opinion up on any blog. This whole situation has really gotten me frustrated.

I don't believe most people understand what bipartisianship means. If they do, then why all the slurs thrown at people that dont have the same views at the President? Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines it, bipartisianship as being marked by or involving cooperation, agreement, and compromise between TWO major political parties. It appears with this President that those of us that dissent from his views are suddenly being attacked and called the vilest names, such as biggot, racist, and likened to Hitler. The right to have a differing opinion or belief is why this country was founded. The people of this great nation were, in the very beginning of its founding, people that dissented from the reigning "governing rule"-regardless of the "governing rule"'s high status or position. Respect runs both ways. Those very people did not relish, as we do not, in being force-fed rules with out compromise on subjects ranging from taxation to religion. It's what they fought for to become the nation we are today. And in that vein, I am tired of surrendering to the force feeding of every view or whim that this cabinet believes in for fear of being called a biggot!

Now, as to the forum that this speech took place-I don't agree on several points. First, it is my responsibility to train up my child in the way he/she should go. It is not up to my neighbor, church congregants, pastor, sunday school teacher, teacher, or president. With that being said, I can lead my child in to training that works in cooperation with one or more of the afore mentioned roles. Secondly, as much as I would love to have religion in schools, there is that pesky law that seperates church and state. Now, some of you may say he was not pushing a political stance-which is true and false, in my opinion. True-he was not force feeding his views on healthcare, government's role in controlling or owning an industry that produces services or goods (such as car manufacturing), or even pushing the approval of the Rockfeller/Snow internet bill (giving him power to shut down internet in his view of a cyber attack). However, i feel, he was using his political position to bully the educational institutions of our children and teenagers (not college age but childeren K-12) to gain a platform to approach my children. Finally, while you (Tony) had a school where there was a choice to view "the speech", I had children that were given no choice. They were told by their teachers that they had to pay attention and listen. Not only that, but all of my children will be expected and possibly graded on discussions regarding "the speech" in the coming days. The President could have done this as a PSA on cable and the major networks. Why did he feel it necessary to strong arm schools into showing this speech in the classroom?


Lynn Lane said...

My last thought on this has to do with the thoughts running through my head while accessing the text of the speech and teacher suggestions to be posted on the web. On Labor Day, I anxiously awaited the link to come up about "the speech". While waiting for it to pop up, I began to wonder what "list" am I now being placed on-all because I am seeking information? Who will now be recording and collecting every key stroke and website that I visit on the internet? (After all, didn't this cabinet collect a list of email address of dissenters to their opinion on the healthcare bill-regardless of that act's constitutionality?) How will the schools that are opting out on showing "the speech" be affected? Will there be retribution? I tried to shove those fears aside and have some trust in our leader to not be a bully. However, before going to bed tonight, the news stations are getting insider information that there is some sort of report being considered regarding the schools that did not participate. Are cuts in funding-around the corner-for the schools that did not participate? If so, then this is tantamount to political bullying! Does anyone know the meaning of socialism?

Again, respectfully, this is my opinion and as an American I have a right to it!

L. Lane

Tony C said...

Awesome comments folks...all of them.

Let's keep up the discussion on both sides of this issue...

photogr said...

L. Lane:

If that was to really happen, better to die a martyr for what you believed in rather that die enslaved by socialsim or politicians with a sinister motive in mind.

Laretha said...

You're a great dad Tony!

Great teachable moment!

David said...

In my bus-i-ness this week, I missed this one!

Wow, respect for the office. I am Christian, the word respect isn't in the Bible-- so I guess I don't get it. BTW - Tolerance isn't in there either. I do realize that we are to be subject to the government-- unless of course it causes us to sin. (See Daniel) We should pray for our leaders, and I do.

But the rest is a bunch of blather in my book-- agree with the teenager there.

I am of the mind that God only had one choice for president, and the Christians missed it this time-- and have in the past. Too busy with other things, I guess. I think along the way we missed it on prayer in school and abortion. My point, God can't have two wills.

I have a friend who writes a blog and I thought explained the current politics very well.


Thanks, Tony.