The furor coming from right-wing camps about the POTUS speech at Wakefield High School has completely befuddled and frustrated me as a Parent, Texan and US citizen. It's as if we have allowed our common senses to be over-run by a small group spouting a vulgar coarse rhetoric. It smacks of McCarthyism and HUAC. Personally it makes me sick. It makes my bones ache. It makes me suck my teeth with disdain at those who willingly tear apart discourse, institutions, & government. Shameful. A friend, @lettergirl, wrote a blog post that captured what many of us parents have been thinking, and searching for a way to express. I have included it below along with the speech Obama delivered to American students today. May reason, civil discourse, mutual respect, and the center hold ... before we harden into rigid sides, with jaws clenched, staring into the unfamilar future of internal dischord and looming separation. From Dawn at http://notgoingpostal.com/2009/09/07/indoctrination/
I admit it. I’m worried this week about my children being indoctrinated.
Within a mile of our house, we have a McDonald’s, a Taco Bell, Taco Cabana, KFC, Jack in the Box, DQ and a Sonic. They can sing the commercials or tell you the slogans of pretty much all of them, and know at any given time what the Happy Meal/Wacky Pack/Cabana Kids Meal prize is.
The other girls in Middle School indoctrinate my daughter about the need to be popular, the importance of names like Aeropostale, why it’s just not cool to take a shower after gym, and why having a “boyfriend” is important for a sixth-grader.
The boys in elementary school tell my son only nerds have to play E-rated video games, and tell him the Halo and Doom and Mortal Kombat are way more fun than Wii Sports.
My kids are indoctrinated by Hannah Montana, the Wizards of Waverly Place, the Transformers, Ben 10 and a sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea.
Sure, I swim against these tides. It’s what parents do. We teach our children our values, share our wisdom, encourage them to think for themselves. I fight indoctrination tooth and nail.
Obama’s Speech to School Children
This “indoctrination?” I say this.
Bring. It. On.
Take the bully pulpit, Mr. President.
Tell my son, whose birth family was torn apart by addiction and violence, “Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.”
Tell my daughter, struggling with the pressure to conform, worried about popularity, that ”Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is,”
If their schools lack the courage to stand up to the fearmongers and won’t play your address in the classrooms, we will read it at home. Because sir, I need all the back-up I can get. We’ve got a great support system. Good neighbors, committed teachers, a church family, grandparents, lots of friends who share our values.
But if you are willing to take time away from wrestling with our nation’s present struggles, and encourage the guardians of our country’s future? Mr. President, we don’t agree on everything. But in this, you be my guest.