Thursday, September 03, 2009

Obama's Latest Evil

I interrupt my planned posting schedule to discuss something I read on the internet today that just really chaps my ass. Those of you who have been visiting my blog for a while know that I very seldom get into politics, but this time I can't help it.

Our new president wants to give a nationally televised speech directly addressing our school children. In it, he apparently wants to tell kids that education is important and that they should stay in school. Furthermore, he wants to address the issue of improving education and why education is important to our country.

Do you see the evil in that approach?

OK, I must confess, I don't see it either. In fact, it sounds like a fine idea to me. But apparently I'm missing something because certain Republicans, like Jim Greer and Katie Gordon of the Florida Republican Party, have attacked the plan as the equivalent of brainwashing.

I feel comfortable in saying that Greer and Gordon should be recalled before they do more harm. Let's face it, their argument is just ignorant. I don't care whether you like Obama or not, the man is not some kind of sorcerer who can spend 20 minutes talking to kids and turn them into Obama zombies. Anyone who thinks this is just, flat out, unequivocally, wrong. And plain silly to boot.

Actually, of course, I believe Greer and Gordon know full well how silly their argument is, but they think their constituents are too stupid to realize it. If I were a Republican I'd find this to be a horrible insult to my intelligence. To imagine that a sane person would believe it just boggles my mind.

Any time now I'm expecting intelligent people to stand up and say "enough."

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely don't think people have to agree with President Obama on everything, or on anything. There are legitimate debates to be raised about issues such as education and health care. But let's at least try to keep our debates in the realm of reality and not fantasy.


Cloudia said...

People are raving loony!
They are acting crazy!
down with health care!
up with profit (though I have none anymore)
it is scary
and yet.....
they rave so becsause a new day is dawning. Father is no longer in charge and wants to send us all to bed without dinner. An Barack makes them lose it: an intelligent, black man!!!!!!!!!!
They'll die off, we'll fix things for our children.
that's my manifesto!

Comfort Spiral

Anonymous said...

I was just reading about this my own damn self. Apparently there's also something about they are supposed to hang posters in the classroom or some shite like that. I love this one:

But Jim Greer, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, came out swinging against the planned speech. An excerpt from his statement:

"The address scheduled for September 8, 2009, does not allow for healthy debate on the President's agenda, but rather obligates the youngest children in our public school system to agree with our President's initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates."

God this is fun, LOL.


lady grinning soul said...

how the hell did anyone conclude that this speech will constitute brainwashing?

damn, i thought I was a paranoid.

Erik Donald France said...

I was tempted to post on this as well. Didn't know about the FL GOP, but did hear about a remarkably similar (orchestrated Nixonian tactic?) Utah response.

Hell, we always listened to the Prez as kids, even during school. We could laugh or protest, but we listened first.

Anne Vis said...

I think children may actually be different now from the kids we were years ago. And the school system does not always teach what is valuable in later life, so maybe tackling the underlying reasons of why children quit school in the first place may be more appropriate than a speech ... (whether seen as indoctrination or not)

the walking man said...

Do you remember the Carter and Clinton years? The right did every bit of political maneuvering and blockage they could come up with. Not process judgeship, load up bills with obscure changes that led to profound effect for their cause of more money with less regulation for them and their true constituents, the corporacracy. Debate and obfuscate any plan that would benefit the common tax payer to death.

This shrill harping fueled by the pawns in congress and the media is the natural outgrowth from those more politically savvy days.

The basic question is not about education or health care reform to me, but rather will i continue to be nothing more than a source of profit for the conglomerates and private business' that truly rule this country through their money purchased power?

We have become nothing more than a profit stream, which was the plan all along when ol' Ronnie Reagan started us on the path to a consumer driven economy rather than a commodity based one.

Fools we are if we do not heed the call to education on all levels.

Unknown said...

Just found your blog and will be returning for sure.

As to this post, people have just forgotten to think for themselves, IMHO.

Paul R. McNamee said...

I could on a rant, but I'll go on a tangent. I am scared of the "Information Age" and I'm very disappointed by it. Instead of discerning citizens knowing the facts of their arguments (which isn't to say that if we were all educated, we'd all agree) we have what Steve Colbert calls "truthiness". "Facts don't matter, what my heart tells me matters."

It's really scary. People of this ilk don't use the Internet for fact finding, they just read what they agree with (Obama is a secret Muslim agent!) and reguritate.

So, now Obama addressing the nation is evil?

I guess there are probably some conservatives who still consider FDR's fireside chats to be the tool of the devil. *shrug*

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, I sure hope things get better, but the idiots are coming out of the woodworks right now.

Wil, oh yes, I see a lot of "ostracism" going on. How could a supposedly intelligent person say such a thing? My take is that he doesn't believe it but thinks the people he tells will be too stupid not to.

Wandering savant, maybe we need to coin the term uber paranoid for these folks. Thanks for visiting.

Erik, yes, it's not like it's the first time a president has spoken like this. And so what if someone disagree with something he says? Kids have to find out that not everyone believes exactly the same thing.

Anne Vis, if the schools themselves were doing a wonderful job I might see some point, but the schools and kids need all the help they can get. I doubt the speech will do a whole lot of good, but it certainly isn't going to do 'any' harm.

Mark, unfortunately, the tactics of obfuscation seem to work, though I can't personally understand how everyone can't see through them for the tactics they are.

Gaston Studio, that certainly seems to be the case. My wife calls them the Sheeple. Thanks for visiting.

Charles Gramlich said...

Paul, you and me both. I'm very disappointed that the information age has in fact become the disinformation age. Education has clearly failed when people cannot even distinguish between a reasonable debate and an emotion filled fantasy.

Aimlesswriter said...

For a minute there your title scared me...
I think if the Prez wants to say something to our kids about education that's wonderful!
What do they think he's going to say? Do they think he will turn them into liberals??? (not that there's anything wrong with that!)

Heff said...

Damn. With this post title, I thought for a minute there that you had changed teams, Charles !!

Oh, well....

Hey, for what it's worth, THIS Republican thinks the televised speech uproar is stupid also.

Those kids won't turn in to "Obambies" 'til they're almost of age to vote, LMAO !!!

Scott D. Parker said...

Look, people, it's the *President of the United States* who wants to speak directly to the future generation of this country. I'd have loved it if Ford or Carter did that when I was in elementary school. My son realized that I watched speeches of the presidents, whether it was Bush or Obama. I think he's smart enough to realize that when the president speaks, you listen, even if you don't like what he's saying. Sheesh!

Randy Johnson said...

It can get disheartening watching the news these days. If the GOP worked as hard trying to do something for this country as they do s******g on everything Obama trys, we might get somewhere.
I see these people ranting and screaming every day(when did yelling replace reasoned discourse) and wonder what's wrong with them. They are like parrots yelling back what they are taught to say without understanding what they are saying. They have no thoughts of their own.
I am reminded of that old Harlan Ellison saying, when responding to someone's assertion that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, "No! Everyone is entitled to their own Informed opinion!" These people know not of what they speak.

Randy Johnson said...

That's tries(smack up side the head).

cs harris said...

Maybe they'd be okay with it if he just got up and read My Pet Goat?

Spy Scribbler said...

Well said. I'm so sick of all the debate about healthcare, simply because people are debating FICTION. Grrr! And FOX news doesn't help. They just piss me off. No reason a news channel should report unbiased truths, anymore, when slanted fiction sells and people BELIEVE IT.


Anonymous said...

I hope Obama has more luck in the classroom than the upside-down book episode of poor ole Bush:

Politicians will try any tactic to discredit the opposition. I have faith that the American people are wise to this- after all, they voted in Obama.

Education is in a sorry state in UK too. It hasn't benefitted from meddling by our politicians.

Shauna Roberts said...

I thought I reached the point long ago where nothing stupid or malicious the Republicans did would surprise me. But in the past few months, their behavior and opinions have gotten beyond bizarre. They don't care about America any more, only about tearing down Obama and his plans just because they're Obama's, not based on any discussion of their merits or practicality.

Chris Benjamin said...

Wouldn't that be awesome if we could just recall our politicians? Man, capital idea, Sir, capital idea. Now if only you like Capitain Picard we could make it so.

Barrie said...

Oh my! For a second there, I thought you really thought it was evil! Slow down, pounding heart!!

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Same over here in the UK - for true democracy no government should be involved in education.

Leigh Russell said...

chaps your ass Charles? That's a new one on me, and what a great expression! As for criticising someone for telling kids to study - ?????!!!! Something like that isn't party political, it's just good advice. Seems to me Obama's detractors are making themselves look ridiculous.

Stewart Sternberg (half of L.P. Styles) said...

Ah.....allow me to try to rationalize this. First, I think that anything the administration puts forward, regardless of the intent, is going to be regarded with irrational suspicion and animosity. Such is the nature of our political environment thanks to our crazed corporate driven news cycles. Another problem is the way the announcement of the address was phrased, with the white house asking teachers to handle the address in a certain way and to have students write papers about how they could help the president--which for conservatives means helping put forward the presidential or Democrat agenda.

What this should show us is how serious the divide is in this country and that the time has come to either go at one another (obviously absurd) or start finding common ground and a more civil argument.

Steve Malley said...

Sane people had eight years to speak up, during most of which they were shouted down, scorned or accused of supporting terr'ism.

One party got used to acting like tantrum-throwing toddlers. The other reminds me of beleaguered parents in a supermarket: "Now Johnny, what did we decide about screaming and throwing toys?"


I feel guilty that I'm lucky enough not to live in America any more. Guilty, but not dumb enough to move back...

(Really, really hoping Cloudia is right!)

Lana Gramlich said...

Welcome to 1984. Baa baaaaaa! <:(

Travis Cody said...

Sarcasm alert...

We can't have the leader of our nation extolling the virtues of education and responsibility! It's madness to encourage children to study hard! Madness I say! Education and responsibility are completely partisan ideas! That President sure has some nerve, thinking he's some kind of leader or example for anyone to emulate.

Sarcasm ends.

Discourse in this country has become more about what someone likes or is afraid of and how loudly they can shout over those who disagree, rather than an exchange of fact-based opinions and ideas.

Charles Gramlich said...

Aimless Writer, the logic behind it is purely political. Most of the folks making these statements know they’re lying; they’re doing it purely for political means.

Heff, Dems and Republicans both say stupid shit some time, but when our party does it I think it’s important to say, hey I don’t agree with that. You’re not speaking for me. Like I say, I can understand people disagreeing with Obama’s policies, but the hyperbole these days is just too much sometimes.

Scott Parker, and what could the President, or ANY president say in an address like this that would change a young mind forever. People should listen, and if they disagree with something then talk to the kid about it. I can’t imagine Obama will say anything controversial, though

Randy Johnson, our political parties are in an all out war and we citizens are the collateral damage. And the bombs certainly aren’t “smart” bombs. Lately it’s been topping even the crazy stuff we’ve seen before.

Candy, someone would complain. For all we know, that book may have become a communist manifesto just recently.

Natasha Fondren, yes, the slant sells and no one seems much to care about truth.

Cinnamon, Politicians on both sides are useless, but right now some of the GOP folks are really crossing some line into a pure Freudian landscape.

Shauna Roberts, I agree, we are hearing some really bizarre stuff lately and it’s said with such incredible conviction. Kind of scary.

benjibopper, yes, send them a letter saying, “Sorry, your services are no longer required. Goodbye!”

Barrie, LOL. You never know these days. Apparently normal folks seem to acquire insanity overnight.

ARCHAVIST, politicians and their detractors are much the same everywhere, I imagine.

Leigh Russell, I wish I could take credit for it. I don’t remember when I first heard it but it’s not an uncommon saying here. Those detractors are making themselves look ridiculous to some people, but apparently not to all.

Stewart Sternberg, I can understand that when he said he was going to speak that it was fine for folks to ask him what he was going to speak on. But once he explained then the controversy should have died. The total breakdown in communication between the sides is beyond ridiculous.

Steve Malley, I grew up with the teaching that “he who loses his cool first, loses. That’s no longer the case. Lose your cool and attract attention for your insane ideas is the way it goes now.

Lana Gramlich, I want to quote Team America right now.

Travis, Did you ever see the movie where the mutant child took away the mouths of people whose talk he didn’t like? I sure wish I had that power right now.

sage said...

Amen! I wanted to make sure our schools were going to show Obama, thinking I'd even take my daughter out of school so she could listen, then realized that--in order for teachers not to have to do any work before Labor Day--the students are still on summer break! THey'll go back Wednesday and she can watch it at home.

G. B. Miller said...

I think that one of the items that people are objecting about (and this blog is the safest place I know of that I can post my opinion about this w/o getting buried alive) is that suggestion by the Dept of Ed Secretary suggesting that the teachers change their lesson plans to have the get involved with the President's health care agenda.

laughingwolf said...

charles, methinks you're asking too much... too many folk walk around with their heads up their butts, and not just in the excited states of america :(

Laurie Powers said...

I heard about this on NPR today. The right-wing rhetoric is bad enough, but what's scary is that people are so willing to go along with the Republican agenda even when it's baseless. What's really ironic is that these people are screaming because they feel like their children are going to be brainwashed, but their argument against this speech just turns their children into pawns in a ridiculous issue.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Everyone's missing the point. Greer and Gordon are protecting our Fall television line-up. We can't have Obama interrupting the regular scheduled programs; There's new sitcoms on the idiot box to watch! This goes against everything our nation cares about.

Greg said...

well said. it seems like either people are getting dumber every day, or politicians just think we are.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hi Charles,

I agree that the hysteria does not give enough credit to children. So far as I can see, children don't believe damn near ANYTHING told to them and are even more stubborn than most adults. Unless there's some purple kool-aid I don't know about, I'm guessing the risk of brainwashing is pretty minimal. :)

BernardL said...

Past presidents have urged children to stay in school and get a good education. That was not President Obama's point in his address to the children. Thanks to the outrage concerning the leaked content of what his address was really all about, his speech now will be only on urging children to get a good education. His original intent needed to be confronted to stop a disturbing precedent of using children against their parents for political agendas. Yeah, I know, this makes me a racist. :)

ivan said...

Florida Republicans can be as blind as, journalists, even those on the more honest poliical shows, like PBS editors' panels with Gwen Ifill, herself probably the best writer and interviewer in the United States.
Last Sunday, she had people over from Time, the Washington Post, Newsweek and two other publications.

The worrisome topic of Afghanistan came up, and everybody seemed to mouth the "party line" that we should
go in there with even more troops, hundreds of thousand more-- and fast, as the Generals are saying time is no longer on their side in Afghanistan, as the Taliban have taken over overything not under the immediate boots of the U.S and NATO troops.
Why were all the panelists on last Sunday's Washington Weeksaying the same thing: Hang in in Aghanistan?
Durn, if they wanted this village idiot on that panel, I would have said: Get out of Afghanistan. Get out yesterday!
My proof would have been the recent aerial bombing of close to a hundred civilians over some oil lorries stolen by the Taliban. Sure, some Taliban were killed, but so were seventy civilians. This at a time Gen McClintock is asking for more troops.
More troops? How about no troops?
How the hell did we ever get into that stone age snakepit full of drug lords and cavemen in the first place?
...Especially when most Americans today agree that 911 was an inside job with the Cheneys and Bushes in.
Who was there to go to war with? The White House and the devils that ran it at the time?
Two mistaken and stupid wars, hundreds of beautiful young servicemen killed, mothers, fathers, daughters. And thousands upon thousands of civilians.
And for what? Some stupid oil pipeline?
And Chaney's all over TV advertising his book, insisting he was right.
I have done some studies on psychopathy.
Jaysus. If the foo shits, bear it!

Charles Gramlich said...

sage, I know some schools have opted out. It would be intersting to see the reasons those schools give.

G, that's an issue sort of separate from a "talk" the President might give. Schools in fact change lesson plans all the time to do what President's suggest. the national war on drugs is a prime example. There are two issues here to me. 1. health care needs reform. 2. it doesn't have to be Obama's plan or all of Obama's plan. But I agree that Obama shouldn't pressure kids to put pressure on their parents, but that seems so highly unlikely that I'm not worried much about it.

laughingwolf, I think the world is just too complicated for most people so they find a few soundbites that match their emotional feeling and cling to them like they're drowning. That way they don't have to deal with complexity.

Laurie Powers, the point is, of course, that children "need" to hear opposite sides of all kinds of issues and be taught the critical thinking skills to make up their own minds. The Republicans and others doing the loud talking now clearly want to keep minds shut. They fear what will happen if children's minds are opened. Of course, there are some on the other side who think the same, although right now they're not being as stupid about it.

JR, you know, I didn't think about that but man you are right. Ah wheels within wheels. The flee wags the tail, which wags the dog.

Greg Schwartz, the politicians are definitly treating us like that. I sure wish more people would call 'em on it.

Michelle, exactly. It's virtually assured that the president's speech will have zero effect anyway. It's a mountain out of a pinprick.

BernardL, well, I just don't believe it. I believe some folks are saying that. But they are distoring things to promote their own agenda. They are the ones causing the potential harm. I can understand why people might want to know what Obama was going to say to the kids, but there's no possible way that a short talk by Obama to children is going to cause some irrepreable breach between the kids and their parents. That is bizarre thinking and it has to be labled as such. I don't think it would be appropriate for him to push his health care agenda in the talk with kids, and, of course, that's not what he was going to do. But even if he did the effects would be nil. Only in a world where Obama had magical powers could anyone possibly be afraid that his one talk is going to warp a child's mind for life. If a parent disagrees with something Obama says, then they should discuss it with the kid and give logical, rational reasons why. Preventing children from hearing opposing views is the true attempt at brainwashing.

ivan, there are a lot of bad decisions that have been made. And all that Washington usually does is talk talk talk. The rhetoric has gotten so bad that it's counterproductive.

laughingwolf said...

that could very well be for many, the rest are either drunk or stoned and don't care :(

jodi said...

Mark, Bloomin' idiots, or as Frank McCourt would say, "Fricken idjets"! All my life, yes even in grade school, I have listened to Presidents speak and have not once been brainwashed. In fact, usually-then and now-I barely understood. xo

Mimi Lenox said...

I couldn't agree more.

Charles Gramlich said...

laughingwolf, those are probably as good explanations as any.

jodi, exactly, most kids don't even listen anyway.

Mimi Lenox, I just feel like I have to tell folks sometimes how bizarre their thinking is.

Middle Ditch said...

It is funny though.

Same here.

The leading party has a good policy which the opposition MUST attack. The opposition comes into power and takes on the same policy which now the new opposition MUST attack.

All laughable and very irritating too.

Tyhitia Green said...

It's just pure hatred and stupidity. I haven't watched the news in weeks. I'm tired of it...

A Paperback Writer said...

"Obama zombies" (giggle) :)

Look, I'm from Utah, where xenophobia is the official state mood, so it should not surprise you that a slew of parents came unglued because a local grade school showed that "I pledge" clip (without watching it first).
I teach at a junior high school, and we're covering our butts for Tuesday. All students received a letter to their parents allowing the parents to yank their kids out of watching the Obama speech. These unfortunate youngsters will be hauled into the auditorium and given social studies worksheets to do while the rest of the school watches the President encourage them to stay in school and prepare for college (and other horribly "socialist" stuff like that....).

ivan said...

Pperback Writer,

It must get awfully lonely in Utah sometimes.

j said...

I wrote a post about this too but I didn't publish it... don't know that I will. I've told my school age children to sit up and take notice. They are a part of historical times.

My mother told me about 'practicing' in the classroom, hiding under a desk hoping it would save her from bombs. And my kids are required to have a signed permissions slip to hear a speech given by the President of the United States of America - they will tell their kids about that one day.

Charles Gramlich said...

Middle Ditch, because the goal is power and not the actual good of the people.

Demon Hunter, I must admit the news is pretty tiring after a while. The petty made up drama. Such a waste of time.

A Paperback Writer, if anything, the 'false' divide is likely to cause problems with the students. It's so ridiculous I can't wrap my head around it.

ivan, lol.

jennifer, that's a good way to think about it. It didn't occur to me, but yes, it's something to tell your grandkids. I hope that's all it'll be.

Mary Witzl said...

Yay, I get to be the 50th here!

I don't see the evil in this either. Clearly, I must be naive. But then I am a registered Democrat, so you never know...

Charles Gramlich said...

Mary Witzl, the very act of registering as a Democrat may make you evil in some eyes!