Sadly, this weekend brought more evidence that there are some people in this great nation of ours who have lost their faith in democracy. The furor over President Obama’s speech to schoolchildren is ridiculous, of course. But, it is more pernicious than that, too.
The chairman of the Republican Party in Florida threw out the charge that the President intended to "indoctrinate America’s children to his socialist agenda." Mr. Glenn Beck, who is a walking example of how you can be educated and yet still be dumb with a capital "B," repeated the charge of "indoctrination" but added this warning: "They are capturing your kids….Stand guard America. Your republic is under attack."
The speech, the text of which was released a day early at the White House website so that any concerned parents could see for themselves what the President will say, could scarcely be less partisan, unless you belong to the "School Slouches Party." The President says, "We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country. really important for everyone to respect the president of the United States." Conservatives: Police Your Own. And, someone at Fox should do the nation a favor and pull Glenn Beck off the air. He is a disgrace.
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork." Wow. That’s some attack on the republic.
Not all Republicans are bonkers, of course. Former First Lady Laura Bush, who made education a focus of her time in the White House, applauded the President and chastised his critics. Matthew Dowd, who was chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney campaign, said on George Stephanopoulos’s show yesterday that it is a sad day in America when the President of the United States cannot give a non-partisan speech encouraging students to do well in school.
Nor is political idiocy limited to the right. Michael Moore and the Moveon.org crowd cross the line with equal abandon. It is as offensive to say that President Bush was guilty of treason as it is to suggest that Obama is trying to indoctrinate our kids. Still, I do not recall people showing up with assault rifles to events where President Bush was speaking and the GOP did not have an entire network, Fox, whose sole purpose was to distort the news and bring down the President. And, the "birthers" seem to be the twenty-first century equivalent of the Birchers, members of the paranoid John Birch Society which saw communism behind every tree and treason in every heart.
Foolishness is one thing, but Mrs. Bush was correct to point out that we should teach our children that it is "really important for everyone to respect the president of the United States."