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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mixing Politics and School...

So I've been mired in a new school year of teaching classes, the last of my PhD courses, and just life in general. But an issue is burning for me...so I'm resurrecting my blog from the brink of obscurity.

So the issue begins... Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you lean toward (and don't many of us actually hover somewhere in that middle space now known as No-Man's Land?), we still live in America. But something a local radio host said in Columbia last week bothered me immensely. (It was either in the newspaper or a magazine, I don't remember, but my MU students were bothered enough to bring it up in class.)

It started when our current President chose to speak to school children, just as a few Republican presidents have done in recent terms. This was not a new innovation on the President's part. However, THIS time, it caused a ruckus in Columbia, and this man (let's call him Barney for ease of identification) said something to the effect of, "That would be a good day for your kids to skip school."

So much for all the rest of the work your child would be doing the other seven and a half hours that day...

If George Bush had still been President, and this statement had been made by a Democrat, he'd be considered anti-American. But with the tables turned, this community leader, er, Barney, just taught his children that it's okay to disrespect this country, his school, his teachers, and his peers. No matter whether I like Obama or Bush or McCain or Palin, once one of them wins, he or she is MY President. And if highly conservative people -- and radically liberal people as well -- can't put aside their differences and embrace every President as their own, then the schism between the parties and this country will continue to grow. Children watch their parents and want them to be role models. Being judgmental, hypocritical, and blatantly disrespectful of the greatest office in the greatest country on the planet sends a horrible message to not only Barney's children, but those who might not understand the political stance and see it simply as a show of disrespect. There are disenfranchised teenagers out there listening, thinking, "Well, hey, if Barney says I don't gotta go to school, then I ain't goin'."

Really, Barney, that's the message you want sent to this community? To your children and every other child who hears it? I'm left wondering, when a President is elected you DO endorse, how will you explain the difference to your children?