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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?

2 comments:

Michael said...

Right after 9/11 it was common to have a bumper sticker, window cling, t-shirt, etc., that said "United we stand." That is all well and good and I can not disagree with that. But that statement, without its traditional trailing statement, is meaningless. "United we stand. Divided we fall."

What we have in the country right now is groups of people uniting with people that think exactly like they do in order to fight groups of people that think otherwise. Our country has not been more divided since the Civil War. If the statement, divided we fall, is true (and I think it is) then this country is on the brink of failure brought on by the very people that claim to love and cherish her so much.

It doesn't matter if you are Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal, Socialist, Communist, Green or any other political party. Fighting each other is beyond stupid! If we don't start right now working together and encouraging everyone we know to work together, then we, as a nation, are doomed.

kate said...

I don't know that it's really possible for us to say objectively that we are more divided than ever since the Civil War, but I certainly understand the temptation to say so. Barri, you are right, most of us are in the middle; unfortunately, we are the ones who roll our eyes and generally keep our mouths shut, so as not to inflame passions further. The people who can't keep their mouths shut are the ones on both fringes, and they are the ones who cause all the trouble.

Frankly, I think the two-party system is broken and needs replacing. But then, I'm one of those people in the middle who doesn't talk about it. I guess that needs to change. I'm going to talk about this on my blog, too.

kate
www.kathleenbasi.com