Glenn Beck and other right-wing media figures fear that President Obama is harming our children by “indoctrinating them with socialist propaganda.” Our own Fallbrook High School administrators played right into their hands by preventing our students from listening to the President’s edifying back-to-school speech.
A president talking to schoolchildren about the importance of education, and certainly an African-American president addressing poor and minority children on the value of education, is a positive and powerful message.
Calls for boycotts gave the impression that Republicans are extolling ignorance and closed minds as a virtues. Columnist Tim Rutten correctly stated, “Calls to boycott Obama’s speech to kids offers a disturbing lesson in paranoia.”
The reaction from politicians, as well as our local administrators, is unprecedented. G.H.W. Bush also gave a “school speech,” and Congressional Democrats unjustly criticized him of playing politics, but it did not result in hundreds of thousands of students being kept out of school or “opting out” of watching Bush’s speech, and it did not result in hundreds of schools refusing to broadcast the speech at all. The level of vitriol toward Obama’s speech went far beyond partisan bickering.
Watching the speech on television, seeing the eager reception and enthusiasm on the faces of the students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, VA, so inspired me that I lost 55 years, becoming a high school student once again, listening to Eisenhower or Truman – only more eloquent this time.
Joe Howard Crews