On Tuesday morning, President Barack Obama did something several presidents prior had done — he addressed millions of students across the country who were returning to school and encouraged them to study and stay in school.
“…We can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world — and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities,” President Obama said to school children nationwide.
These words may seem harmless enough — actually, his entire speech was rather inspiring. But instead of having faith in our president whom more than half of our country voted for, instead of believing our president was mature and rational enough to address millions of youngsters with a sincere message of putting education first, many conservative citizens and leaders alike formed an irrational fear of what was on our president’s agenda.
The quotes reported by CNN were disappointing, to say the least.
“Thinking about my kids in school having to listen to that just really upsets me," said suburban Colorado mother Shanneen Barron. “I feel very scared to be in this country with our leadership right now.”
Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer accused Obama of using taxpayer money to "indoctrinate" children, he said in a press release earlier this week.
"As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology," Greer said. "The idea that school children across our nation will be forced to watch the president justify his plans … is not only infuriating, but goes against beliefs of the majority of Americans, while bypassing American parents through an invasive abuse of power."
The only thoughts that come to mind: Jumping to conclusions? Making unfounded assumptions?
Based on Obama’s actual speech, yes, many people in our country got way ahead of themselves. And, in a surprising turn of events, several prominent Republicans actually supported Obama’s decision to deliver the speech.
Mr. Greer, in essence, recanted his statement after reading the speech before it was delivered. "In its current form, it’s fine,” he said.
Even former first lady Laura Bush, wife of Obama’s Republican predecessor, said on Monday, "There’s a place for the president of the United States to talk to school children and encourage school children” to stay in school.
It is unfortunate so many Americans had so little faith in the person millions of other Americans voted for. They panicked and went so far as to believe our president intended on brainwashing our children.
The bottom line is that these reactions were based on fear, irrational fear. If we want to make our children believe our president is terrible, then we, as parents, hold the key — not the president through a brief welcome-back speech to students.
We need to stop hitting the panic button and start thinking about the impressions we are making on our children.
We think Obama, as our president, was completely justified in speaking to our children. And we also believe if we don’t stop this irrational fear, it will weaken our country beyond repair — we must think before we speak. While fear is a motivator, it, like lust, can blind us from the truth, which is dangerous. Ignorance is the war we battle against if we are to become a more enlightened society.