Okay, so I had several items on my docket that I felt like sounding off about today. Like the fact that maybe I am a novice after all, because my five mile run was excruciating. Or that it was hard to get anything done today, because Oprah was conducting a three ring circus directly outside my building (although James Taylor was there, so mostly, all is forgiven).
But then I was reading CNN and thinking about something my mom was talking to me about today, and I just got all fired up.
So we’re gonna talk about that.
This is the text of the speech our elected President of these United States gave today.
Isn’t it good?
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure here, I am nearly as liberal as they come. Well, that’s not true. But I’m pro-choice, I don’t mind that my taxes help pay for government programs, and I think that probably, we don’t need to have AK47s in our homes and we probably shouldn’t have gone into Iraq under the guise of a giant search for WMDs.
Take that to mean what you will.
Now, in the spirit of a former journalist student, I don’t see any clear, political bias in this speech. Nothing in here screams “SOCIALIST AMERICA!” or even, quite frankly “Democrat” to me. What this appears to me to be is an appeal by the most powerful man in the world to do your best. More directly, to work hard, do your homework, and stop making excuses for why you can’t. What a simple and positive message.
However, in the town where I graduated from high school, they decided this was too much. It might be seen as political.
It might even (gasp) upset someone.
Turn it off! Please!
Now, I’ve lived in the Midwest for 10 years, and I know that Chicago is a different world than this semi-suburban, sort of rural town in Michigan, but honestly, we’re really truly worried about upsetting someone over the message of “Please do the very best you can”?
We are. Because in the small town Midwest (and I am generalizing here, I know I am), we don’t want to cause any unrest. We don’t want to offend anyone.
Are you bored yet of this idea? Because I am. And, I’m offended.
I’m sure this isn’t the only town that chose this option. This idea of sweeping something under the rug in an effort to downplay any controversy that it might cause is nothing new, and quite honestly, it is anti-American. We’re supposed to be a nation of free speech and differing ideas.
This whole country is based on the idea that our future is invested in our children, and that our children can be anything or anybody who they want to be because of the education and opportunities they are offered. Everyone, not just school children, could use a reminder of that from time to time.
But in this particular town, we didn’t do that. We instead divided people, acknowledging that this might be something political, and therefore partisan and divisive. Does anyone else see this as circular reasoning?
And what I would really like to know is, how do you downplay this one? If your seven year old asks you why your school didn’t air the speech given by the President, what do you say?
We didn’t want to risk upsetting anyone.
It doesn’t stand up. But President Obama’s message does. And it wasn’t political until someone decided to make it that way.
And if we’re ever going to get ourselves together and be a unified nation, we better knock off calling things political when they’re not. We need to figure out how to come together and realize that there is no party that doesn’t want a more educated and successful next generation. There is no party that does not want the USA to do better.
So when someone wants to encourage the millions of kids in the midst of a recession and uncertainty that they are our future, that they can do whatever they put their minds to, guess what? We should let him.
I’m going to leave this with one of my favorite sentences from this speech. And I want someone to please let me know what’s partisan about it. What about it is propaganda?
And please, don’t worry about upsetting me. That’s never bothered me.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
-President Barack Obama