Staff Column: So much ado about such a small ado
While we have heard one big speech from the President this past week, I want to comment on the one he gave earlier in the week; the one that was supposed to be about students and their staying in school.
Those that despise Barrack Obama put a black curtain over what should have been an inspirational moment for kids all across the country. They took their petty little fears and put it in the way of a President who was trying to make a point about life; a point well taken by almost everyone who saw the address.
Parents have the right to keep their kids from anything they don't want them exposed to. I would never want this country to turn into a place where we had to listen to or see things that were forced upon us. And so it was; I know of no one who had to watch it. Students were given the opportunity to opt out if they or their parents wanted that.
However, our President, is our President, regardless of who you voted for. While I disliked much of what George W. Bush did and said during his presidency, I still listened to him, heard his ideas and made my decisions from there.
My father was a pretty far right Republican most of his life. I have a sister who is farther right than he ever was. I was always more left leaning when I was a kid. That didn't mean I didn't listen to my dad's ideas when he was alive or my sisters now. In fact there have been some issues my sister has changed my mind on because I have taken the time to listen and consider her side of things. But maybe that's too reasonable a concept for some of these far right radicals that assail anything that doesn't fit in with their view of life.
It seems today, there are a lot of people in this world who want only their view out in front of the public. They yell down moderates at town hall meetings and use their "Bully Pulpit" from Red Meat Radio to condemn anything that gets even close to being a left turn signal.
In doing this they discard a large part of the population that might have a good idea. Their goal is to make so much noise that no one can hear the other side. In some ways the American people are sheep; they listen to this drivel and then sway in the polls which ever way the wind is blowing that day.
In the late 1960's and early 70's many people of this same ilk were disgusted by the actions of those protesting a war where loud voices often overrode what Richard Nixon called the "Silent Majority" (although he didn't invent the term). They thought it was wrong that discussion and protest took place in such a way. Now many people of their same political leanings have taken a page out of the activism of that time and are using it on the right side of the road instead of the left.
Because the right is using similar tactics is it suddenly now okay?
The vast majority of the people in this country didn't mind that their kids watched Obama's school speech. Most people who heard it came away from it at least entertained; many were even inspired.
I am not sure what riles up the right more; the fact that Obama came from a poor broken home or that he was able to rise above that start in life. It seems to just frost their cookies that he could rise to the presidency so quickly, without a silver spoon stuck in his mouth from the time he was born.
I consider myself a moderate and an independent. That seems to be what many Americans think of themselves. When the 60's protests and rioting took place, it pushed the moderates toward the right, because they only saw chaos in what the lefty radicals wanted. Groups like the Black Panthers and the Students for a Democratic Society were way over the edge. I know this from personal experience because when I was in ROTC as a student at the University of Utah in 1971 I had some run-ins with the likes of SDS radicals on uniform day, the day we had to have our dress duds on when we were on campus.
Those experiences pushed me much farther right than I would have been at the time because of their resistance to listen to any viewpoint but their own. Today, those who are radical right are pushing moderates more left. I think some of that was demonstrated in the election last fall.
The day after the speech Mike Huckabee, who is probably one of the most well known contenders for the Republican presidential race in 2012 said in a short radio show he presents each day that the right was "disingenuous" in not letting Obama be heard. He thought it was a bunch off hooey. I and Mr. Huckabee often don't agree on a lot of things, but his fairness on this issue has changed my mind about him a great deal. His opposition to the red meat crowd on this shows something lacking amongst so many on all sides of the political isle these days; fairness.
Education should be about ideas; all kinds of ideas. It's amazing with the correct guidance and moral training how kids turn out to be okay without their parents holding their hands through everything they see or touch. Obamas speech on Tuesday was not harmful, in fact it was helpful for students who heard it. It was positive and uplifting.
Of course that opinion is only mine and a few million others who heard it and took what he said to heart. Those that didn't hear it then or through some kind of recorded medium will never know what they missed.