Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Sad, Sad Commentary...But A Commentary Nonetheless

As many of you know I started blogging as a means towards healing from a rather devastating circumstance. I realized focusing on what was "right" with my day rather than what was "wrong" with my day was a task I needed to focus on to mend a terribly troubled heart. At the time I vowed to keep the content light and only chronicle good and happy things. I know there have been some posts that have not always been in keeping with the original intent; but for the most part I have tried to turn even my greatest "negatives" into reasons for "daily celebration." I also vowed to keep my love life out of it (although Ciara swears that would increase my readership a million fold) and I made a promise to myself I would try to keep my personal religious and political beliefs out of it. Sure....I worked on a campaign and I chronicled that. I hope I kept the focus on the "act" of campaigning and what great joy and purpose it brought me during a very troubling time in my life. I don't think it is any great mystery what the gentleman I campaigned for believes in and what his leanings are...although party identification is generally left out of the race for mayor. (I say that loosely...I don't want any ranting responses to that statement, please!) I have also tried to keep my religious beliefs as benign as possible on this blog. I know not everyone believes what I believe and I appreciate those differences. My story wouldn't be complete without sharing my basic and fundamental belief in God's grace. But that is what works in my life. And this is my I get to say it as much as I want. But I am not going to come into anyone else's blog and tell them what to do, how to vote, where to worship, etc. I realize some people may interpret that as not standing for much. But I have always prided myself in standing for an individual's right to make decisions for themselves. If someone wants to ask me how I feel I am happy to share. If my thoughts are offensive then people don't need to read or can scroll down to less threatening content. (Though I don't think I am a terribly threatening presence!)

I am certain that what I am about to write will not settle well with everyone. And we all know how hard I try to please everyone and the thought of offending anyone makes me want to crawl under the sheets and hide. But as I said before...this is MY blog, MY forum and something happened today that has me on the verge of absolute tears. For the first time in my life I am nearly brought to tears by the power of ignorance...on a national level. my lifetime...I have been brought to my knees by ignorance on a personal level. But what I learned today is so troubling to me I could not pass up the opportunity to get it out. Perhaps I should keep these thoughts in a personal journal...but the thing is...I don't have one. So this is the medium. If you know what is coming and you don't want to read it then by all means scroll down to the pretty, pretty pictures of Charleston. I will not be offended. But please allow me to say what I want to say and if you would like to read...please, continue on. (Aunt Alfie be forewarned! I love you too much to get in an argument with you....EVER!)

I have given this issue an enormous amount of thought today. For every point I made to myself, I also had a counter point. So I am pretty sure I am going to talk myself in circles. But isn't that the thing....true thoughtfulness often encourages deeply examining issues from a variety of perspectives. My dear friend and mentor, Karen, always reminded me (in the 8 years we worked together) that there were always two sides (if not more) to every story. Please understand that I know that...especially with regards to this issue.

So I think I have prefaced this enough! I am deeply, deeply, deeply troubled by the debate that is raging around President Obama delivering an address to school children. I learned today that my employer will not allow the address to be viewed (despite the blessings of a television and computer in EVERY SINGLE classroom) by any of it's 90,000 students. Apparently the argument is that they do not want their employees to be placed in the precarious position of having to explain to an irate parent why they chose to switch the "on" button. While I can appreciate the districts position to protect it's employees from harassment and chastisement I can't help but wonder, "Why has it come to this? When did it become fashionable, nay acceptable, for a parent to admonish the leader of this country to the extent that they will not allow their child to listen to the encouragement to perform to their fullest potential in a system that is unselfishly provided them?"

Of course one might come at me with the argument that no one should be "forced" to listen to anything they don't want to. (Much like the way I appreciate that no one HAS to read this blog unless they WANT to.) Okay, I understand that. And I also appreciate that by the very definition of the word "parenting" an adult is well within their right to protect their child from rhetoric and content they consider unsuitable. But really, is the President of the United States encouraging our most precious resource all that likely to indoctrinate and hypnotize young children into full on socialism (as is the favorite buzz word of the day) or any other -ism for that matter? Really....? Really? Really!?!?!?! I mean...the only -ism I can imagine might come out of his address might be intellectual-ism. And I might be going out and an ENORMOUS limb here...but he might also encourage hard work, academic excellence, pride in learning, a hunger for knowledge, the power of reason, logic, curiosity. He might highlight the many and varied benefits of earning, at minimum, a high school diploma like work, food, money...the basics. (Sure I could throw health care into that mix...but I really doubt he is going to toss his health care plan out to elementary, middle and high school students. I could be wrong....but I just don't see it.) I can imagine, President Obama will very likely be encouraging all the things any good and decent parent would HOPE for their child....!

My heart aches for this man. It really does. I certainly don't know him personally....but I imagine that in the quiet of his day he might be thinking something along these lines, "All I want to do is send a simple message to our future. And the message is that an education is what shall set you free and it is something that no one can ever take away from you (as my father always reminded me...thank you, Daddy). So take advantage of the road that has been paved for you whether that be as a student of our public school system, charter system, private school system, home schooling system." I imagine he must sit back, close his eyes and shake his head in quiet disappointment. He must wonder why the best of his intentions are being received with such criticism. Hope for our children isn't a partisan issue. I believe parents of any political leaning be it Democrat, Republican, Independent, Socialist, Fascist, Communist just want the best for their children; and I don't think anyone can argue that an education isn't ABSOLUTELY FUNDAMENTAL to that.

The individuals at the helm of this campaign against this public address to school children should be ashamed of themselves. Is this really THE message we want to send to the children of this country? The message of censorship and political mind games and disregard and even hate. I can't help but think the message President Obama is trying to send to the children isn't a MUCH, MUCH, MUCH healthier one?

I am so saddened by the mere idea of censoring this presidential address I don't even feel like I am living in the same country. I do not like the way I feel today....not about this. I can't believe that any decent and thoughtful individual would believe this man would ever send a message of ill will, disrespect, ignorance and disregard to school children. But he doesn't have to....they are already sending that to our school children all on their very own. I celebrate that I DO live in this country...and I am so, so, so proud of that and have been every day of my life...except today. I celebrate that it is okay to write about it and not suffer a consequence. I celebrate the men and women that get dressed everyday to make my life possible and safe. I celebrate ALL the men and women who serve publicly...because it isn't easy and there are people like me who throw their opinions at them constantly. (Even though this is the first time I have ever done anything like this! Feels good. Now I know why my Aunt Alfie does it everyday. Again...I love you!) It can't be easy to be the President of this country and I know that things aren't perfect. But when did guiding children towards success become reprehensible? When did it become okay to send this message to our youth? When, did I ever think, in my lifetime, a President of THESE United States would be silenced in our schools?

Please direct all complaints to someone else! So typical of me...say what I want to and then run! :)

Goodnight, friends. Please know, and believe, I am so proud to be a citizen of this country...the greatest country in the world. I am just so, so, so disappointed today. However, as my Mom likes to remind me, tomorrow is a new day. Maybe I will be less sad tomorrow?

And PS....I need a serious lesson from all my English teacher friends on apostrophes. Help! I just don't remember anymore.


  1. Thank you for being a voice of reason.

  2. Loved it Patty. I share in your saddness. --kim

  3. amen.... and I mean that in a totally secular, separation of church and state sort of way! (no need to complicate the statement) it's stuff like this whole hoopla that makes me ashamed of Americans and want to run back to Canada. Laura Goodson.