September 3, 2009

Citizen Rob

The Plano Independent School District initially planned to broadcast President Obama's September 8 address to the nation's school children, but after a much-publicized letter by a local conservative parent, the Plano ISD made the following policy decision:
Upcoming Presidential Address

The United States Department of Education sent a letter to all school districts on August 25 announcing a presidential address to school children on Tuesday, September 8. The topic of this public broadcast is the importance of education. To clarify questions and concerns about this presidential address, Plano ISD notes the following:
  • This event is not a component of the Plano ISD curriculum and is therefore not a mandatory activity.
  • Viewing the broadcast is not a planned classroom activity for September 8.
  • Like many historical events, the address will be made available for students and teachers via the digital video library.
  • The video will also be posted on this home page.
As much water as I have carried for this school district and its commitment to education and to community, I can't tell you how disappointed I am. I've heard the arguments, about how that scary socialist Obama is going to hypnotize our precious children and read Karl Marx to them. I'm sure I'll read some more of those arguments in the comments of this blog.

Here's the thing. HE'S THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Much like Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States when he spoke to the students of America, Barack Obama was elected by the majority of the citizens of this country. I think it's safe to assume that at least some of those citizens DON'T hate America. I can't tell you how many times I heard conservatives go on about respecting the office of the president during the years that said office was being held by George Bush. And all that talk? Complete and total lip service.

The simple truth is that for all our talk about patriotism and love of our country, Americans have completely lost their sense of community. You see it in the arguments against providing health care for every American, because it might have some small detrimental effect on some people's bottom line, and that, friends, is socialism, plain and simple. You see it in the "us versus them" in our political dialogue. You see it every time you hear someone describe an America that only reflects their ideology and rejects the beliefs of other citizens.

Where does your community end, America? Does it stop at the wall surrounding your gated neighborhood? The boundaries of your church, or your political party headquarters? Because if your community stops anywhere short of the edge of the map, then you are not a patriotic American. You are the problem.

I was especially annoyed to see the president of the Plano ISD Council of PTAs, Cara Mendelsohn, quoted by The Associated Press as saying that President Obama is "cutting out the parent" by sneakily addressing students while they are in school. This is the PTA President, being quoted in her capacity in that position. Does her conspiracy theory represent that of the Plano ISD PTA? Should it?

I was annoyed, but also intrigued. Oddly enough, the Plano PTA's site doesn't seem to prominently display information on how to actually join the PTA, but that's okay. I'm a smart guy. I can find it.

43 comments:

Kelly C. said...

Give 'em Hell, Rob!

Elizabeth said...

Good f'ing Lord. You're a lot more rational about this sort of stuff than I am. I can already hear my blood boiling up and am summoning all my zen-like abilities to not scream about this.

Absurdity, really. I think it's time for an old-fashioned book-burnin'

Christopher said...

I am with you on the lip service. Respect the office as long as it our president. What a load.

I live in a very conservative community. It has been very hard for me because I am not. I have been left largely alone because my students like me but I have had some weird run ins.

One year I got called into the office by a principal who had served in the armed services. He told me that it had been brought to his attention that I didn't do the flag salute.

I told him that any student who wanted to lead it could. It was not a mandatory activity. He actually questioned how patriotic I was. I told him saying words at a piece of cloth didn't make me patriotic.

He got angry and said that he had fought for my right to say that pledge. I told him he was wrong. He had fought for my right not to say that pledge. I don't think he said two words to me after that.

farmwifetwo said...

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/09/03/harper-election090309.html

Same sh*t different country.... can I just say "what he said, change the players"... except it's the Lib's here being a PIT....

Read your book, and it's all your fault that I've requested a device for my youngest son to try.... Truth is I was thinking more of a computer and knew that was too much, didn't think about PEC's on a screen. Thanks for the idea :)

jocalyn said...

I love your blog more and more every post!

kristenspina said...

You are a rock star. It IS about community, about being my brother's keeper, and we have truly lost sight of that in this country. I believe it is the underlying issue that impacts all others. The minute we stopped caring about the fate of our brothers and sisters, the minute we allowed us v. them to be the political mindset of our society, the minute we put the kabosh on productive debate and compromise, was the minute that was the beginning of the end.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this. I am so discouraged about the accusations and the vitriol that is thrown at the President. Glenn Beck is "finding" communist symbols in Rockefeller Center, when in reality, the mural painted by Diego Rivera was jackhammered off the wall because of the depiction of Lenin at the command of the Rockefellers. Yea, Rockefeller the Communist. Learn some history, people. Have some common decency. Research what the Right is saying. This anti-intellectualism that is sweeping the country is simply horrifying. Can we say Palin?

Laura

Anonymous said...

I agree with your sentiments, however, would you have had so impassioned a response if George Bush had planned the same thing last year? To let the PRESIDENT speak to the schoolchildren? Would there have been no outcry from the liberal side of the country? The other 50% of the parents would have been outraged. You cite that the end of our patriotism shouldn't be the end of our gated community or church, and in Plano that is a shot the conservative side.... so the liberal side doesn't have the same biases and patriotism problem? I think you are throwing stones in your glass house. Your post bemoans "us vs. them" but also points out that it is THEM that is at fault, not US.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rob!! Can I 'borrow' some of your words for a post to Facebook? You should put a link to post your stuff on Facebook! Very well said..

Jennifer A. (Cassandra's mom)

Robyn said...

The President of the United States wants to begin the new school year by providing encouragement to students and speaking to the importance of education and effort? The President dares to do something that a (gasp) role model would (and should)do? Oh, the horror. I think I am truly in bizarro land now.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Plano. I'm not that surprised.

Dot said...

The same thing's happening here in the suburbs of Washington, DC. It's appalling that liberals are expected to sit still for everything, no matter how ridiculous or obvious false, that conservative presidents say, but conservatives can't tolerate a hearing anything from a liberal president. Was Reagan's message to the kids not full of propaganda? I would bet it was.

7th House Doula said...

I agree with Rob 100%.

To the anonymous who thinks libs would be just as outraged...

You know, I don't know. Didn't Bush2 speak to kids? I know George the First had his presidential physical fitness thing... (Or is that every president? I only remember it happening when I was in elementary school during his presidency.) Was that some kind of crazy right-wing takeover, trying to train us into the next generation of soldiers? Nah. He was encouraging kids to get off their butts.

I know for sure we would have been curious (and maybe nervous) about what George W.'s message would be, if he had done this. If it was me (and what I think all parents should do, no matter the message or who the speaker), I would find out what the president would be speaking about, grab a written copy, and let my kid go see what the president had to say. Then, after, we could sit down and TALK about the message and what you thought was good or bad about it.

It's the parent's responsibility to teach their children what they believe is right or wrong. Don't keep them home and tell them, "Oh, my poor precious baby, that bad man is going to try and eat your brains out through the TV!!" Let them see that bad old commie marxist socialist Kenyan (GASP!) president. And then sit down and TALK to them. That's what learning and growing up and making decisions is all about.

(end rant)

-Katrina

Rob Rummel-Hudson said...

If your best argument is "Well, your side does it, too!", then I'd suggest that either you are on shaky ideological footing, or you're six years-old.

Jim Howard said...

Pot, meet Kettle.

Rob Rummel-Hudson said...

Yeah? That really is going to be the best argument, over and over? "I know you are, but what am I?" I should have this discussion with Schuyler's classmates. Their debate skills are equally finessed.

Anonymous said...

Evidently your best arguement is to equate someone with a differing opinion to "a six year old" or your daughters classmates. Why call names? What does it accomplish? I read you all the time and you are better than that.... I am really surprised.

Rob Rummel-Hudson said...

What is the proper respect level to give to "Yeah, but you did it first" as a cogent argument? More to the point, what's the appropriate age level for someone to get away with using that argument? Because I'd put it somewhere in the 6 to 9 year-old range.

Seriously. You're making a child's argument and then getting indignant when you're not treated like an adult.

Nightfall said...

Rob, can I repost this for the benefit of my Facebook friends? As is so often the case, you've concisely summed up my position with the following:

"The simple truth is that for all our talk about patriotism and love of our country, Americans have completely lost their sense of community. You see it in the arguments against providing health care for every American, because it might have some small detrimental effect on some people's bottom line, and that, friends, is socialism, plain and simple. You see it in the "us versus them" in our political dialogue. You see it every time you hear someone describe an America that only reflects their ideology and rejects the beliefs of other citizens.

Where does your community end, America? Does it stop at the wall surrounding your gated neighborhood? The boundaries of your church, or your political party headquarters? Because if your community stops anywhere short of the edge of the map, then you are not a patriotic American. You are the problem."

Rob Rummel-Hudson said...

Of course, please do. (You too, Jennifer!)

Sherry said...

I agree whole-heartedly. But I'd like to take it a step further and say that Americans would be wise to start considering themselves a part of the GLOBAL community. I'm not sure if the map you made reference to is only a map of the USA or if it encompasses the world. But if more often than not your actions took into consideration the rest of us Earthlings, we might all be better off.

Rob Rummel-Hudson said...

I actually had a sentence about "citizens of the world" but I cut it. I figured I was pushing my luck just in asking Americans to actually give a shit about each other.

Sherry said...

lol... I guess baby steps are in order, huh?

Lori said...

Awesome post, Rob. These people have me so pissed off I can't see straight. And by "these people", no, I don't mean all Republicans. I mean the ones out there spreading hatred and fear and LIES, like Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, the people at town halls shouting down anyone trying to speak who is pro-reform.

leah said...

Parents who truly think a 30 minute PSA from the President will brainwash their children and turn them into liberal automatons should really re-evaluate their parenting skills.

They used to call people on the radical ends of the political spectrum the "lunatic fringe." A term that really should be brought back, at least in reference to all the fear mongers out there.

All I know is that if we had a public option, my son's hearing aids would have been covered, his nutritional supplements for being failure to thrive would have been covered, and his medication would have been covered. As it stands now, we fight for everything, and often lose. Because our current system considers hearing aids for children as "cosmetic." Yeah. He wears them because they're appearance enhancing. Sheesh.

Her Majesty, the Queen said...

Rob, I disagree with your politics, but I think that getting outraged by having THE PRESIDENT speaking at your kids' schools is crazy. That event is an honor, and we should be praising Obama for his efforts to talk to kids. Those of you who think it is a conspiracy to indoctrinate or otherwise brain wash BRAIN WASH!! Really?)children are out of your minds.

Robin said...

Rob, I work at a middle school in Plano and I can tell you that we received an email telling us that there will be a showing on Sept 10 of the address during the final period of school. I believe this is district-wide now.

I hope that helps instill a little faith back in PISD!

Jim Howard said...

I think that that video of the movie stars pledging to 'be a good servant of Barack' freaked some of us out, we don't want our kids growing up to be servants to any politicians. We'd prefer it be the other way around.

Obama seems to encourage this cult of personality, and we don't want our kids involved in it.

(Too late for me though. I have three grown kids, two are good conservatives, but I have one black sheep who has swallowed the Obama Koolaid. We pray for her every night. )

As Rob's token Republican fan boy, let me give you a link to famous Democrat Blogger Ann Althouse (law professor, Univ of Wisconsin):

Althouse

in which she addresses the silly way Joe Klein is SHOCKED SHOCKED that we wrasckly wepublicans are not showing sufficient respect for The One.

:) said...

My child attends Fairfax County Public Schools in the DC suburbs and we got an email stating that they would be showing the speech at a later time, and we would be getting a letter with the exact date and time, and the opportunity to opt our children out.

And I was irritated by that.

I agree - he is the PRESIDENT. And while I did happen to vote for him, I also happened to vote for W. And honestly, I am sickened by the partisan BS on both sides of the aisle. Sadly, it seems that very few people are interested in actually talking to each other and trying to come to a common understanding and the vast majority (that chooses to speak in a loud voice) would prefer to fight and belittle the other side. Its really too bad.

And the ambulance chaser in me is tempted to head to the school at the time of the presentation and see just how many kids are actually opted out....

H said...

This is so unbelievable to me that I don't even "get it" -- I can't possibly imagine why in the hell people think this is a bad thing for kids. I am an Obama supporter but had Bush1, Bush2 or Reagan done this, I honestly would not have given it a second thought. It truly baffles me. Thanks for a thoughtful post.

Jill said...

Thank you for this.

Little Blue World Photography said...

Other presidents have spoken to children. Reagan spoke about the importance of saying no to drugs and Bush spoke... well, I don't remember about what, but I DO remember he asked all children to send one dollar to children in Afghanistan because they needed food and medical help. THAT I think was wrong. It's wrong to drag kids into politics. But Obama intends to speak on the importance of staying in school and personal responsibility. People are reading into this what they want to believe and it just isn't there. Kick some PTA ass, Rob!

Anonymous said...

Yes, thank you for this. The madness has to end Republicans!

charlabob said...

Actually Reagan made a pitch about lowering taxes -- to school children. Difference between the rage of the left and the right is that no one pays any attention when the left is outraged; it's just business as usual. The right sneezes and we all get colds. And, for some reason, many of us fall for it. I'm really glad you don't, Rob -- as usual, good job!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Rob. I was so aghast and infuriated by this ridiculous turn of events I simply had no words to express my outrage. But I do now!

Sue

PinkLAM said...

I just don't get what the big deal is... why does everyone assume the president has some sort of secret agenda?! I actually go to school in PISD, and no less than a couple of days after that letter was sent, they sent home a different letter that we would be watching it during our study hall at my school. So I guess they're also leaving it up to the discretion of the schools?

It's weird... and stupid for it to be a controversy in the first place!

Anonymous said...

How could parents possibly be upset about a President who wants to encourage kids to stay in school and do their homework?

It's a simple concept yet people are turning it into some sort of Socialist, brainwashing agenda. I wonder if these same people will be around to apologize for their paranoia after watching the Obama speech themselves?

Lee in IL

stacy said...

Look, if you're conservative and you disagree with President Obama's policies, fine. But he's still the PRESIDENT. You don't have to revere him like you do Reagan, but you still must treat him with the same respect you would any other president. If he wants to address your children, as the president he has every right to do so. You don't agree with what he says? Fine. Discuss it with your children.

No other president in our history as a nation has been treated with the same vitriol and disrespect President Obama has. No, not even President Bush. Bush may have been ridiculed by the left, but that is not the same thing we're seeing with respect to President Obama. People are showing up with guns to rallies now. You do know that, right?

Furthermore, the idea that President Obama is revered among the left is bullshit. His approval ratings have dropped considerably, and most of that is from lefties who want him to shove their policies through. I go back and forth on this myself; sometimes I just want him to pass the policies he promised he would, and stop trying to find common ground where there is none. Other times I can't help but admire that he's only doing the one thing so many of us feel is lost in this country: trying to keep the level of political discourse sane by being civil and compromising.

stacy said...

If it's not clear, that comment was directed to Anon 7:52 and Paul Howard.

daniel said...

Wow, your country is WEIRD.

Rob Rummel-Hudson said...

Oh, you have no idea...

Nightfall said...

Well said, Stacy.

Andrea said...

I don't normally comment, but in this count I agree with you completely. The man is the President of the United States. And my school district in Ohio sent a letter home basically making sure I didn't have a problem with the President communicating with my kids?!? Definitely a WTF moment!!! The President! One that, yes, I voted for...but apparently a lot of other people did too because he won the election. Seriously, people, what kind of world do we live in when our kids can't hear with that President has to say.