September 9, 2009

What are We Afraid of?

I still don't understand how a speech to the youth of our country sparked so much controversy.

Since the news came out that Obama was going to address our nation's children last week, my district began receiving angry parent calls... on both sides of the spectrum. Some argued that we didn't have a right to expose their children to his socialist agenda; others argued that any efforts to keep the speech from airing was racially motivated.

The district, and my principal, decided to leave the decision in the hand of each teacher rather than make a decision for all. They did, however, give parents the option of writing a note to excuse their children from any speech-related activities. Luckily for me, the speech aired during lunch, so I hadn't planned to use it yesterday anyway. I am, however, thinking of using it as a part of my persuasion unit (along with MLK Jr. and many other leaders).

I received one parent letter. Only one. But one was enough to frustrate me!

What are these parents so afraid of? The text of the speech was made public well in advance (and well before I received the letter), and it was completely innocuous.

And even if it weren't... do parents really think it's a good idea to shelter their children from any ideas that go against their own? Don't they want their children to learn to think for themselves? Whether religion or politics, I think my beliefs have only been strengthened through times of learning about alternative points of view. How do you know what you stand for if you don't know what you stand against?

If staying in school, being respectful to your teachers and setting goals for your future makes you a socialist, then I'll take my armband now.

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