Far right cries that Obama is bad for our children

Far right cries that Obama is bad for our children September 3, 2009

It appears that there is another outbreak of right-wing crazy, this time over President Obama’s innocuous plans to give a back-to-school address on Friday to our nation’s school children via video, as did both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush before him. This spectacle sadly reveals something of the political and/or racial paranoia that certain fringe elements submerge themselves in and spread to others, to the detriment of our democratic republic as a whole.

For one, the Florida Republican Party has gone  full-tilt crazy against Obama’s purported agenda of spreading his “socialist ideology,” charging that “schoolchildren across our nation will be forced to watch the president justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other president.” State party chairman Jim Greer even went so fas as calling Obama the “Pied Piper” — you remember, the shady character who lured kids away from home.

For an excellent commentary on this sad matter, see Joan Walsh’s Salon piece here:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/walsh/politics/2009/09/04/obama_back_to_school_speech/

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  • Frank

    Well the Republicans do have quite a prominent strain of anti-intellectualism going with plainspoken poster children like GWB, Palin & Wurzlebacher playing to the folks in Boonfoggle. Naturally they don’t want Obama talking to their kids. His image alone conjures nightmares of where an uppity black kid with a stange name can go if he perseveres with his education. A scary prospect indeed!

  • phosphorious

    Obama does X; Conservatives outraged!”

    There. . . now you don’t have to buy a newspaper for the next four (or 8!) years.

  • Marjorie Campbell

    I thought Walsh’s piece unhelpful, both in its gross characterization of the right and in – again – alleging that rascism is at the core of the over-reactive reaction. I think it was the suggestion to school teachers that they require all the students to write a letter to President Obama on how they were going to help promote his agenda (one of several suggested classroom exercises and one which might well have been misreported, I don’t know for sure) that provided fuel and flame for those already deeply frightened and opposed to projects of the President that seem radical, even socialist to them. It’s a shame that capable writers don’t use their skills to rationally and calmly address underlying fears, rather than engage in the hyperbole that drives traffic and sells copy.

  • What is most outrageous is that Reagan DID use his address for as a means of propaganda, telling the students about the evils of taxes. Where was the outrage then?

  • “Where was the outrage then?”

    It should be recognized that all the “outrage” we see today (Birthers, Tea Baggers, Tenth Amendmenters, and now this) is orchestrated by a handful of political manipulators, including Members of Congress, media entertainers (Limbaugh, Beck, Savage), 501c3 organizations, media commentators, networks (FOX), bloggers, and so forth. There is nothing about this that is spontaneous. It is a coordinated political stratagem, pure and simple.

    The purpose of this stratagem is to manipulate the fears and passions of ordinary Americans in order to accumulate power and wealth for the manipulators. There is little more to it than this. Citizens are being used as a blunt political instrument for gains they will never see. They are being deceived. They will suffer as a result.

    For instance, Texans are a proud and decent people. But in the governors race, ordinary Texans are being stirred up by politicians with talk of succession. There is an independent streak in Texas. But none of what we see is serious. Texas is not going to succeed. Yet the passions are real nonetheless, and they are dangerous and ugly. Sadly, ordinary Texans are being used for cheap electoral purposes. To the rest of the country, these proud people appear dimwitted and downright crazy. But they are not.

    The simple truth is that Texans are as patriotic as any people in this country. When called upon, they will commit their blood and treasure to the very same America they now shout against. Its a tragedy that decent people are used in this way.

    There should be more targeted criticism directed against political manipulators. In the last month, Glenn Beck has lost nearly 60 sponsors of his program for calling Obama a racist. Dick Armey’s Freedom Works has been under scrutiny and he has been forced to resign as Senior Advisor to a lobby firm. Organizations like Freedom Works should be put under increased scrutiny and their stratagems made more and more understandable to ordinary people.

    Likewise, there should be a concerted attempt to undo the strangle hold that the liberal/conservative model for political dialogue has on media programming. More focus should be on the integrity of ideas. We must do all we can to eliminate the either/or Manicheanism of today’s political ethos.

    Finally, more effort should be made by moderates to reach out to those who live in Fear of losing their way of life. I’m speaking of the many decent people in America who live in fear of tomorrow. They, too, should be made to feel like their America — the America they love — is being protected and made better. In a pluralist and democratic society can we do any less?

    Ordinary Americans are not evil. They have a proud tradition of coming to the aid of this country whenever or wherever they are called. They are well-represented even now in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, farmers and businessmen just like are found everywhere.

    As Louis Armstrong says in “What a Wonderful World,” a man doesn’t want much. He just wants to care for his family and contribute to the community. He just wants a better life for himself and those he loves. That’s about all most of us want.

    There needs to be more discussion of the moral aspects of the problems we face together as a community. We need to create a new political language. Obama made strides to that end in the last election, especially his articulation of the dynamics of race. Each leader in America needs to do more. We are all in this boat together. For that reason alone, community should be reflected in our national dialogue.

  • Kurt

    Thank you, Gerald.

  • Mick

    Your headline made me laugh out loud. Obama IS bad for unborn children, and he’s not that good for the born ones, either.

  • They’re still yapping about how “socialist” he is?

  • Had Obama announced that he was sending out a “stay in school” message to inner city schools, though, there would be no uproar from the republicans. Only applause.