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Not Listening

My local newspaper had this article as the front page story:

“Obama speech causes nationwide stir”

Apparently, parents are contemplating keeping kids at home so that they will not be exposed to the president’s address.

What?

It’s not like Mr. Obama is saying “You should tell your parents to support the inclusion of the public option.” He’s going to talk to the boys and girls of this, the nation in which he functions as the chief executive officer, and tell them that education is important and that being part of the 30% of the high school population that doesn’t make it to graduation is a less-than-stellar idea.

What’s to complain about?

Obama is not Stalin (talk to me after you compare Obama’s pogram efficacy to Old Joe’s). Obama is not Hitler (talk to me after you compare their internment camp policies). He’s the president who won his position by a democratic process. Even if you don’t like what he says, even if you cringe at every word (as I did under the malapropism mudslides that came with the infrequent public addresses of GW Bush), to say that you’re going to prevent exposure to the ideas by plugging your years or keeping your kids home in protest is the height of willful ignorance.

For the record, other luminary organizations that engaged in this behavior were: Catholic Church on “does Jupiter have moons (15th-17th century),” recording industry (circa 2000), “should the testimony of this girl be used to hang women as witches? (late 17th c., Salem, MA). See how well those worked out?

I don’t know what misplaced sense of loyalty would encourage parents to “sick-out” their kid to avoid a “study hard, this country needs you” speech. Mr. Obama is trying to say “education is important as are the skills in critical thinking it engenders.” Putting a kid on sick-out says exactly the opposite to the child. When I was a child, the president (and his wife) frequently advised us to “Just Say No,” in an era where international competition is stronger, we’re up to our eyeballs in Chinese debt, and can only seem to grow our economy by inventing crazy debt instruments, having a president say “Just Say Yes to Basic Education” is needed and ought be heard.

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