Copyright © 2009 Henrietta W. Hay
"Stay in School" - Indoctrination?
September 11, 2009
I have been following the health care hassle with interest and even some amusement. At first the Republican far right protests seemed just silly, But then they got more and more vicious. I watched the "Town Halls" with yelling and screaming and name calling and occasional guns and there wasn't anything funny about them.
I certainly don't understand the details of the attempt to achieve universal health care. But I understand even less how a man who was elected President of the United States by 60% of Americans on a platform of change has suddenly been turned by the right wing into Adolph Hitler. He looks the same and his voice is the same and I have not once heard him say "Heil". But the far right is trying to convince the rest of us that it is true. They say the Democrats are trying to take over the country, to make us a socialist nation.
I was even willing to give them credit again for just being silly, and ignorant, for their not knowing the difference between fascism, communism, socialism and democracy.
Then they dropped health care for a few days and rushed to protect their children be from a speech to be broadcast by the President, urging the children to study hard stay in school..
And then I got a copy of a letter my son Dave sent to the Houston Chronicle. It made me realize that if my little kid (well, he is a little past 60) would speak out, his mother should do it too.
This is part of his letter.
"I am dumbfounded. The President of the United States wants to speak directly to the youth of America on the importance of education in their lives. This is a message that goes to the heart of preparing this nation for all perils it has to face. It is only an educated population that will be able to defend us against all the currently unknown hazards that the future is going to throw our way.
I weep for our future."
The whole political situation today is enough to make us all weep. We have a serious two party health care fight going on, the possibility of fighting three wars and a $1 trillion deficit. So we have time to worry about letting the President urge our kids to stay in school. He plans to speak directly to students about the need to work hard and stay in school. His address will be shown live from the White House. Now Republican critics are calling it an effort to foist a political agenda on children, creating yet another confrontation with the White House.
Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush both spoke to the school children early in their administrations. The nation did not fall apart.
Probably not many students stayed in school as a result of the early speeches, nor will they necessarily follow Mr. Obama's advice. But all three were efforts to make contact with the youth of the county.
I would venture the opinion that lots of the kids whose parents do not want them contaminated know Rush Limbaugh fairly well.
Districts in states including Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia and Wisconsin have decided not to show the speech to students. Others are still thinking it over or are letting parents have their kids opt out.
School District 51 is giving parents an option. Many schools are sending notes home for parents to sign if they wish their innocent children to see it.
I think of these children in the future, knowing that in their most sensitive years they were denied a chance to listen to their President because their parents thought it would damage them. What will they think of the office of the Presidency of the United States? Will they be able to understand that their government its good points and its bad points -and they need to understand both? Will they want to learn or will they be restricted by prejudice?
Here again is a sentence from my son David.
"It is only an educated population that will be able to defend us against all the currently unknown hazards that the future"
Come on, kids, open your minds.