Friday, September 4, 2009

Stupid Is

I have been watching with facination the recent controversy over the President's speech to school children scheduled for the day after labor day. Big chunks of the "Ropublican'ts" are up in arms that the President would dare speak to school children. Some of the "Democranks" are up in arms that the issue is even arrising. As a long-time school leader, I have found myself sypathizing with school leaders across the country who are damned if they show the speech and damned if they don't.

In 1991 President George H.W.Bush gave a similar speech to students. This was a year before his reelection campaign. I was a superintendent and didn't much care for that president--I found his push for vouchers and his unending criticism of schools offputting. Some questioned the political motivation and timing. My district, like most, showed the speech which turned out to be a rather benign call for students to apply themselves. Early reports are that President Obama plans a similar call to duty. So, what's all the fuss?

It appears there is a sizeable segment of our country who thinks anything this president does is tainted and that he is out to "brainwash" our youth. Since these are the same folks who like to compare him to Hitler or call him a "socialist" (that is a straddle that stretches credulity and the hamstrings!) they feel he is some dark influence. I suspect some see him as the Dark Lord Volemort from Harry Potter. I kind of thought that might have been Dick Cheney, but what do I know?

Let's get a grip folks. He is the President, recently elected and he won't be running again for over three years. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. If he is dumb enough to try to turn this event into a political one or one that pushes his agenda then he will deserve all the opprobrium that will come his way. Since when is this country a place that the duly elected President can't speak to our children and ask more of them? I keep seeing protests on television that people are screaming they want their country back. Well, so do I. I want an America where the President is, if not revered, at least respected and where the crazies don't dictate what everyone else can see and do. Forrest Gump's mother used to tell him that "stupid is as stupid does." Let's stop "doing" stupid, if only for a little while.

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