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08 September 2009

Stay In School

I am just going to post Dr. Plait's blog entry on this here. I am so saddened and dumfounded by the reactions of the right on this that I probably couldn't say anything even remotely kind... And before you think I am giving the Dems a free pass, no, they showed their fucktardery when George Sr did his bit... Why are the majority of our elected officials such fucking idiots? I'm starting to think they all dropped out of school (right onto their pointy little heads!).

Perhaps you’ve heard all the uproar about President Obama’s speech today. A group of folks is very concerned about a speech of his today, because he’s talking to schoolkids. And hey, didn’t Hitler talk to kids…?

That’s about as good as their logic gets. I wish I were kidding. Read the transcript of Obama’s speech, and see if you can find the alarming parts where he calls for the formation of Brown Shirts, or the extermination of a group of humans, or the invasion of Poland. I must have missed it, instead seeing things like where he says,

Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.

Call the Allies! Load the B-29s!
Seriously, read this whole speech. It’s inspiring, wonderful, and designed to inspire kids to stay in school, accept the responsibility of the education, learn things, and then go and and do good for the world.
Of course, there is a lunatic fringe in this country who will go ballistic about Obama no matter what he does; these are the ones saying the speech is indoctrinating children into accepting his socialist health care plan that will mutilate puppies and convert our elderly into Soylent Green. These people may be rabid racists, or simply mentally unbalanced, but we know for a rock solid fact that these people are utterly, completely wrong. Whatever you want to call them, it’s clear they are so far from the norm of the American people that they can’t even see the horizon from where they are. Simply reading the speech transcript shows that simply and clearly. But it’s also a fact that this subset of the population will always be with us.
But you know what? That doesn’t mean we have to give them a voice in the mainstream press. They have a right to their speech, but that doesn’t obligate anyone to pay attention to them, especially on the platform of national TV. I’m looking you right in the eye, Fox News. Not only do you give these people — factually wrong and provably so — a voice, you reiterate their comments and use your own voice to back them up.
This sort of thing mainstreams a view that is charitably called crazy. Again, I urge you to read Obama’s actual speech. It’s awesome, and something every kid should see and hear.
Yet because "news" media like Fox have aired so much invective from the wildly fringe reality-polluting community, even mainstream folks are arguing that Obama’s speech is evil. I saw a news report yesterday about an elementary school in North Carolina where they didn’t air the speech because so many parents complained. I can’t help but wonder what they would would have said if George Bush had made this same speech. Of course, Bush never would have said something like:

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

And maybe if he had said those words, the people I’m talking about would’ve complained anyway. Critical thinking skills? Ha!
If I sound angry, then, yeah, I am. I’m tired of ignorance held up as inspiration, where vicious anti-intellectualism is considered a positive trait, and where uninformed opinion is displayed as fact.
It’s killing any real debate in this country, where the system of government depends utterly on a well-informed public. When rampant idiocy is presented as reasonable discourse without any rebuttal, then we all suffer.
What we need are government officials not afraid to talk like Barney Frank did to such a voice of lunacy. To reiterate, crackpots have a right to air their diseased notions, just as we have the right to tear those ideas to shred when they do. More than that, the news media have a responsibility to do so.
Let me leave you with this revolutionary and dangerous notion from President Obama:

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

I would add that we all need to not be afraid to speak out against nonsense and to call out willful ignorance when we see it.
Never give up. Never back down against evil. Never tire, because this struggle will be eternal.


Ivan3man said...

As a British citizen, I find what is going on in U.S. domestic politics very peculiar and perplexing; it's as though the whole bloody country is engaged in an undeclared civil war -- a war of cultures.

Larian LeQuella said...

As someone said, "If Obama made a speech in support of oxygen, at least 10% of the nation would suffocate themselves in protest."

JD Curtis said...

The problem with the speech, Ivan, was that initially, following the speech, students were to write a paper on (I'm paraphrasing) "how they can best help the president". This gave conservatives in this country a bit of angst. Just replace the word "president" with "Dear Leader" in order to understand what I mean.

Ivan3man said...

Oh, so you're back, JD; I would like to ask you: what would have been the response from you 'conservatives' had that same school speech been given by a W.A.S.P. Republican president?

Larian LeQuella said...

Is that really something to get upset about? If the President gave a speech about getting an education and being personally responsible, and the students wrote something about how they would help the president by being educated and personally responsible... Sorry, I don't see the problem. your analogy fails on so many levels it's not even funny. I guess it would be funny if you hadn't shown yourself to be a profiling racist by your demeanor and comments.

Name one item from the speech that was objectionable that the students shouldn't discuss. This should be funny.

JD Curtis said...

what would have been the response from you 'conservatives' had that same school speech been given by a W.A.S.P. Republican president?

We know what the democrat's response would be Ivan because Bush 41 once gave a speech in front of high school kids. From Tuesday's Byron York article...

" when President George H.W. Bush delivered a similar speech on October 1, 1991, from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC, the controversy was just beginning. Democrats, then the majority party in Congress, not only denounced Bush's speech -- they also ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate its production and later summoned top Bush administration officials to Capitol Hill for an extensive hearing on the issue."

Read the whole thing.. Link

Ivan3man said...

Well, JD, that article just reaffirms my opinion of the perplexing and peculiar U.S. brand of "yah boo sucks" politics -- like immature adolescents squabbling in the school yard.

Maybe it's something to do with U.S. bipartisan politics, which you don't get in Europe because of multiple parties and the proportional representation voting system instead of the first-past-the-post system that you have in the U.S. as well as here in Britain, but it's not as bad here as over there, because here there are at least three main parties -- Conservative, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats -- and you don't have to be a rich bastard nor to declare a belief in 'god' (I choose not to capitalize that noun, thank-you-very-much!) in order to run for office.

JD Curtis said...

It's like a trade-off Ivan (IMHO). With the two-party system, things got done. No "vote of no confidence " crap. Regularly scheduled elections. You knew when they were coming. Never mind this trying to form a coalition with another party stuff.

I've heard that the legislators in GB have less power than our members of congress here. Quote:

One of the beauties of your system is that you have a proper separation of powers, so a legislator can make an honourable career for himself without wanting to join the executive. As things stand, that can't happen in the British system. I'm very keen to import the most successful elements of your system - open primaries, elected sheriffs, a local sales tax, local referendums, the direct election of public officials - and I've written a book about how to do it called The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain.

In Britain, we are run by a massive bureaucracy, and the position of the elected person is incredibly weak and is getting weaker every day. One of the reasons we are in this financial mess is that the budgets are set by members of the executive who are personal beneficiaries of state spending, rather than by the members of the legislature who are champions of the taxpayer."

Link to Daniel Hannan interview