105 Ways to Give a Book

A Political Interlude

Obama is giving a speech to students on Tuesday that will focus on the need to work hard and stay in school. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it will include something about the value of reading books as well. Seems like pretty basic stuff. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why people are losing their shit over this.

Here’s a sample of the opposition’s viewpoint, as reported by The Washington Post:
Some conservatives, driven by radio pundits and bloggers, are urging schools and parents to boycott the address. They say Obama is using the opportunity to promote a political agenda and is overstepping the boundaries of federal involvement in schools.

Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer said in a statement he was “absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology.”

“As far as I am concerned, this is not civics education — it gives the appearance of creating a cult of personality,” said Oklahoma Republican state Sen. Steve Russell. “This is something you’d expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”
Political agenda? Socialist ideology? Saddam Hussein’s Iraq? WTF!

I was agitated by the shout-downs in town hall meetings and the gun-toting nutjobs outside of them, but at least I understood the fear behind those actions. Health care reform is big and complicated and kind of scary. There’s a lot of bad information out there that people take as fact instead of doing the reading themselves.

In fact — if I might digress for a moment — the best thing I’ve seen on health care reform and the real issues is a four-minute video from John Green. Actually, the best best thing is from ThoughtBubbler, which takes John Green’s words and puts them with illustrations that brought my eighth grader up to speed. It should be required viewing for everyone before saying one word in the health care debates.

Anyway, my point is that there are a lot of actual issues to expend your energy on, and this back-to-school speech is so not one of them. If you think it is, then it is time to turn off Fox news, go outside, and take a deep breath. Let it out — along with all the displaced anxiety that’s feeding these ridiculous debates. Now is the time to Open Your Minds, America, before we tear this country apart.

20 comments:

1stdaughter said...

My thoughts exactly! Thank you for sharing and stating it so well.

Lee Wind said...

You're right - John Green's video explanation of the Health Care Debate was awesome!
Namaste,
Lee

Anna Alter said...

Well said! I think the right is so desperate to foil Obama's presidency that they are grasping at straws. Bush can get away with outright lying to the public and Obama is criticized for encouraging school kids and trying to help everyone get health care? Crazy.

Teacherninja said...

I thought Ws first election was a total scam an never considered him legitimate in any way, yet if I heard he was making a speech like the one Obama's making, of course I would have watched it with the kids. Just because I don't agree with someone's politics doesn't mean I can't listen to them SOMEtimes--especially on things we agree on. And it's also good to hear dissenting views so you can test your own. For crying out loud, it's like they want to cover their ears and shout "LA LA LA!" so they don't have to hear anything they MIGHT not agree with. Sheesh.

Jenny said...

Amen. Thanks for so wisely putting your thoughts out there.

Steven (Book Dads) said...

I couldn't have said it better. Thank you!

Melissa said...

Do I hear an A-MEN? Yes, I do.

Thanks, Pam, for voicing your opinions.

Rebecca said...

AMEN. seriously.

Laughing Stars said...

Thumbs up from me, too.

Anonymous said...

I'm unsubscribing from your feed. Just thought you would like to know. It's too bad you had to get all political on here...

Jules at 7-Imp said...

Amen.

Thanks for the John Green link. I need to watch that already.

Diane said...

Thank you for putting your thoughts into words. I sent an excerpt from your post - crediting you of course - to my sons' schools to underscore our opinion about the school's decision to leave the televising of the program up to individual teachers.

MotherReader said...

Thanks for the supportive comments. I haven't done much political here as of late, but it's getting to the point where I'm feeling like if we are silent in supporting our President then we let the people who oppose him set the tone and the discourse.

And Anonymous, should you come back to see my comment, I'm sorry to lose you as a reader and do appreciate you letting me know why. In a way, though, it makes my point for me - that as a people, we don't expose ourselves to other points of view or work to establish a dialogue. It's a trend that as individuals, stifles our intellect and as a collective, stalls our country.

Vivian said...

I'll have to check out the video. Thanks for the links!

Saints and Spinners said...

If Obama's predecessor were to have given a speech to students telling them to focus on their studies and strive to do their best, those who opposed it would have been called "un-American". In fact, I remember that many objections to Obama's predecessor were called "un-American". I hope that everyone who objects to Obama's planned speech would have been equally critical of the president before him.

Sherry said...

Some of us, even some of us who oppose almost everything Obama stands for, are still sane:

http://thinklings.org/posts/conservatives-and-paranoia

I'm with Jared.

The Brain Lair (KB) said...

The Thought Bubble video should be required watching along with the Presidents speech!

MotherReader said...

Sherry, thanks for the link and for keeping a clear head. I know that you're no Obama fan, so it says a lot to me that you can see the good - or at least lack of harm - in this speech. I really what Jared has to say, and not only for his viewpoint but for his ability to engage and respond to his readers in a way that is thoughtful, civil and courteous. And it seems that his commenters - what I read so far - are responding to and questioning his points in the same manner. I wish we could take that kind of conversation out to a broader scale.

Kelly said...

I hadn't seen that video. Ohmygoshit'sfrickin'perfect!!!

I am going to send it to everyone I know right NOW.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

(And I never mind a political digression post, btw. :)

adrienne said...

Thanks for the link to the John Green video. I'd missed it (I'm, obviously, behind on things lately), and it was interesting.