On September 8, President Obama will be talking directly to students across the U.S. live on the White House website. Instead of looking at this as a positive thing for their children to hear a message from their President himself, Yahoo blogger Lili Ladaga tells us that “parents and conservatives are blasting the president, calling the speech an excuse to brainwash American children.” This idea is ludicrous. How will the country ever be a united country when ever attempt at bringing us together is treated with paranoia and distrust.
Presidents speaking directly to school children is nothing new as Ladaga points out:
Both Presidents George Bush and Ronald Reagan gave nationally televised speeches aimed specifically at students. In 1989, Bush delivered a televised anti-drug speech, and Reagan’s 1986 commencement speech and Q&A session was “beamed over public television into 171 school districts,” according to the L.A. Times
Was this brainwashing to have Bush warn of the dangers of drug use? Was it wrong for Reagan to tell young people to work hard in school in order to be good citizens? Republicans will say “well, that was different.” I think it could be considered brainwashing to have “I’m proud to be an American” piped in through my kids’ school sound system day after day after day while they were in elementary school. Now that IS brainwashing. Conservatives don’t think it’s brainwashing or indoctrination to keep “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance that kids have to say every day, but it is. The ones whining about Obama’s upcoming talk are the same ones who keep pushing for prayer in public school and for religion to be taught side-by-side with science, and don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But gasp, a liberal Democratic president telling their kids to stay in school and work hard and teachers asking for them to offer their ideas of how they can help the President is going to brainwash them?
All children whether they come from Democratic households or Republican should be able to think of something to offer as a suggestion to help the president, even if the Bible believing ones say “I will pray for him” (which is what they most likely will do.) This is not a brainwashing session. Some people and the media circus have been using fearmongering to make Obama look as if he is about to do something terrible to their children.
Now it would be wrong if teachers are forcing kids to draw posters supporting Obama’s issues, or making speeches promoting Obama’s stances, but is that really what is going to happen? Some conservatives I have talked to say that is exactly what they are worried about.
Here are some of the opinions about the whole thing:
“I sent my children to school to be educated NOT indoctrinated.” — justamom
[but it's okay to indoctrinate their kids in their churches] (my emphasis)
“The fact that people want to keep their kids from hearing the President of the United States encourage them to do well in school shows a true level of ignorance.” — Firefey
[Yes, indeed it does. They are afraid their child will be presented with another idea other than what they hear from home indoctrination.]
“As an [sic] 9th grade student, I’d like to say that 1. I’m not sure why everyone is so scared that we’ll all be brainwashed by the President … 2. My school is one that is not allowing us to watch the speech, and quite frankly, I’m pissed.” — Willbw
[High school students and older elementary school students are offended at not being allowed to hear what the president has to say and form their own opinions.]
Obama stated the intention of his talk last month:
“I’m going to be making a big speech to young people all across the country about the importance of education; about the importance of staying in school; how we want to improve our education system and why it’s so important for the country. So I hope everybody tunes in.”
How is asking for ideas from the students themselves indoctrinating them? Why aren’t parents taking advantage of this opportunity to discuss with their children the pros and cons of the current educational system and what can be done to make it better instead of “indoctrinating” them with their own prejudices and fears.