An Education President

Letter Writers React to the Reaction to Obama’s Schools Speech

Since when can’t a President address the nation’s students about the importance of education without being accused of political posturing? Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush made similar speeches during their presidencies and nobody said doodley-squat. Methinks the right doth protest too much.-Mike Mullins

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I am angry and disheartened but hardly surprised at the uproar regarding President Obama’s back-to-school speech. He stresses the importance of education and inspires American children to dream big for the future and work hard to achieve their goals. In order to appease those parents who threatened to keep their children out of school that day in order to keep them safe from his “socialist” and “communist” propaganda, the White House decided to release the transcript prior to the speech. That was never required of any previous president. It’s ridiculous, insulting, transparent and won’t satisfy his detractors who look for fault in everything the Obamas do.

I had hoped that perhaps with Obama’s election we Americans had taken a step forward, but it seems what we see now blatantly raging out in the open was merely quietly masked. Protesters at presidential appearances toting loaded weapons is unheard of (however “legal” it may be in some states), and, given our history of presidents and guns, is unbelievable. He wore a bulletproof topcoat on inauguration day and the Obamas ride in “The Beast,” which was built to withstand any kind of attack, domestic or otherwise.

Our president fights an uphill battle trying to fix what was waiting for him along with the unwillingness of some to accept the changing face of America. I admire his strength but fear for him and his young family.

Here is a link to the full text of Obama’s speech to schoolkids, the speech that Republicans are keeping their kids home so they won’t hear it. You can read the speech below, and notice that it’s harmless and well-meaning, the sort of civic-minded exhortation to right-thinking that you’d expect an elected official to say. It’s quite nice, really. No slogans, no references to war, no rhetoric of the left or right. Or, you can be like most Republicans and say that you don’t need to read it, that you know its communist and socialist, regardless of what the speech actually says. But if you do choose to glance over it, you might find it a bit bland, but you won’t find anything that warrants keeping your kids home.

What’s the fuss, then? Why are the Republicans so outraged? Why the deluge of Southern accents over the airwaves saying that the President is up to no good? Well, to understand the outrage, you have to visit, and read about the programs, the plans, the analysis, the invitations to action, all administered by a Black man, a man that a generation ago, would have had to stand aside and call those radio announcers “sir.” And all those drawling goons on the radio, would have enjoyed the privilege of calling Obama “boy,” and if a man of color complained about it, well a night or two in the slammer would have taught the fella to mind his betters.

Those days are fading, but they won’t go quietly. You can expect the drawling radio goons to scream louder, punch harder and ultimately try to shoot their way back to those days when they were in charge, those days when someone like Obama could never get away with being uppity. Republicans will start to push more “death panel” fabrications, more “not a citizen” silliness, or perhaps resurrect the “whitey tape” nonsense. But don’t expect them to fade quietly into history. Like those nightmarishly rude neighbors that you can’t get rid of, the more you complain, the louder they’ll get.-Joanne Diaz, Santa Barbara

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