Monday, September 07, 2009

dogs and cats, living together!

I have a very politically diverse Facebook circle, being that most of my childhood and college friends are staunchly conservative, and since then I've lived in two of the most liberal cities in America.

I grew up in a solidly conservative Southern Baptist home; my family is very Republican. I went to a Southern Baptist college and have a minor in Religion. My family and my professors always encouraged me to think for myself, and I ended up somewhat politically liberal. Now, I enjoy a nice, healthy, respectful political debate as much as the next guy. The key word being RESPECTFUL. What I do not understand is this apparently rabid (on Facebook, anyway) mass hysteria over President Obama addressing the school children about education.

First of all, let's set aside for a moment the fact that conservatives are calling Obama a socialist. *yawn* This is an out-of-hand response to suggesting Americans have a better health care system? Give. me. a. break. Let's say, for argument's sake, that I pay 4x the national average in taxes. (I don't. Just saying.) The fire department wouldn't come to my house 4x faster if it were on fire. The hot water doesn't come out of my faucet 4x hotter. If I can afford 4x better health care I should be able to get it, but shouldn't a baseline of care be available to those who can't? There are a lot of unemployed people right now. They don't deserve to go to a doctor if they're sick? No one's telling you there's going to be a bread line here. Anyway, the President is talking about education. To school children. He's not sneaking a message for socialism into the kool-aid. In fact, there probably won't even be kool-aid, given its negative connotations.

Second of all, President Obama is not the first POTUS to address the youth of America, and he's certainly not the first POTUS to address education. I do not believe for a moment that conservatives do not think education is important, so I know it's not about the subject matter. And also, if you don't like what he has to say, you have a perfect opportunity to talk to your children about it. Isn't family a mainstay of the GOP? Don't you always hear conservatives lecturing that liberals would rather have government raise their kids than family? Then bam. Your kids hear a speech at school, which- let's face it, they won't really listen to anyway, then you have a reason to have a very real, very important conversation with your children about their schooling.

Third, we live in a democratic republic. The majority of the people in this country that voted, voted for Obama. And that's they way it is, for four years. You don't like it? That's why we have term limits. I didn't vote for President Bush in his second term (I did in his first-- see how bipartisan I am?) but I said the same thing then that I say now: for now, he is your President. He won the election. He doesn't need our permission to address public school children, or the rest of the nation, about any subject of his choosing. And this mass hysteria over his speech on education is really sending the wrong message to your children. One of my (conservative Republican) friends on FB said "If you don't like it, keep your kids home. But in 50 years they'll be telling their kids how you kept them home from school the day the first black President spoke to the nation's children." She's right, and that's a sad and scary thought.

Obviously, government is a necessary evil, and I am under no impression that we will always all agree on well, anything. I think it's interesting to have opposing opinions about things, and I'm glad that God made us all so different. I wish that everyone on Facebook, and everyone else, too, could respect their fellow man, and respect their leaders. I know it's not going to happen, but a girl can dream, right?

Anyway, happy Labor Day. I slept in, and laid around all morning watching a Golden Girls marathon on cable. I'm going to walk the beast, and then take public transportation to meet an old friend for drinks. Life is good here. We're lucky to live here, no matter who the president is right now. I hope you take a moment to remember that today.