Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Speech Madness

How about a Presidential talk like this to students.....

"And to the C students I say you too can be president of the United States.

"A Yale degree is worth a lot, as I often remind Dick Cheney who studied here, but left a little early.

"So now we know, if you graduate from Yale, you become president. If you drop out, you get to be vice president.

"This is my first time back here in quite a while, I'm sure that each of you will make your own journey back at least a few times in your life. If you're like me, you won't remember everything you did here... [Dick Broadhead and I] both put a lot of time in at the Sterling Library, in the reading room where they have those big leather couches. We had a mutual understanding - Dick wouldn't read aloud, and I wouldn't snore......" Sis boom!

Yes, that was "W" talking to students at the 300th commencement of Yale University in 2001.

George W. Bush took pride in his smart aleck approach to education, and governing. He wore his lack of intellectual curiosity as a badge of honor.... and our country is still paying the price in Iraq and Afghanistan, in our trashed economy, in the failed government-mandated "No Child Left Behind" fiasco, in the gutting of standards from food safety to Wall Street regulatory oversight.

Yesterday another President talked to students. He told them how his mother made him study hard, and talked to them about their education....

"But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, the best schools in the world -- and none of it will make a difference, none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities, unless you show up to those schools, unless you pay attention to those teachers, unless you listen to your parents and grandparents and other adults and put in the hard work it takes to succeed. That's what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education."

Just how did the far-right, family values, moral "decider" conservatives react to Barack Obama's talk over C-Span to students?... why they threw a hissy-fit and tried to stop such a speech. They boycotted, pressured their school administrators to not show the speech, kept their children out of school so they wouldn't be exposed to.... to what?

What was the reception in places say... like Texas, where recently conservative stumpers have been exhorting Texas to secede from the Union.... not the AFL-CIO union, but the United States of America. That Union. As the New York Times observed...

"The uproar over the speech erupted most vigorously, perhaps, in Texas, and some districts there reversed the opt-out procedure: the only students they allowed to watch the president were those whose parents called or e-mailed with explicit permission.

"J. W. Williams Middle School in Rockwall, Tex., used that system. The result was that 100 of the school’s 900 students filed into a library to see the speech projected on a big screen...."

Cooler heads in the GOP made belated attempts to support Obama's pep-talk to students, but it's hard to escape the obvious.... what the tea party-birther-secessionists on the right are protesting isn't the speech, but the man. The black man.

What is astounding is how the GOP leadership seems cowed by such over-the-top behavior. Perhaps they have just lost sight of their humanity... for if everyone around you is mad, then that becomes the new sanity.