Stay in school? How dare you, Mr. President. How dare you.

I received an e-mail from the Superintendent of my son’s school district over the holiday weekend, which read in part:

I am [writing]  today to share how we are planning to handle the upcoming address to students that is scheduled to be delivered by President Obama on September 8. I have asked that staff follow our typical process for selecting any instructional resource. We first preview instructional materials and make a professional determination regarding whether the content is appropriate and aligned with our instructional goals. With this, we will not be showing the President’s address as a live feed but will review the video and make a determination after the live presentation.

The e-mail goes on to say that teachers will contact parents and tell them if the video is to be used.

Has everyone lost their diddy minds?

The Superintendent of my son’s school district actually sent out an e-mail that contained the phrase, “how we are planning to handle the upcoming address to students that is scheduled to be delivered by President Obama.” To HANDLE it? The district needed to examine how to HANDLE it when the President of the United States wanted to send a message to kids? The SUPERINTENDENT said that the district will need to “make a professional determination regarding whether the content is appropriate and aligned with our instructional goals.” What the hell? This is not the change I wanted. Where the hell did my country go?

Let’s start with the obvious. The president’s speech was always going to be available as a televised feed. It was never mandatory that any school district play it live, or play it at all for that matter. The president was going to speak to schools kids. The end. If, for example, a district was starting today with a shortened day, they certainly weren’t being told they must keep kids in school for extended hours just to watch it, and it better air live. They were told, the president has a message for school kids.

Then came the crazies. Indoctrination! Not my child! Hey, here’s a great idea. Let’s go ahead and break it down. We’ll go with dictionary.com for easy reference, and we’ll use the first definition offered for each:

indoctrinate – to instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc., esp. to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view.

doctrine – a particular principle, position, or policy taught or advocated, as of a religion or government.

principle – an accepted or professed rule of action or conduct.

ideology – the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.

imbue – to impregnate or inspire, as with feelings, opinions, etc.

partisan – biased

biased – partisan

Okay, I did those last two without looking it up, I confess. But taking these, let’s REPHRASE the term, indoctrinate, and then use it in a sentence so I can understand clearly the need to protest the President’s speech.

So Mr. Beck and Mr. Hannity say, “I don’t want Obama to indoctrinate the youth of America.” The translation then, is, “I don’t want Obama to instruct the youth of America with any accepted policies or codes of conduct or beliefs that guide the country and I ESPECIALLY don’t want him to impregnate the children.” Woah…. no WONDER everyone is so up in arms. The President wants to impregnate our kids. Damn.

This truly exemplifies my frustration, but not just my frustration with the wackadoodles who insist that the President was somehow going to brainwash our kids with his partisan message of STAY IN SCHOOL! I think my real frustration is starting to steer AWAY from the Becks and the Hannitys of the world (I mean really, how can I be frustrated with people who make me laugh so much?), and is slowly being put squarely on the shoulders of this administration. Enough with the Gumby act already. You won. There is simply no need to be so damn bendy.

For all the nonsense I hear about how President Obama somehow lacks integrity, he sure is sticking to his word. His door has remained open to all voices of dissention. His door has remained open to the naysayers and the angry and the fist pounding and the whiners. His door has remained open to the angry right who DEMAND he listen to them blubber away. His door has remained open to the ideals of people who insist he is a Kenyan-born terrorist who wants to “indoctrinate” the youth. Mr. President… close the damn door.

Say what you will about Bush. We all pointed our fingers and laughed when he uttered the words, “I’m the decider.” But you know what? He was right. He was elected (well, at least ONCE anyway) to the office, and he took the reigns. Sure, he made his decisions based on not just his own experiences and observations but on those of the people he surrounded himself with, and there is obviously a whole different can of worms there. However, he made unpopular decisions in the face of dissent because HE WAS THE DECIDER. So, Mr. President, I hate to say it but, follow his damn lead. Just do it better.

Decide already. Decide that you aren’t going to hem and haw over health care because town hallers like the sounds of their voices screeching about. Decide that you are going to push another stimulus if it will truly help the economy even if Republicans flail their arms about like morons. Decide you are going to appoint the political advisers you want and need even when Glen Beck screams the word “CZAR” at you — but seriously, look a little closer at their resumes, already, because you are killing me with some of this stuff. DECIDE already. It’s your job. Because truly, the only voice of dissention out there isn’t that of reasonable debate. It’s that of those who challenge your motives when you suggest that working hard in school is a good thing. How dare you, sir. I won’t let your message of hope infect MY child!

As the broadcast from Wakefield High School begins, I plan now to sit and watch. And record it. It’s too important to let some teachers and superintendents decide if my child will watch. I’ll make sure he sees it here at home.

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