Did you hear? President Obama is brainwashing our kids today!
I don’t normally rant about politics in this space, but this issue gets me riled up at a foundational level. Because for me, this is not really about politics, but about fear of Other, about thinking we’re in Control, and about PARENTING OUR CHILDREN.
So, allow me to back up and fill in the blanks in case you haven’t heard.
President Obama is giving a speech today directed at school children around the nation, encouraging them to work hard and stay in school. The uproar from conservative communities regarding this speech has, in my opinion, hit a tipping point into conspiracy theory.
“OUR CHILDREN WILL BE BRAINWASHED! OUR CHILDREN WILL BECOME SOCIALISTS!”
From a ten minute speech?
Because here’s where I have a simple solution for everyone who is protesting this:
HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR CHILD.
It’s that simple, really.
Ask your child what he or she heard in the speech. Reinforce what you agree with, and talk about the things you disagree with.
There. That wasn’t so hard, was it? It’s called CRITICAL THINKING.
That’s about all the time I want to sacrifice on this topic. Though I could say more, here are other comments from around the web:
A Baltimore, Maryland, teacher who asked not to be identified bemoaned the fact that the country has “become so polarized that we believe that our president is an enemy and not our leader.”
“And I think it’s also really important for everyone to respect the president of the United States.”
If you can’t handle your kids listening to their president for 10 minutes, perhaps you should consider moving to a different country.
At this level, the controversy is a national embarrassment. Conservatives must avoid jumping on every conspiracy theory and labeling every action by the Obama administration as sinister or socialist. Our civic culture is debased when opposing parties and political alignments read every proposal by the other side as suspect on its face.
Furthermore, this controversy smacks of disrespect for the President and, by extension, disrespect for the presidency itself. Both fly in the face of Christian responsibility to pray for those in authority. Respect for our government, though never as an end in itself, is part of our Christian responsibility. This controversy threatens to sow seeds of permanent distrust and suspicion in the hearts of the young. In an age of rampant cynicism, this is inexcusable.
This is the speech I expected the President to give to our children—excellent.
Given that he is not directing them to Christ, which would be the best counsel, his advice is a wonderful gift of common grace from God to the students of our land.
If you settle for the news headlines that say the president tells the kids to wash their hands and take care of the environment, you will miss the wisdom and courage in this speech. Within its spiritual limitations it is simply amazing.