Friday, September 04, 2009

Schoolyard Bullies: PostScript


"As far as I am concerned, this is not civics education -- it gives the appearance of creating a cult of personality. This is something you'd expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam Hussein's Iraq."

-- Oklahoma Republican State Senator Steve Russell, on President Obama's plan to address America's schoolchildren next Tuesday


You know something? I've seen a lot of mind-bending insanity from the right since Barack Obama's election last November, but this seriously tops everything we've been inundated with so far. I rarely use this word, because it feels so cliché and therefore so impotent, but it's outrageous. Just fucking outrageous. I obviously had a real problem with George W. Bush, but even at my most disgusted with his idiocy and his administration's corruption, I never would've marginalized him to the point where I denied him the right to talk to our kids. That's something you don't play politics with; it's above partisanism. And yet Obama's critics don't feel that way. They will turn a simple presidential address to America's kids -- somewhat of a tradition in this country -- into a reactionary dogfight.

He's the president of the United States, which means that if he wants to talk to children, he gets to. That's the way it works. He won the election and therefore, as president, he gets a few perks -- one of them is being able to say, "I want to speak to the youth of America," and not have anyone raise holy hell.

That's really what it's all about, though -- the fact that Barack Obama's political enemies don't actually accept him as president. They consider him an illegitimate -- his presidency some kind of sham, regardless of the overwhelming majority he won back in November of 2008. They've demonized and marginalized him -- called him a foreigner, a socialist, a threat to the American way of life, a cult leader intent on indoctrinating and enslaving our children through sheer force of personality. They bring guns to places he's speaking; they have so little respect for the man or the fact that he won the office he now holds that they intimate that they're willing to cause physical harm to him and his supporters. Seriously, how many times in your life have you heard anyone refer to a sitting president of the United States as a communist and be taken seriously by an entire network news department and its viewers? Have you ever? Even once?

I never wanted to play this card, but the longer this outright hostility continues -- the further it's allowed to be amplified -- the more I think that the only word Barack Obama's mainstream attackers are steering clear from at this point is "nigger." They're thinking it -- just not saying it.

But even that isn't their main issue with him.

It all goes back to something I expounded on quite a bit before the election: There are many in this country who don't trust Barack Obama simply because he's different from them. He's intelligent, analytical, articulate, worldly; he isn't a half-retarded Barco-lounging lummox who robotically chants bumper-sticker slogans to rally the faithful to his cause while giving everyone else the finger. What's more, he's a guy who -- despite the laughable elitist tag his critics have tried to pin on him -- has fought the odds and busted his ass since the very beginning to make something of himself. He's a black man who became president of the United States. In other words, he's the best person to talk to America's children -- someone they'll believe when he says, "You can become anything you want to in this country."

And it's not that he should be able to do this without having those who refuse to accept him turning it into a topic for debate on cable news. It isn't up for debate at all. The man's president. He gets to do it. Deal with it.

And if you're one of those people threatening to keep his or her kid home from school next Tuesday, ask yourself this: Who's really the one forcing a political agenda on their children?

Oh, and aren't those public schools "socialist" institutions anyway?

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

STFU. GTFU.

Now.

Idiots.

Anonymous said...

Not to sound too fan-boyish, I hope, but man, oh man, did you knock another one out of the park on this one. Spot on, on so many points. Thanks for the reality check.

Anonymous said...

There's no way to properly express my appreciation for the sanity you provide with this blog, but I'm going to start by showing some love to the tip jar.

Mike Barber said...

I completely agree. In fact, I believe I made that very point (re: they're all but coming right out and (publically) calling him "nigger") in a comment here back in the fall.

And it seems each week the extreme right media pundits sound more and more like an American version of Radio Rwanda. The open presence of firearms is a clear warning sign that shit is going to get very real.

Robo said...

This is one of your best posts.

Couldn't agree more.

Amanda said...

THANK YOU.

It's absolutely infuriating to me that people are decidedly okay with these people showing up to rallies with guns.

What the fuck is going on?

Jeremy said...

I guess, to have the kind of mandate required for the Republicans to allow one to legitimately address our kids you have to steal the election by having your brother block access to the poles in his state and then get the presidency handed to you by the Supreme Court. None of this popular vote winning nonsense.

I'm sure a willingness to continue reading to said kids about a goat while the country is under attack wouldn't hurt either.

Amy in Alabama said...

I am overwhelmed by the stupidity of conservative America. Almost every single person I know is a Republican and they all used to seem well educated and reasonable. They have all fallen for this bullshit propaganda. I am very liberal and don't try to hide it but I generally keep my mouth shut to maintain the peace. I DON'T THINK I CAN TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!!!

That is all.

Lilith Sativa said...

I reposted this to my Facebook status, expecting to have a lot of flak in response. I was surprised to see how many of my friends reposted it as well. I think you did a damn fine job of getting to the core issue here.

Fred Sowder said...

This is one that should be cross-posted to HuffPo! Hopefully if it isn't, it will be (do they have a problem with you using "nigger?").

Anonymous said...

You nailed it. Now, if they have the option of denying the President the right to talk to fellow citizens, do I have the right to stop paying them my real estate taxes?

Jason said...

Don't get upset, people.

This is the coming out party that America's closet racists have been waiting for a LONG LONG TIME.

Why deny them their coming out party? LET THEM, please, LET THEM.

Michael said...

AMEN!
Also reposted to facebook.
Great article!

Valerie said...

A most awesome post. I'm glad @micheleboyd posted the link to this!

slick said...

Taking it to my facebook page also. Thanks for articulating thoughts we all have. this issue has really gotten my pissed. i called my son's school today to make sure they would show this. The secretary told me she has "lots" of calls from parent who will write a note so their child will not watch it. I so hate ignorant, stupid people. Especially if they have children. And if they have a gun. And if they can reproduce.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! I'm always glad when liberals expose how truly off base they are. The conservatives are just keeping the President in check. Now they have changed the language from "how you can help the President," to work hard and stay in school. If they had started with that, this whole mess would have been a none issue. You can cry racism if you wish, if it had been Hilary I'm sure you would have been crying sexism. The fact remains that this strong opposition is towards this administration's policies, long term goals, and their vision for this country...or what will be left of it if they are allowed to succeed. America has gone to war multiple times to fight against the spread of communism, I don't see why anyone would be surprised when a small minority of like minded individuals try to slowing and subtly force it on our nation. If history has taught us nothing else, it has taught us that governments are best taken over from within. Do I believe the President and his friends are trying to do this? I don't know, but I've never thought something like that would be possible in our country. The fact that I don't know concerns me. I support the President, I want him to do great things for this country. I just disagree on what is in America's best interest. It's funny, for the most part I consider myself a moderate...but the left keeps pushing me right.

yeahyeahno said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. When I read about this on HuffPo this morning I thought my head was going to explode.

I don't know what else to say about such sick people...

Chez said...

Anon 7:56 --

You're obviously not a stupid person, I mean, you've given this some thought -- which is appreciated, but I'm having trouble understanding your point. No, the president of the United States isn't a communist -- and anyone who thinks so is a paranoid nutjob. As for changing the language of the address so that it doesn't say, "How you can help the president," well, that's just ridiculous. Obama's point was the same point any president would've made -- he wasn't talking about children helping him in particular so much as empowering them to help the president of the United States, which -- and stop me if you've heard this one before -- he happens to be. And that's really my main issue here: The people who are railing against this speech and playing partisan politics with it are devaluing the office of the president in the eyes of their children. Kids aren't supposed to go to war over left or right; they're supposed to believe that the presidency is an office worth respecting. You need that foundation early in life and later you can make decisions as to which party you want to affiliate yourself with. Barack Obama saying "help the president" is the most innocent goddamned statement in the world -- only an idiot would inject some sort of insidious, subversive intent into it.

Norm K said...

Ahhhh, Chez...more liberal banter and a very convenient short memory, of course. You clearly have "forgotten" how the Democrats in 1991 so harshly criticized President George H. W. Bush for giving a very similar address to school kids in 1991.

The usual trash talk from the left -- it's OK for us to do it but not you. It's OK for us to call your president Hitler and a fascist but not OK for you to call ours a communist.

And no, Chez, we do not distrust Mr. Obama because he is "different" from us. We distrust him because of his lack of experience, his regular attendance of a church where the pastor stoked his audience with racially inflammatory pontifications, his "spread the wealth around" comments, and his "community organizer" job description, and his generally annoying smug demeanor.

Anonymous said...

I think it's time to put a fast, hard end to the right-wing. They are destroying us. Now it is time to destroy them. Utterly.

Chris said...

Chez, bang on the money. This is just thinly veiled racism on the part of the Republicans.

They lost and they just don't get it. Like spoiled children they are throwing tantrums. We shouldn't give into them, it just teaches them that they can get away with it.

We had to suck it up while W got us in a mess, now they should shut up and let the new President fix it.

domesticdisturbia said...

My question is, how many of these "outraged" parents that have to whip their poor little snowflakes out of kindergarten that day so the mean old president with the funny name doesn't make them a pinko commie liberal were outraged with little Susie's idol Miley Cyrus was pole dancing on the teen choice awards? Or who get upset when SpongeBob teaches little Johnny to call daddy a "loser" and "stupid"? Because let me tell ya, I don't hear any of my "concerned" Pub friends ever talking about those influences on their child when they bring them to the zoo, wearing SpongeBob shoes and pants, with a Transformers tshirt and Dora/Diego underwear. Suddenly they are sooooo concerned with what little snowflake sees on TV/internet? I doubt it.

Susan Cullison said...

A most excellent and insightful blog.

Andrew Smash said...

Sorry for the length, I got on a bit of a roll


Let me reveal what I think is the secret behind all of this anger: Obama reminds these idiots that they haven't done anything worth more than jack shit with their lives. No matter how much money they made, or didn't make, no matter how high their artificially-inflated self-esteem is, they cannot compare their accomplishments to his and still feel that they have succeeded with their lives. Conservatives, as a group, tend to build their esteem on the backs of others - listen to Rush for five minutes and count the times he compliments his audience. They are smarter and wiser than those stupid people he has such an easy time mocking. Why, if they were people of power, he wouldn't be able to hang up on them and then tell them off after they can't reply, right ? While I don't want to paint all of them with the racism card, I think the fact that a black man managed to out succeed them on every level has freaked more than a few of them out. So here it is - these mutts have been running around with the sense of confidence and bravado natural to a bully, and now they are facing their worst nightmare. Obama is every person they ever picked on - whether because of their race, click, perceived intelligence, whatever - here is that person, beating them, by living well. Remember, that thing we were told as kids was the best revenge. That right there is what Obama did to piss them off.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm.... I am amazed at how short the Liberal memory can be. You argue that the heart of Conservative outrage against President Obama flows from the fact that they do not accept him as President. But, for the past 8 years, Liberals ranted that George Bush was "selected, not elected." How many times did Obama voters post bumper-stickers on their cars, announcing that Innauguration Day in 2009 would be "the end of a mistake?" For 8 years, Liberals ranted, raved, and screamed, that President Bush was illegitimate, unitelligent, and a war criminal. And now, you have the audacity to be shocked - shocked! - that Conservatives might direct similar language toward a Democrat. One wonders where the double-standard comes from? And you need to stop playing the race card as well. I oppose most of what the current president stands for - but I oppose his IDEAS and POLICIES, precisely because I believe they are the WRONG IDEAS and WRONG POLICIES - not because I object to his skin color. It has become commonplace for Liberal hacks to conclude that anyone who objects to government-run health care is, at the end of the day, objecting to that proposal because they are racists. But once again, you are fogetting history. When Bill Clinton proposed a sweeping health care takeover, we objected to that, too. And, if I remember correctly, Bill Clinton was WHITE. We objected to government-run health care when a white man proposed it, and we object to government-run health care when a black man proposes it. Which means, I might point out, that we are objecting to the IDEA ....we are NOT objecting to the color of the President's skin. Your appeal to racism is lazy Liberalism, and reveals that it is YOU - not Conservatives - who view the world through a race-based lens. Do you want to know why some Conservatives object to the President's planned speach to school kids? Just consider this scenario: How would you Liberals have reacted if, in the first weeks of the Gulf War, President Bush announced plans to address all of the school children of the country, and sent out study guides and discussion questions to each and every school district? The howls of outrage from every Liberal newspaper and TV anchor would have resounded through the land! You would have denounced President Bush as a Facist, seeking to manipulate America's school children in a time of national crisis. Well, President Obama is in the midst of a crisis right now - despite the fact that he has overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress, he cannot get his health care agenda pushed through. He is in political trouble. Forgive me if I have a lingering suspicion about his agenda in speaking to children. If George Bush had wanted to give a similar address to America's kids in the middle of the Gulf War, you LIberals would never have believed him if he said that he simply wanted to talk to kids about staying in school. You would have denounced him for attempting a crass political act. You may want to accuse me of drawing a wrong conclusion about the President's motives, but don't you dare accuse me of objecting to President Obama's actions based on the color of his skin. You don't know me well enough to make an accusation that is so breathtakingly wrong.

Starshadow said...

OK, in the Philippines, our president is far from being loved and respected at the moment. But I am quite sure that no one would be allowed anywhere near her with the kind of firepower that was noticed when Mr. Obama spoke in certain places in the US. It boggles my mind!

I am also fairly certain that if she wanted to put out a televised "back to school" address, the kids would be allowed to watch it. Not really sure if they would listen with full attention, but they'd definitely be in class (with a teacher grateful for the silence, I'm sure).

Chez said...

Know what I love about Norm K (Norm? That you?) and Anon 1:52's comments overall? They round out the week nicely with cries of what a raging liberal I am. I seem to remember just a couple of days ago I was vilified for being a neo-con tool who probably voted for GW. Guess I'm doing something right.

Okay, so -- Norm: First of all, the main reason the Democrats took issue with the Bush Sr. speech was that it would cost money. Period. As for a lack of experience -- you're kidding me, right? Bush Jr. rode into office on the name of his dynastic family and never really knew what the hell he was doing -- because he never really had to. He spent the first seven months of his presidency behaving like an underachiever who'd stumbled into greatness (which in fact he was, to a large extent) and the next seven and a half years allowing his administration to behave like a bunch of inaccountable thugs. Either way, he was really no more qualified to be president than Obama. In fact, I'd argue that he was far less because he did in fact ride his dad's coattails and had never really put in the work necessary to earn what he'd received. As for the ridiculous Rev. Wright controversy, and "spreading the wealth," wow do you concern yourself with inconsquential horseshit as long as it'll back up the conclusion you reached a long time ago and won't be talked out of. And, man, smug? Really? You think Obama's smug? Why -- because he's actually thoughtful and speaks articulately? Like I said, do you have an inherent distrust of intelligence? Because there's no way you're gonna slam Obama for being smug and defend George W. Bush -- the man with the permanent self-satisfied smirk on his face -- unless that's the case.

Okay, Anon 1:52 --

For the record, and because I'm not a liberal -- as anyone who's been here long enough knows full fucking well -- I actually couldn't stand those idiots who refused to accept Bush as president and howled about how he was the "Commander in Thief" and all that nonsense during the early half of the 00s. Did I like the way Bush won in 2000? Not particularly. Did I accept it and move on pretty quickly? Absolutely.

As for bringing up race, it should be pointed out that, to the best of my knowledge, this is the very first time I've done that here. The reason is because I just didn't want to go there; I felt like it likely couldn't be proven and was always the lowest-hanging fruit on the easily dismissable argument tree. The point I was making though is that since day one he's been painted as some sort of interloper, an outsider, and to not even tangentially factor into the equation the fact that the guy's black would be to overlook something that's, well, staring you right in the face. Almost since the beginning of the presidential campaign, Obama's been portrayed as "uppity" by a whole hell of a lot of those his enemies on the right. Sorry, but that actually is code for "not knowing your place" -- which would once again lead anyone with a brain to notice that the man is black.

But really why am I repeating myself. Every argument you make has already been addressed in the piece itself. I said that I wouldn't have taken issue with George W Bush talking to the kids -- at any point. And I said that race, if it is a part, is only a small part of the unjustified trust issues Obama's detractors have with him. But you obviously know just what argument to grab onto with both hands to allow yourself to claim a hilarious level of offense and insult.

Good job.

Anonymous said...

So, what you're saying is Obama and his supporters can exercise their right of free speech, but Obama's opponents can't? Typical.

Chez said...

Way to miss the point.

Of course you have the right to free speech, as do we all. What I'm saying is that there are some things you don't way to play politics with because what's lost in the process is far more substantial than whatever petty grudges are satisfied.

Incidentally, I've never brought this up because it seems like such a shockingly obvious argument, but what happened to all that wailing about how criticizing the president was emboldening our enemies -- giving them aid and comfort during a time of war and strife? Incredible how that very loud argument went out the window once your guy was out and someone you can't stand was in. Pot, meet kettle.

Anonymous said...

Talk about missing the point...this has nothing to do with race. Do you think you could write a column without words like "xxgger" and "Xucking"?

This has to do with education or the lack thereof. I don't want the president of the US to tell my kid that he needs to try harder when it is the teachers and administration of public schools that are dropping the ball. Our schools didn't even make AYP (average yearly progress for NCLB) this year. Public education maliciously denies children with disabilities therapies and services that would make them independent individuals that could contribute to the system. Don't tell my kid to try harder when he is treated like a leper because he has a disability.

Chez said...

I do write columns without the words "xxgger" and "Xucking" because those aren't real words. What are you, six years old?

As for your argument, I'm sorry but you're bringing a whole lot of personal baggage into this fight -- not that I can't understand why. It just proves that everyone is hearing what they want to in this ridiculous game of political hot-potato. The president of the United States wants to talk to a bunch of schoolkids. There's nothing wrong with this. It's as simple as that.

Chez said...

One more thing: I'm already exhausted by people saying things like, "Well who is Barack Obama to tell my child what to do in school or how to better himself?"

Who is he? He's the president of the United States.

Once again, they've marginalized the man to where they don't even recognize and respect the authority of the office he holds anymore (or, more importantly, allow their children to). He isn't the president -- he's Barack Obama.

Obscene.

Mary Claire said...

Ummm...there's a lot going on in these comments thats worthy and a lot that shocks the hell out of me, but I would like to remind the various Anons of something. This attitude of US vs. THEM, and WE disagree w/ HIM (POTUS) is where your arguments go all wrong. I ID'ed myself as a fiscal conservative for most of my life, and voted for GWB in both elections. As Bush's presidency got into the last few years, I started to see a lot of things that I wasn't comfortable with. I started to feel more at home identifying as an Independent, regardless of my feelings about personal & fiscal responsibility (which to me are one and the same). I'm proud to have voted for President Obama, and am willing to keep the faith and give him the benefit of the doubt for quite a bit longer. BUT, I'm one of those people whose vote is up for grabs at any time. I'm not an US or a THEM. What is repelling me from the GOP however, is this blind and/or mindless vitriol that is directed at everything Obama or his supporters or other Democrats in Congress attempt to do. It's not intelligent or utile, and seems blatantly destructive of anything deemed non-Conservative. It feels as though the GOP has totally forgotten about all of us Independents, who could theoretically swing either way at any time. And that is where your arguments fail, not b/c you're a racist, or care too much about your children, or hate communism, etc., it's because you can't conceive of a middle ground. My .02.

Julie The Vintage Goddess said...

The Cabot School District here in Arkansas is not going to show the speech so as to protect the kiddies of the local rednecks from being infected by the virtues of working hard, staying school and getting good grades.
sigh.
I went to their website to get the email addy of the super and the school board members to express my disgust and guess what?
It is down for "maintenance".
Riiiigghhht....

Chez said...

Arkansas: Simultaneously disproving both evolution and intelligent design.

babita781 said...

You have unfairly slammed half-retarded Barca lounging lummoxes by your comparison.

Anonymous said...

I am a mother of four children (step-mother of three more). I do not let my children watch Sponge Bob, ride their bicycles without a helmet, sleep over friends' houses without speaking with the parents first... Am I over protective? Maybe, but these little people will be in charge when I am old. Even though he is the President of the United States, I am the head of my household. I instil my morals and ethics in my children. Isn't that why we faught for our freedom? To have the freedom to choose how we want to raise our children (obviously within the laws)? I'm glad that the school district which I am in is posting his speech on the school's website and not pumping it through the halls. I take pride in what I do and how I raise my children. My husband and I will watch his speech then watch it with our children to answer questions that they might have. Every opportunity is a teaching/ learning opportunity which we have with our kids so they can grow up to become responsable Americans who make sound decisions. If they play it in the schools, then they are taking that away from the parents who are doing their job. What's wrong with that?

Chez said...

Anyone wanna take this? I'm biting my tongue.

Vermillion said...

I will give it a shot,

Ma'am, that is all fine and good. And yes, you should be commended on being so involved in your kids' activities, and wanting to discuss such things with them. That is indeed what a parent should be able to do.

But a speech from the president of the United States of America is hardly the same threat level as stranger approaching them outside of your supervision. It isn't as if the kids aren't allowed to talk about it any other way. And it isn't like he is suddenly going to start swearing or something.

There are many parents who have no intention of discussing such things with their kids. They fully intend to shut out any discourse, or anything that might counter their opinions, clearly showing these kids that if you disagree with someone, the best way to handle it is to shut them out completely and stick to your guns no matter what. That kinda sounds like brainwashing to me.

Ma'am I think you should sit down and really ask yourself if this apprehension is really about the president or your own insecurities. Because whenever I hear about a parent who goes through so much trouble to filter their kids' lives, they are usually very unsure of their parenting skills, and have little to no faith that they are raising their kids right.

Not saying you didn't; just saying that if you truly believe you are teaching them the right things, then why are you so afraid of a generalized motivational speech?

Chez said...

Good for you, Vermillion. I was gonna make fun of the fact that she can't spell.

Peach said...

Can I also just add that I hate, mother fucking fuck fucking hate it when these middle-class men from middle america compare shit like this with a dictatorship.

Having lived a large portion of my life in a place where insulting the king got you jail time, that jail time will almost certainly involve torture, and you had to hang government portraits in your house...just in case the boogeyman entered...

I fucking hate these giant dickwads comparing the POTUS talking to kids to a fucking dictatorship.

It's asinine, and quite frankly dismissinve to all of us who have lived under opressive governments.

Wanna see some opression you dumb motherfucker? Try not being able to visit your dying grandma because of radical ties her brother's friend has. How about stuffing your 5 year old little sister full of lies just so she wont slip up and say something 'bad' in class that could land our father in jail. How about being told for no dicernable reason that today you dont get to travel outside your country. Because why? Because the man with the big fucking gun said so. Voting? Oh you think you get to vote? No, no. There will be none of that.

Like a dictatorship...he better be quite happy he's on the other side of the world right now because should he be in front of me I'm fairly certain I'd give a giant stiletto heeled smash to his ballsack. --maybe that would give him a little taste of what an actual dictatorship is like.

domesticdisturbia said...

Peaches, I love you. And fear you. But in a good way.

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

I am just glad my kids are not yet in school so they won't be indoctrinated by the president's insidious speech about working hard and staying in school. Keep that wicked agenda of perserverence away from my kids, socialist grandma killer. They ...can quit if they want! QUITTERS RULE! Palin 2012!!!

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

Okay, but to be serious for a moment, great post, and thank you for having the guts to address the race issues lying just beneath the surface. The xenophia is palpable.

Anonymous said...

Insane. Can't believe America has a problem promoting education. But the insanity is probably coming from the parents with no education.