Saturday, September 05, 2009

That One

This has been a bizarre summer, and I'm almost glad it's over. I say "almost" because I fear that the bizarreness is going to continue and probably even escalate. We've had the "birthers" and the "teabaggers," along with gun-toting citizens attending town hall meetings with their representatives and shouting down those who were interested in hearing about health care reform with claims of "death panels" hidden in the various plans. We've even had a finger bitten off. Now we have the same segment of the population up in arms over Present Obama's plan to speak directly to school children, urging them to work hard to get a good education.

Tim Rutten noticed the same set of phenomena at work and has gone some distance in sussing out just what is behind all of this nonsense in his column in today's Los Angeles Times. He poses the head-scratcher of how this:

According to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Obama will "challenge students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens."

got turned into this:

On Thursday, Jim Greer, chairman of the Florida Republican Party, accused the president of attempting to "indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda." According to Greer, "the idea that schoolchildren across our nation will be forced to watch the president justify his plans for government-run healthcare, banks and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other president, is not only infuriating but goes against the beliefs of the majority of Americans, while bypassing American parents through an invasive abuse of power."

Mr. Rutten didn't have to search hard to find the answer. People interested in education provided it for him:

Puzzled Texas education officials told the Houston Chronicle that students often watch presidential speeches broadcast during school hours and that, in 1989, President George H.W. Bush specifically spoke to students about drug abuse. "It's hard to imagine anything more ridiculous than attacking the president of the United States for talking to students about the importance of getting a good education and being a good citizen," said Kathy Miller, president of a statewide school monitoring group. "I wish our elected leaders were responsible enough to denounce this kind of wild-eyed paranoia. But the problem is too many of them are actually feeding this kind of nonsense -- like when the governor flirts with secessionists and state Board of Education members say the president sympathizes with terrorists." [Emphasis added]

Implicit in Ms. Miller's statement is that the GOP will stop at nothing to destroy the Obama administration. For too many Republicans, elections matter only when they win them. Any other winner, especially when the winner has not been handpicked by the patricians of either party, is a fraud, an interloper who must be forced into abject failure. Like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama has emerged from a suspect background (fatherless, working class) and must be defeated. The irony is that both men would have made acceptable Republicans in the not so distant past. That doesn't matter. Neither man was of the body. What's even worse is that Barack Obama is (shudder) black and stands as an undeniable symbol of the loss of power of those patricians who father proper presidents, senators, and governors.

So the dramatics of this summer will continue and I fear that we ain't seen nothing yet. If the results weren't so damaging to the republic, it might even be fun to watch. As it is, it is both stomach turning and heart breaking for those of us who believe that democracy can and should work.

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Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama has emerged from a suspect background (fatherless, working class) and must be defeated.

They're doing exactly what they did when Clinton was president. I don't think the specifics matter in any worked for them.

And I have to blame our MSM for not calling b.s. when one side of the debate is either always lying or acting in bad faith. (Take the Washington Poost...please!)

9:23 AM  
Blogger the bewilderness said...

According to Greer when he goes into a sixth grade classroom and tells misogynist jokes about Senator Clinton, and explains that Republicans get up in the morning and go to work while Democrats get up in the morning and go to the mailbox to get their check, it is very very different from when President Obama speaks to the children.
Well, it sure is different all right, but not in a good way.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

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12:16 AM  

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