09 September 2009

Silence is NOT always Golden

There comes a time when remaining silent would be a grave injustice. We, the authors of this, have reached that point. We can no longer sit silent and watch as people willfully cast lines and demand that we choose sides. We voted for President Barak Obama. We did not make this decision lightly. We researched the issues. We learned all we could. We then prayerfully, sought guidance to make a choice. We feel we made the right choice. Whether we agree(d) 100% with all of his policies we will not disclose. As those are private issues for now. We simply weighed the options and he came out on top. We were raised to support the leader of our country whether we liked him or not. This is NOT to say that we blindly follow a President. For as the Declaration of Independence points out "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..." [1] We watch. We listen. We hear. We understand. And then we act. As we are doing now.

Lately, there has been great controversy over the President, our Nation's President, addressing the school children. It has been referred to by acquaintances as "socialist propaganda" and even "communist, socialist, fascist propaganda." Clearly, the latter wanted to make sure their red-flag political parties (so to speak) were covered. This "propaganda" ended up being supported by Laura Bush. [2] Someone, that we think, all people would agree is beholden to none of the above mentioned parties. In his speech President Obama "urged [students] to set high goals, knuckle down in their studies and persevere through failure." [3] It has been our experience, that persevering through failure is something that Americans do well. Thomas Edison failed many hundreds of times before he successfully made a light bulb that worked. Maybe the propaganda came in when President Obama told kids to "take responsibility for their education, go to class and listen and not let failures define them." [4] So where is the propaganda we were promised?

Maybe we missed it, but where ever it is, we've heard the speech, we've read the commentary on it. From both sides. And we have found no fault with it.
We particularly enjoyed when President Obama warned the kids that there is "no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That's no excuse for not trying." [4] Having both worked in the educational system, we can attest to a lack of trying. Repeatedly, we have beat our heads (figuratively) against walls with students that just did not want to put effort into the class. They wanted their hands held, because they felt entitled to it. When students take responsibility for themselves, they excel. Sometimes with effort, and much help that we are willing to give, but they excel.

What in the speech made people afraid? Was it his reminding students to wash their hands? As germophobes, we appreciate this reminder. We simply don't understand what the big deal is. Except, that it seems to be all about party lines. "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." [3] (side note from Cynthia: I would have requested that my child be in a classroom showing the speech, if he were in a classroom that was not showing it (had he been in school yet.) As many know, Texas is staunchly a so-called red state. They tend to prefer the Republican party, and our President is not of that party.

Has our country really been reduced to silly party mud-slinging? We had sincere hope that we, as a nation, could overcome such trivial matters as which side of the political spectrum we're on. There are much larger problems and issues to be worried about. Our president talking to school children should not be one. When we become divided over topics like this, we miss the bigger issues at hand, issues that cross party lines and bring the nation together.

In conclusion, remember. All of our presidents -- past, present, and future -- are mere mortals. They are fallible men. They will all make mistakes. They will do things that we collectively look back on and think "what the hell were they thinking?!" But, we’re sure, they try do the best they know how to do. President Obama inherited a lot of problems. He is trying to fix the nation, not hurt the nation. President Bush inherited a lot of problems and did the best he could with the information he had. He was not our favorite president. But he was not the worst. (Side note from Noel: my roommate and I have decided that Harrison was the best president. If you'd like to know why, just ask. I'll explain.) As a nation we have been quick to place blame on our presidents. We need to remember that we share the burden of blame. We have willingly let things happen, and it's time we collectively stood up and started working together for a better tomorrow. And if that means starting with heeding the counsel that was given by our current President to take responsibility for ourselves, then it's time to do so.

We make a plea, alongside our President, that we do better and be better. We are all capable of so much more than we give ourselves (and our children) credit for. All of us (the authors included) need to set a better example for our children then we have over the last few days. Let's come together as a nation and give our children the furture they deserve. One of unity and respect.

Cynthia L. Weyerman
Noël T. Alton

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2 comments:

Sarah said...

Thank you for posting this. President Obama is not my favorite. He was not my first choice for president. However, I do not know that he was not the best choice of the two available. But, now that the votes have been cast, he is our President, and the office of President deserves the respect. What do we as parents teach our children when we tell them that it is not okay to listen to an address from the President. And are we so unable to teach our children right from wrong that we fear one speech made by a person representing a party we don't like? Even if there had been "socialist propaganda" in the speech, I would hope parents are involved enough in their children's lives that they would be able to counter it if they so chose. So again, thank you for posting this, and reminding us all that we have responsibility in this too.

Olga said...

i read no. english small. friend of olga, dah?