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Category

 Political

Published

 September, 2009

Synopsis

 Obama Speaks to Children. Republicans Act Like Children

Thus Spake the Boogeyman

I couldn’t believe my ears. The President of the United States of America channeled Chairman Mao to drum up votes among the nation’s fifth graders.
“I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book," declared President Obama.

To some Americans, the ones who would never admit publically they don’t want a black man to tell their children to stay in school, study hard so they may be prepared for their futures – it must’ve been a nightmare.

In homes across this country, and away from cameras, of course, they don’t use the words “black man.” Their furor has nothing to do with Obama’s message. The problem, if they could ever take a long look at themselves in a mirror, can be found in the reflection.

They don’t want their children to tell them they’re heartened by the president’s call for self-responsibility. Buffy and Billy may rush home and say, with excitement, they like the president, against their parent’s desire to paint him as Adolf Hitler incarnate.

There was no chance Obama would stand in front of school children and attempt to hypnotize them. Parents know that’s what X-Box is for.

It was highly unlikely the president would attempt to use his powers of suggestion to implant the notion that abortion is a must, or that life without Welfare is a life unfulfilled.

Barack Obama didn’t get where he is today – especially from where he started out - by making speeches that could easily be placed under racist microscopes.

He’s a smart man.

In fact, his life story IS the American Dream. If only the parents, who’d never, ever impart that particular lesson to their children, could understand that - this entire ugly non-issue would’ve never been raised.

Instead, careless rightwing pundits have set-off another staged firestorm that’s gotten some parents to find television cameras to complain – with questionable sincerity –they don’t want their children to be lectured by a “socialist.” (Naturally, they use that word in public. But we know the word they use at home)

Buried within the text of his speech, I’ve heard, was the directive for zombie-eyed teenagers to seek refuge in Communism.

I think I found that text right here: “No one’s born being good at things. You become good at things through hard work.”

It’s the first time in the nation’s history that glorifying “hard work” has ever been considered a bad thing.

Minutes after Obama had ended his speech, rightwing pundits began picking it apart.

Joe Watkins, a Republican apologist, appeared and gave the silliest thumbs down for a presidential speech I’ve ever heard.

Here are the supposed essential flaws.

“This president is not an ordinary president. He's one of the most gifted speakers that the world has ever seen. He's gifted, he's charismatic and when he speaks he speaks with tremendous authority and great conviction and with tremendous persuasion,” were the words Watkins used to set-up his curious premise.

But here’s Watkins’ rub. “He's so popular and persuasive that parents don't want to compete with that,” he said while fighting the kind of smile that threatens to seep through when you know not a single person within the sound of your voice bought your thesis.

Here’s something you should know. The Democrats won the election. They voted for the man who gave that speech. And most of them voted for him BECAUSE of speeches like the one he gave to the nation’s school children.

If a charismatic leader can take the time to urge children stay in school and think responsibly, that should be worthy of some praise.

It shouldn’t be the source of this phony controversy.

Some of the nation’s school children may have learned a valuable lesson about all of this.

That the man their parents call the boogeyman – or worse – is really alright, because he cares about them.

Edward A. Owens is a three time Emmy Award winner and 20 year veteran of television news. E-mail him at freedoms@bellatlantic.net