Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

James Boyce Headshot

Insanity Is Best Viewed From a Distance

Posted: Updated:

I have a theory about reality shows that are everywhere these days. The people in them, when approached to do a show, don't get the basic fact that the producers think their lives are so insane that they will make good, if somewhat bizarre TV. The people in the show have been living in the insanity for so long, they don't realize it's insane any more and even after the show has started, they still don't get that people are watching the car wrecks of their personal lives with amazement.

These past few days, as I have been working from Scotland and England, the 'dispute' about President Obama speaking to school children on their first day of school has unfolded in the distance like a horribly bad reality show gone wrong.

Here, where the leaders of opposition parties are perhaps even stronger enemies than they are in the U.S. because our opposition party doesn't have a single dedicated leader for the person in power to spar with all the time, no one would ever suggest that having the Prime Minister address school kids and exhort them to work hard and make the most of their opportunities would be a bad idea.

In the United States, however, it's time to admit that something has gone horribly wrong, with our country and with our political system when some conservatives are so up in arms over the president saying stuff like (and this is from the prepared text of the speech)

And no matter what you want to do with your life -- I guarantee that you'll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You're going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can't drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You've got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

Or

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our first lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn't have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

Horrible stuff this, suggesting that you need an education to succeed in life, or that someone who was the child of two people who didn't go to college could actually succeed in life through hard work and dedication.

But with over 5,000 newspaper articles now online via Google, the time has come to do two things.

The first is ask the question, what the hell is going on here? Is this nothing more than simple racism at play? Or is there more? Why are people upset about something that is such a non event?

And second, the time has come for those that have maintained their sanity, to keep pressing forward. We need, and frankly want, our President to speak to school children. We need and want health care reform and many other things. We need to be clear that now is not the time to compromise, it is the time to lead.

The myth of bipartisanship comes down to today in my mind and let it die forever on this first day of school and let us not forget the lesson.

Millions of Americans think it is wrong for President Obama to speak to your nation's children today, the speech is here.

I do not.

I also hope that everyone, either with or without the benefit of travel and distance, can take a moment and look at the issues we are debating and things that are getting attention in our country -- all the while, making sure we support those that make sense.

And call out those that do not.