I had many honest discussions with PunditGirl during the 2008 Presidential election about why her dad and I are Democrats, why we believed that the Bush administration was bad for our country and why we wanted a Democrat in the White House.
But I also made sure that my then-eight-year-old understood that even though I felt VERY strongly about why the GOP was so wrong in its current philosophies, that it's also important to respect the President and the presidency. The leader of our country, regardless of what we think about his (and hopefully someday 'her') positions, inherently deserves a certain amount of respect. It's crucial that our children understand that, in this time of shouting head programs where news personalities bash anyone and everyone, the leader of our country is inherently someone they should pay attention to and respect.
But after what I learned this week, I have to wonder whether I'm being a tad naive.
Right-wingers are calling for their own to keep their children home from school on September 8, when President Obama is scheduled to speak to children across the country. They're afraid that the mean, old President is going to do or say something to our children that would lead them down the path to becoming a nefarious liberal! (As an aside, I find it pretty amusing that one of those crying the loudest for this school day boycott doesn't have to worry about her kids hearing the speech. I'll let you draw your own conclusions from that.)
Has the right wing really become that paranoid? I guess they have. Somehow, they've turned an innocuous speech by the President into an evil effort to brainwash and indoctrinate our children that *GASP* they should stay in school and work hard!!!
Cover your ears and run for the hills!!
It's all very silly, actually, but I wonder if these calls for truancy mean that right-wingers believe we should teach our kids to disrespect the President AND the education system by going to the zoo instead of school next week? Can anyone TRULY think that a Presidential address to schoolchildren is about trying to indoctrinate them with subliminal liberal messages? 'Cause if you do, I've got this great bridge in Brooklyn I have to sell you.
As for the hate thing, it's time to back off on that a bit. Trying to gin up so much hate and faux propaganda must be really tiring for those who have taken that on as a political profession.
What this really amounts to is the uber-conservatives continuing the Fox News drumbeat of finding any way to take Barack Obama's words and actions out of context in order to demonize him every moment of every day between now and the 2012 election. It's nothing more and nothing less.
I knew this sort of thing would happen during Obama's administration, but I didn't think that each and every move he makes would be turned upside down by the extreme right and twisted until it made me want to move to another country. I still had a certain amount of faith that people would prove that they wanted what was best for everyone in the country, not just an extreme political agenda.
I won't make that mistake again.
Joanne Bamberger is the founder of the political blog, PunditMom. Joanne is a Contributing Editor for News & Politics at BlogHer and is at work on a book about the increasing political involvement of mothers, Mothers of Intention (Bright Sky Press, Fall 2010).