This is, as they say, a teachable moment. There is nothing to fear. Naturally, teachers and parents, incapable of handling the sheer concentrated intellectual force of such a historic event, have been forwarded a detailed lesson plan by the Department of Education (sic) so that no child will be blinded inadvertently by the dazzling light of hope.
Initially, part of the strategy was to guide our kiddies tenderly through this event by asking them to "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president," which then would be collected so that teachers could hold students "accountable" at an appropriate later date.
Example: Dear Madison, How can I help President Obama save the world from global warming when my daddy is a meanie who hates poor babies and thinks a Prius is emasculating?
My initial reaction to the news, naturally, was to visualize the violent Java-induced (organic and fair-trade only!) pitchforked insurrection that would have exploded in my well-heeled, crunchy, peace-loving neighborhood had George W. Bush lectured local kids on anything. And predictably, Obama's speech has generated a similar reaction from some demonstrably unpatriotic parents across the country -- and it seems gratuitous.
To begin with, even if the president delivered an openly politicized speech, which he won't, your kids would survive the unpleasant experience. Most of our children have not been transformed into complete idiots yet by public education.
Moreover, if your child is incapable of handling a 20-minute haranguing from a self-important public servant, he will be tragically unprepared for the new world. (Whom do you think he will be dealing with when he needs that hip replacement in 60 years?)
Even if you oppose the president on a political level, it is empirically evident that the more one hears his homilies the less inclined one is to trust him. And Obama's penchants to lecture us endlessly, to be the center of attention endlessly and to saturate the airwaves and national conversation are clear indications that he believes government is the answer to every societal, religious, economic and cultural question we face. Why should your kids be immune?
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