I have just about had it with the radical right wing of American politics.
I've stayed quiet through the health care "debate," which as far as I can tell has consisted of one side saying, "The health care system in this country needs reform and here is how we think it ought to be done" and the other side saying "WHAAAAARGLBLE! Death panels! Rationing! Communists! AAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"
I've stayed quiet through the whole "Birther" thing, mostly because it's hard to speak when laughing so hard at the obvious insanity and desperation of those people.
I stayed quiet during the recent Supreme Court nomination process, as one wingnut after another spouted bald-faced lies and contradicted their own statements from when Bush Lite nominated his justices. Odd how people who insist that the President's wishes should be respected on principle shift their principles when the President changes.
But today it hit closer to home, and I'm tired of it.
Today Lauren came home with an "opt-out" form that would allow me to have her skip watching President Obama's address to the nation's school children. They had an "alternative activity" planned instead, should I choose to send her there.
Let me get this straight:
The President of the United States will be addressing students across the country, and attendance isn't required? There are more important "alternative activities" that take precedence over this? I am allowed to have my child remain ignorant rather than have her educated in the schools?
Honestly, it makes me want to holler.
There is no rational reason for this. All it says to me is that the Irreconcilable Right - the same idiots who cheered when the governor of Texas threatened to secede rather than accept the freely expressed will of the American people; the same six-fingered morons who think Sarah Palin is on to something with the whole "death panel" thing; the same anti-Constitutional lowlifes who applauded the use of torture and warrantless searches - is now dictating policy to my public schools.
First of all, the governor of Texas should be tried for treason, Sarah Palin should be marooned on the Island of Misfit Toys with the rest of her imaginary pals, and the Bush Administration officials who approved of those unConstitutional and disgraceful policies? Don't even get me started.
More to the point, however, I find it utterly appalling that there are people so proud of being ignorant that they would keep their children similarly ignorant and seek to do the same with mine.
Sweet dancing monkeys on a stick, people, this is a historic moment. When the President - any President, even one with whom you have serious policy disagreements - speaks to you, you listen. You take it as a civics lesson. You discuss with your children what you agree with and what you don't. That's called "education." Live it. Learn it. Get used to it.
But no, we can't have that. Our schools must allow the ignorant to stay ignorant.
I. Do. NOT. Think. So.
I have my children in public schools - schools funded by State and Federal tax dollars - in part because I want them to become educated citizens of this country. I want them to rub shoulders with people who are different than they are, so they don't grow up confusing "normal" with "familiar" the way so many fools do in our country. I want them to understand how this country is supposed to work - that there is a Constitution, one that very carefully separated out church and state, one that provided a balance of powers to make sure that no one person could rule without checks. I want them to know what it means to think, to analyze, and to question, and I WANT THEM TO DO IT. I want them to respect the office of the President, no matter what they think of its occupant.
All this is over and above the curriculum.
If I wanted ignorant sheep, I'd send them to private school where they would be surrounded by people just like themselves, indoctrinated into a single black-and-white worldview, and never exposed to anything that might call that constricted view into question. As a college professor, I see a lot of students with this background. They don't last long that way - either they grow out of it, or they drop out of school and vote conservative.
Not all conservatives are like this. I've known quite a few who have well-thought-out positions, who are very good at analyzing information and who can defend their positions using reality-based arguments. I like those people. I disagree with them most of the time, but they force me to think about my own positions long and hard, and sometimes one or the other of us - follow me here - actually changes our mind on something, based on the superior evidence and arguments of the other person. That's how it's supposed to be.
But appallingly that is not how it often is. And in my experience it has almost invariably been the right-wing rather than the left that is incapable of dealing with anything outside of their own narrow views.
Such people should not be allowed near the educational process, which by definition involves the challenging of one's own views.
I'm sorry, but the whole notion that students should opt out of hearing the President speak directly to them is a disgrace, and the people who came up with this policy should be dipped in honey and sent on a ten-mile hike through the nearest forest. If I'm feeling charitable, I may wait up to half an hour before releasing the bottle flies.