What’s really at the root of hatred for Pres. Obama?
Tuesday President Barack Obama will address school children across the nation in a speech about responsibility, education and the values of staying the course. I’ve read the remarks posted by the White House and find them to be pretty good and reasonable. There’s no political rhetoric like the garbage I’ve seen coming from both sides on health care reform. For example, after remarks about not having great advantages Pres. Obama tells kids that’s no excuse for not doing the right thing. “But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying,” according to the remarks. For some reason the conservative right has taken a good speech from a president and made it about evil indoctrination. Give me a BREAK!
Here’s a classic example by Marsha S. at the KXAN website about the remarks, “Allowing a student to make up their mind after they reach 18 on their political views is up to them, presidents speeches such as this needs to be left out of school rooms.” At the Express-News website there are 215 comments as of this writing about the speech, some too vile for me to even repeat here. People are taking their kids out of school so they don’t have to listen to the speech. For those who are pulling such a stunt read the remarks for a change and tell me what you’d say differently.
So where did all this hatred really come from? According to David Carr at the NY Times it’s a part of a viral attitude prompted by some conservative talk show hosts and bloggers. Carr quotes one blogger at the Red Pills blog, “this just feels like something a banana dictator or a Hugo Chávez would do.” Comparing Pres. Obama to the Venezuelan dictator because he was encouraging kids to stay in school and do the work? Have we really lost our ability to talk sensibly about issues and feel the only way to debate is to make such insane claims?
Gary Bauer, American Values leader, makes the following statement, “Once again, the Obama Administration is using its power in unprecedented ways, this time injecting itself into the nation’s classrooms. Tuesday may be a good day to sit in on your child’s classes.” In an article in the Atlantic Monthly quoting Bauer the question is asked what is so bad about the president’s speech to kids. One commenter made the following statement, “The reason, which you fail to see, dear sir, is that most people in the nation, some of whom are parents, would not want one word uttered from this disgusting excuse of a person’s mouth to nest itself in the ears of the youth.”
Ah, now we’re finally getting at the root of the problem. From what I’ve been able to tell reading through all the dribble from the right about the speech is not the content. It’s the fact that Pres. Obama is giving it. Take that same speech and let any other person give it and no one would say a thing. Put a president who is focused on ushering in change and improving society and now you have a source of hatred. To make matters worse, the right has driven the commentary to be about casting Obama as a racist. Glenn Beck, conservative talk show host, makes some of the most contradictory comments on the matter, trying to dance around the issue after claiming Obama hates white people.
I have really avoided trying to cast the opposition as having their own form of racism but when a statement like Beck’s comes out you have to wonder where the root of that statement comes from. Rush Limbaugh, when talking about Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, makes the claim she is a “reverse racist” after the “wise latina” comment surfaced. So in reality it is apparent the conservative wing of politics in America feels the issue is about race in many cases. I had so hoped we had moved forward in our debates but apparently that doesn’t seem to be the case.
So in the end I can only come up with a couple of conclusions in this continuing debate raging in America. Conservatives really cannot find common good in anything Obama says or does. Conservatives want to play the race card every chance they can get to enrage the public on both sides. Finally, while this kind of hateful speech continues in America we will never move forward on any programs or issues, kind of like the last eight years of stagnation in America. The difference is that they aren’t leading the stagnation but they are promoting it by killing meaningful progress with hate speech.
Maybe it’s time the rest of us finally tell them to sit down and shut up for a change. They’ve had their wasted eight years. Let’s let someone who really has progress on his mind try to move us forward.
Update 9/8/2009 6:55 a.m. – I follow some conservative blogs to hear what the other side is saying. One blog from Houston, Right Wing Sparkle, I typically disagree with. However, today she wrote a very reasonable blog entry after reading Pres. Obama’s speech. She took away from it the message the president was trying to convey. She, unlike some of the others, did not get caught up in the rancor of the talk show idiots. Sometimes we can be reasonable when we have a common goal that we can all agree on.