Google+ Followers

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bordering On The Ridiculous

OK, I don't address political issues much because, from my perspective, politics is tremendously limited in it's impact. I also abhor the inflammatory rhetoric that is the norm on both sides of the political aisle when talking about divisive issues. But, I feel the need to weigh in on the "controversy" over President Obama addressing students in our public schools on Tuesday.

From many of the things I have read and heard, there is a tremendous outcry over the President's address - and it is an outcry coming from the conservative side of the aisle. It seems there is a fear that the President might unduly influence impressionable students to embrace stands and ideals that are contrary to their parents.

The speech President Obama is giving is not a policy speech, it is a speech about the importance of education, of staying in school, having goals and sticking with them. Although President Obama comes from a liberal Democratic philosophy, there are things that both sides of the aisle agree on and one of those is the importance of education.

As well, what a phenomenal opportunity to talk with our kids, this event represents. Research over and over has shown that the most influential person in a child's life is their parents. This is a great chance to open a conversation with our kids about a number of issues - education, politics, the role of the President, etc. It is an opportunity to help our kids develop discernment in understanding what people are saying and why they are saying the things they are.

The righteousness of God is greater than the politics of men. We do not need to live lives of fear. Pastor John Piper in his blog today (, gave this prayer. We need to take the Bible seriously and pray for our President and others in power over us, that they would use their influence for the common good. (1 Peter 2:13-17) Piper's prayer is a great place to start.

Father, the condition of our schools and families is so broken that nothing seems to be working, especially for the poor in our urban centers. Help our president to have the courage to use his amazing place of influence to speak into this situation in such a way that boys and girls would take their studies seriously and put school above sport and homework above hiphop and graduation above gangs.

O, Lord, create a culture where it is not cool to fail. Give our President the courage to call all children, especially ones who feel hopeless about academic work, to fight for knowledge the way gangs fight for turf.

And as the President plans his speech, help him to feel as helpless as he really is to meet the greatest needs of the children, so that he turns to Jesus who alone has the answer for the ruin and the wrongs of our cities. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Jerry said...

Yes it is important for the kids to stay in school. Be that as it may, just like in church - win the children and you have a better shot at the parents. Sly political move.

Leslie said...

Hmmm, if only it was that simple. If only the focus WAS our children and their education. I don't think anyone opposes encouraging education, or even the President of the United States encouraging education. To the conservatives' defense, some would say that it is the liberal agenda that has been of the most detriment to the children and their education/school system. I didn't see any of the speech, but I do know all the "fuss" altered its content. Politics should stay out of our school system as much as possible, and if a "fuss" succeeded in doing that with Obama's speech ~ good ~ it's a free country, parents have the right to do that. Most of them, quite honestly, care little about politics ~ they are just looking out for their children.

Larry Rascon said...


“The speech President Obama is giving is not a policy speech.”

I would agree. But, only because of those radical people who spoke out with “inflammatory rhetoric.”

You read the finished speech, and then labeled those who influenced the final product.

From the Federal Department of Education. “Some of the original text was poorly worded.” Why was it changed?


Change the children first: "The Nazi leadership appreciated the difficulty of indoctrinating the older generation.... They were all the more determined to mold the new generation along Nazi lines. As the leader of the Nazi Teacher's League, Hans Schemm, put it: 'Those who have the youth on their side control the future.'"

Create world-class citizen: "...create a new type of student..."

“We are not a Christian Nation . . . we are all citizens.” -Obama.


Larry Rascon said...

Here is one example:

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to help me on MY goals for education.

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education.

Poorly worded or something else?


"Trust but verify"
-President Reagan

Lester said...

Exactly, Larry. Some would call that "extremist", and if taken at face value, it probably is. But it always starts somewhere. That is why most everybody who values freedom do not want politics in our school system ~ no matter who the president is. I do not think anyone is comparing Obama to Hitler; it is simply about protecting everything that makes this country work the way it does. You allow a little political agenda in now, how do you measure "too much" influence later? Ultimately, we see the fundamentals of our country changed if we do not protect it.

For example, a writing assignment proposed at the address by Obama on ways for our kids to help him is not appropriate. What does that have to do with education? Nothing.