9/5/2009—Eleanor Chute reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today that some school districts will not show President Barack Obama’s speech about staying in school live and others will notify parents in advance so that students can opt out of watching the speech. Gateway School District spokeswoman Cara Zanella was quoted as saying that the opt out “was fair to both sides”.
Sorry. When the President of the United States speaks to schoolchildren on a nonpartisan topic, there are no “sides”. The Presidency is a peculiar office in political life. On the one hand, the President is a partisan, party leader. On the other hand, the President is our main symbol of national unity. When the President speaks as the leader of all Americans, political opponents seethe because inevitably this adds legitimacy to his role as party leader. But, Americans usually recognize that respect for the office is a necessary element of our democracy.
If President George Bush had wanted to make this same speech about working hard and staying in school, there would have been grumbling from Democrats. But I doubt very much if any school in the nation would have opted out.
Since this speech is by all accounts actually to be about staying in school and working hard, criticism that it is political simply means that political opponents of President Obama do not wish him to be seen as the legitimate President of all Americans. This is not much different from carrying a weapon near where the President is speaking. It communicates a denial of legitimacy for the President that differs from the intense policy differences experienced by President Bush. I hated the Bush presidency, but I don’t think I saw him as not really the President. (Some Democrats did deny his legitimacy, because of Bush v. Gore).
Republicans and other Obama opponents are beginning to act like the people they profess to oppose. They are acting like people who hate America. In fact, they are acting like people who don’t believe there is such a thing as America. By refusing to treat President Obama as genuinely the President of all of us, they are threatening the democracy they claim to love.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
“Debate” Over Obama Speech an Unpatriotic Disgrace
Posted by Bruce Ledewitz at 7:07 AM
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Obama thankfully is not nearly as authoritarian as you are.ReplyDelete
"The White House has said the speech will emphasize the importance of education and hard work in school, both to the individual and to the nation. The message is not partisan, nor compulsory, officials said.
“This isn’t a policy speech,” said Sandra Abrevaya, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education. “It’s designed to encourage kids to stay in school. The choice on whether to show the speech to students is entirely in the hands of each school. This is absolutely voluntary.”
Right on, Professor!ReplyDelete
Recall, why is the professor authoritarian?
Gateway School District spokeswoman Cara Zanella was quoted as saying that the opt out “was fair to both sides”.ReplyDelete
Sorry. When the President of the United States speaks to schoolchildren on a nonpartisan topic, there are no “sides”.
This is dissent. We may not agree with it, but they have a right to it.
Do you have a dictionary, Recall? If not, stick to the shorter words.ReplyDelete
Well, do you think parents pulling their kids for that speech threatens democracy?ReplyDelete
No, and there are plenty of other stupid things that do not threaten democracy.ReplyDelete
By refusing to treat President Obama as genuinely the President of all of us, they are threatening the democracy they claim to love.ReplyDelete
Then you might want to read all the way to the end of these posts.
I did read it. I don't agree with the last line and maybe I should have qualified my "right on."ReplyDelete
But the question we have been discussing is whether anything said in the post is authoritarian. I don't see it, including the last line. The professor did not make any claims that the crazies should not be allowed to express their opinions, but that those opinions have consequences.
Which is more authoritarian then Obama's comments on the matter.ReplyDelete