Always Crazy, Always Fun, Always Love

Ray Romano once compared life with twins to living in a frat house. As he put it, "no one sleeps, there is a lot of noise and a lot of throwing up." I find this very true with 4 young children, including twins. However, though things are always crazy, we always try to have fun and, most certainly, always love each other.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On Creating Public Hysteria

Yes...... I, too, can not believe it but this post is at least partially about Mr. Obama.

I don't consider myself a very political person. I have a few core beliefs that I feel strongly about, so I vote that way, but otherwise don't generally discuss politics much. There is a lot about politics I just don't understand and am certainly not able to carry on much of a debate with someone with opposing viewpoints. I just know what I believe. So, I generally keep my mouth shut.

I am very conservative politically and just don't care much for many of Obama's view points at all.

Everyone- whether you have kids in school or not- heard about the President's speech to school kids yesterday. I have found it interesting to think and reflect on the hysteria caused by it.

I first heard about it one evening while speaking on the phone with a friend. I had not heard anything about it at all, and she goes on to tell me about this horrific speech the president was set to give and how kids should not watch it and that many schools were canceling it due to parental concerns. I thought it sounded interesting, but didn't think too much of it since I hadn't heard about it otherwise. The next day, another friend mentioned it- who had heard the news from her over-zealous in-law and was also concerned by what she heard. After these two conversations, I too was concerned. After speaking to both of them, I read about it in the paper and also didn't like what I read there. I was especially concerned that our school district was requiring the children to watch it- without even giving parents a choice to opt out. My first reaction was to not send them to school that day. How dare they make my child watch something I was opposed to? However, I made a conscience decision to not join the hysteria and to study the situation myself.

So, I started to read about it. The more I read, the more it seemed to truly be intended as a "stay in school" speech- which, within itself is really a good thing! But, I read the concerns were due to some of the Presidents original phrasing such as asking the kids ways they could "serve their president" (versus their country...) and other such phrasing. This part is true, and where the hysteria came from I think, however- the phrasing was changed as the staff came to realize it wasn't worded well. So, I ended up relaxing completely having no issue with my children watching the speech. Despite the fact I don't care for Obama, he had a good message to share, and he is the president after all, and my children are young enough they don't really listen anyway.

It got me thinking as to what led to all of this panic. Here are my thoughts:

1) the concern over the phrasing. This was passed from person to person to person, without those people really reading up on it before passing it on to the next person. As this was passed on to those who are highly politically charged, it progressed to an anger, and continued to get passed down the line from person to person.

2) Some people, who maybe weren't concerned about the message itself, were opposed because they felt (quoted from a viewer on the news one night) "the President should stop campaigning and do his job." This probably explains what I read that, even though past presidents of all parties have done similar speeches, it has been controversial every time because it is hard to believe that a "politician" isn't campaigning every time they open their mouth, and parents are worried about their children being "campaigned to" while in school. Presidents such as George H.W. Bush, Reagan and Kennedy all did something similar, all with at least a little controversy.

3) Even the pro-Obama people got worked up because of the protesters and took things to far. I talked back and forth with some people on Facebook about the situation. I never outright opposed, because I was on the fence and not sure what it was all about, but I did state my concerns as I was trying to understand- but I read some comments of people stating that those who were opposed did so because of his race. Why would they claim that just because someone disagreed they were racist???? Puh-leeze. Give me a break. At least with my concerns, race had nothing to do with it. Maybe I am naive, but I tend to think racism can't be that big a problem for our President at least, when he did manage to get elected....

4) We all like a good story or scandal. I think it is within us all to lean toward the dramatic. Sometimes I think we all need to take a step back and look at the big picture. It is easy to get worked up about things like this with emails going around previously accusing Obama of being the next Hitler. Again... Puh-leeze. As I said before, I disagree with Obama and I don't think he is best for this country, but I certainly don't see him as being the next Hitler. Another couple years (or 7 at the most....) and he will be voted out, their will be a new president andlife will go on.

So, I know I have rambled on a bit. As I said before, my children watched the speech and I am glad they did. I am thankful that I didn't panic, but took a step back and did what I could to figure it out. I think if we all did that when we are told something questionable (whether it is about the president, or our neighbor) that we should hesitate to jump on the band wagon and seek for the true information and make educated decisions about what we believe and what is best- and respect others even if they disagree. What a boring world it would be if we all believed the same.


Michelle said...

i totally agree and we are the same when it comes to politics..I was not really concerned that my girls would be forced to watch bothered me that there were schools giving no other options. I too read the speech and thought it was nothing but a stay in know something your mother would tell you. However I also was "watching" and somewhat participating against someone on facebook who refused to believe that all the president said was to stay in school that he had a propaganda and that he expressed it through his words..aka between the lines..
My sister is a teacher at a charter school right now and the kids all grades were made to watch it..they got nothing out of it short of they knew the president of the US was talking to them..
It is also interesting that many of the people that opposed the speech said they want to be there when it happens and nothing political should happen without their approval..umm you could read the speech(silly people)..anyways not to take up your entire comment section but yes I agree with everything that you have said

Katie said...

HAHA! I hadn't heard about it until Saturday from some major Obama haters. But even then I said I'd let my kid watch it, much to the disgust of some of my company. So Spencer (a major Obama hater himself) read it. We totally would let our kids watch it. Though Parker has been out sick all week so it didn't even matter.

I don't really like to discuss politics either.

Sara Emily said...

I was soooo annoyed there were parents that made their children stay home from school that day. I mean - the Pres. is giving a speech stating 'stay in school' and the parents are keeping them home which is telling the kids - you don't have to go to school if there's something you doin't agree with! Are you kidding me?? Ugh. I'm so glad you didn't keep your kids home that day. I think the pres. could have told the kids that dinosaurs are flying and our noses will be removed and they probably wouldn't hear or remember the speach anyway (I have no memory of pres. bush speaking when we were in school) but I think it's important they do listen to the president, no matter who it is! He's still the president for goodness sake!!

Kelly said...

I had not heard a ton about it prior to Friday- when I was bombarded with incorrect info from friends and parents! My word!! What was soooo pressing and soooo horrible?! Dana's aunt is a huge Obama supporter, even met him after being invited to attend an event in Chicago- tax payer paid- to give a speech to him about her ideas on health reform- anyway- she said the notes would be posted on Monday. I, trying to be the informed parent, read them and then formed my opinion. I am thankful they changed the words and phrases, otherwise, I may have felt different. My kid's school taped it to be watched another day- probably won't even get to that- no problems to kids could careless- honestly- it's not a big deal!
Loved all your thoughts and all the responses!!

Autumn said...

I think you articulated your thoughts so well Amanda. I feel the same in that I definitely don't know everything that's going on. I think to be totally informed you'd have to listen/watch/read 24/7...which I'm not interested in doing.

After hearing lots of warnings about it, I saw it posted and read it. There was nothing I disagreed with. However, my understanding is it was edited multiple times.

Generally speaking I think its great for kids to be familiar with their president, current events, etc, etc...of course. Still, as time goes on, I distrust the delivery more and more. I just don't think you can believe everything media is reporting (that the Pres is doing/believes in) let alone text books and teachers delivery/ additional info given. (As is the case with any topic.) Most topics it may not matter as much but I am very concerned about our president and his agenda. I do think young minds are especially ready for all input. I can see an Obama supporter teacher (plenty of them) ALL over the opportunity of encouraging the suggested essay of "how can I support my president"?

I think you're right that we are all prone to drama (most anyway). I also very much believe that IF there was something worthy of true (negative) attention, the WH or biased media isn't going to tell us, and hence, I think we're all prone to complacency as well. None of us want to believe that our country is changing negatively (I assume). But I don't trust the pres and I think everything he says/does is worthy of caution. I think we have to stay informed and teach our kids what we believe is true. And that's something the media should report since we didn't know it before, right? :)

Busy Mom said...

Wow, you took the words out of my mouth! My kids were not given the chance to watch it, because our administration chose to listen to the parents that objected. I feel bad that there wasn't even a choice!
I don't care which president it is, it is a good experience for the kids to have the president talk to you. Not always to the parents.
Thank you for not caving in the mass hysteria!

Lauri said...

Good thoughts, Amanda. I think you did the right thing and read up on everything so you could make an informed decision.

It really was a good, well delivered speech.

trentnjeanmorello said...

okay I am a little late commenting...but seriously, if my child was old enough to attend school she would have been right there listening to President Obama telling her and her peers that they can be successful if they set goals and stay in school...

my question is...are people going to keep their children home from school every time they do not disagree with what is being said?!?!?!? If so, parents do not ever send your kids to school because they are HEARING and LISTENING to things that you do not believe...