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  1. Les@spillingbuckets
    Les@spillingbuckets at |

    “What are these children thinking as they see their democratically elected symbol of hope and transformation scrutinized, vilified, publicly humiliated, and systematically disempowered?”

    I actually think there is nothing wrong with this.  Every president thoughout history has been humiliated and scrutinized, “ripped on”, by the opposite party.  It happened with both Bush’s, and Clinton, and as far back as I can remember.  I am glad that he is not immue simply becuase of race.  It shows that we as a country look at him as president, for his policies, not as a Black man.  If all of a sudden the other side just shut up there would be something wrong.  The nature of our democracy is to have two parties, two ideas, two sides debating – and it isn’t always pretty. 

    Remember those mothers crying on television when Bush started the wars?  When Clinton had his affairs and was not up to moral standards?  You will always have a few people upset – and the media will always find them.

  2. Kathryn
    Kathryn at |

    Clinton and Bush were both lambasted in the media and by opposing factions for issues that often involved a perceived breach of deeply held moral or ethical tenets….Neither Bush nor Clinton, however, were ever called a liar during a joint session of Congress and neither was ever censured from interaction with school children.  I am not suggesting that Obama should be exempt from criticism and or public scrutiny.  I absolutely agree that this is part and parcel of any healthy democracy and anyone running for the office of president, no matter their race, ethnicity or gender, does so knowing that it is a bruising experience at best. My concern is that he was portrayed by some as being dangerous to the minds of school children. The text of the speech was posted prior to its delivery with ample time for all to sift through its contents. This was not about debate in my mind, since there was really very little substance to actually debate….The speech was too timid for many of its listeners and utterly apolitical.  If it was about debate, opposing parents and others could have used the speech content as the substance of that debate.  This was really about censure, anger, and fear.   What is missing in the media and among parents and their children in my view is a healthy, multilayered critical understanding of the entire event and its larger context.  

    One last thought….I do think that this is not a presidency like any other and that its symbolic meaning was aptly captured by the tears of joy and transformation of thousands of beautiful faces of many colors on election night in Chicago.  The disrespect and incivility that often characterizes contemporary public discourse may indeed cause more hurt and pain in folks who have waited for generations for this moment and in whom hope may not come as easily as it does for the rest of us.  

  3. Les@spillingbuckets
    Les@spillingbuckets at |

    George H.W. Bush was given the same treatment:

    The controversy over President Obama’s speech to the nation’s schoolchildren will likely be over shortly after Obama speaks today at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. But when President George H.W. Bush delivered a similar speech on October 1, 1991, from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC, the controversy was just beginning. Democrats, then the majority party in Congress, not only denounced Bush’s speech — they also ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate its production and later summoned top Bush administration officials to Capitol Hill for an extensive hearing on the issue.

  4. Les@spillingbuckets
    Les@spillingbuckets at |

    And George W. Bush was boo-ed during a State of the Union.

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