Politics

Allowing Our Children to Make Informed Decisions

Updated: Watch the live streaming video of Obama’s address here: http://linkbee.com/C1U6I (10:40 a.m. CST)

Updated II: And by the way folks, to play fair, Democrats got just as bent out of shape when Pres. Bush spoke to kids in 1991. http://bit.ly/3JM2Go Bottom line? Keep an eye on our politicians. Power corrupts people, even good people.

Much controversy has surrounded the issue of why President Obama is addressing the nation’s school children Tuesday. Critics point out that much of the background information originally delivered to schools suggested that teachers use the speech to discuss the president’s work rather than education itself. When that was criticized by the media, the White House pulled back, now communicating that this speech is about the president sharing his views about why school is so important.

Whether or not you believe it is a good use of the president’s time to deliver this national education speech, or whether or not you agree with him, here are some tips on how you can use this opportunity to educate your own kids about education – how it works, what we all can do to make it better, and how we can influence our elected officials to do the right thing for our kids.

Why are some people so mad about his giving the speech?

Some people think this is another attempt by the president to take over an issue that’s historically been a local one. Clear authority for school improvement needs to be made at the state level. The federal government can provide support or incentives, but we’d prefer that decisions about how we operate schools and what kinds of reforms we adopt be made closest to where we live–by state legislators that we elect from our communities. Local decisions are not always the best, but we can monitor them more easily and they reflect the unique differences of each state. As long as we all recognize that, no one should be threatened by the president’s speech.

This is an excerpt from the article, “Making Sense of President Obama’s School Speech” at The Center for Education Reform.

I’d like to take it one step further — people are also upset because they see it as yet another attempt, from our government, to push socialistic issues, not necessarily educational issues, on our country. By addressing our children, some people feel like they are trying to manipulate, and mold, our young into thinking the way they do so they will grow up and support a socialist country.

People are scared and nervous because suddenly, becoming a socialist country is a lot more attainable than they had originally thought possible. Helping people is one thing, taking over people’s lives and dictating how they can, and can not live, is an entirely different monster.

Look, here’s the thing — I’m a devout Republican.

I know, how freaking annoying and OH MY GOSH! I must be a cold and heartless person to admit that, but please, don’t judge – we all have our beliefs and I just happen to agree (FAR) more with the Republicans than with the Democrats.

(We don’t need no stinkin’ government breathing down our necks, thank you very much. We can take care of ourselves).

But let’s get real here, just because I’m a Republican doesn’t mean I agree with everything the Republicans stand for. For instance, what is UP with people’s reactions to President Obama’s proposed speech?

Granted, when I first read about the speech and saw, with my own eyes, what he had planned, I was furious.

“What can YOU do to help the president??” Was one of the exercises the White House was “suggesting” our children take part in after the speech.

Geez, what a self-serving … jerk that man is. Could his ego GET any bigger?

Was my first thought.

But because this is America and we have an awesome, if not flawed, checks and balances system, people saw this load of propaganda nonsense and called the president out on it.

(Though to be fair, it was most likely the writer’s fault for the insane, and poorly written verbiage, but who knows? You’re telling me the president never looked over the material before it went public?)

As a result, the White House revised the agenda.

Score one for the Republic. (Keep an eye on these politicians, folks. Both Democrats AND Republicans. They will be given an inch and then tax us a mile).

But now? It’s a simple speech, addressed to our children, about the importance of staying in school and to work hard toward their goals.

WHY exactly is this a problem of such colossal proportions that parents are actually entertaining the notion of keeping their children home from school tomorrow?

What exactly are we teaching our children when we resort to drastic measures like this simply because we disagree with an institution or an individual?

That it’s okay to simply hide our head in the sand and NOT at least have the respect and courtesy of listening to an opposing side? How does this mold responsible and informed future citizens? How can a person logically and intelligently make a decision on an issue if he/she doesn’t hear ALL sides?

Don’t our children have the right to make up their own minds about issues? Are we so focused on making sure they grow up with our own ideals and beliefs that we’re willing to yank them from the debate, thereby denying them the right to decide for themselves?

That in itself sounds a little like brainwashing to me.

Now granted, they are children. And they are gullible and vulnerable, but let’s give these kids some credit, they aren’t likely to become brain washed into a radical state of thinking by simply watching one presidential address.

(Now if the president makes this a habit, that’s something entirely different – but this one time? It doesn’t warrant the panic that it’s evoked).

And let’s not forget, he IS our president, whether we like it or not. Again, what are we teaching our children? To disrespect the president? What ever happened to respectfully disagreeing?

My boys are going to school tomorrow. And I am NOT signing a form that will excuse them from the speech IF their teachers feel it’s necessary to allow our students to view it. Why? Because it’s a perfect opportunity to TALK to the boys about what’s going on in our country right now and to LISTEN to their own unique, and individual, views on the subject.

By making this a big deal, guess what, IT’S A BIG DEAL. At least, to our children, who don’t fully understand what is going on. All they know is that their parents are upset because the president, a man who deserves our respect simply because of his position, is daring to speak to our country.

I understand the principle behind the arguments. I understand, and agree, that we don’t wish our president to shove socialistic ideals down our children’s throats. And yes, it’s a little strange that the president is addressing this during the day and not at night so that parents and children can view it together.

But I believe he feels like he’s doing a good and positive thing here, so let’s take the president’s good intentions and go with it.

Keeping our children home from school simply because we don’t wish for them to hear our president speak is defeating the purpose – it’s NOT making our country stronger, it’s driving that wedge just a little deeper.

(Cute little girl image by Clover__1)

Life

Stupid Five Digit Code

This is the rose that Kevin bought me the other night. His band, Midnite Thunder, was playing at The New Key Largo and a rose lady appeared out of nowhere while the guys were on their break.

I had gone to the restroom and when I came back out, it was lying on the table.

What a sweetheart.

Of course, the cheap part of my brain (which makes up about 89%) kicked in first and my very first thought was, “good grief, how much did he waste on that?” before the appreciative, girly part of my brain kicked in and melted into a puddle of goo at his feet for his romantic thoughtfulness.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love flowers just as much as the next girl, but Oy, MUST they be so freaking expensive? It’s hard to justify spending that much money on something that doesn’t even last a week.

At least, they don’t last one week in my household because I have a black thumb and kill everything I touch.

I have to admit though, this rose is one of the prettier ones I’ve had in quite some time and it’s still alive (*gasp*!) three days later.

I have sniffed it so many times that I actually pulled a petal out of my nostril this morning.

That damn flower WILL be appreciated, thank you very much.

I was in a really weird mood Friday night. I’m not a big bar person to begin with so I was a bit grumpy that I had to go (well, I didn’t have to go, but it would have hurt Kevin’s feelings if I hadn’t, so yeah, I had to go), but I felt doubly weird because my in-laws were there.

Now, this is nothing new, they’ve been coming to quite a few of Kevin’s gigs, but I feel … stifled when they’re there – like I can’t really BE myself, which is stupid because I probably wouldn’t have acted any differently if they hadn’t been there. But I don’t know … it’s like having your parents around when you’re trying to be cool….

… it just doesn’t happen, ya know?

I had a moment when I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me whole. I was sitting at a table by myself because I was video taping the band when this dude (I want to say OLD dude but let’s be honest, he was about my age *scowl*) stopped at my table and started mouthing something at me.

Because I’m UBER cool under these situations I gave him an impatient look and growled out a “HUH?”

He looked surprised but didn’t give up. He just leaned down and said, “It’s about time you got here.”

I nearly laughed.

Oh wait, I DID laugh.

Seriously? That was the best he could do?!

But whatever. I just smiled and mumbled something unintelligible (because that’s what I do best) and he scurried off.

The whole thing would have been funny if I hadn’t looked over to see my mother-in-law’s disapproving face staring back at me.

“Was that man just talking to you?” she gasped.

And I grinned, because when I’m embarrassed or uncomfortable, I always resort to inappropriate humor.

“Yeah! He was trying to pick me up, as if!” And I rolled my eyes.

I’m thinking my mother-in-law wasn’t amused.

Funny, now that I think about it, I don’t think that guy stuck around. I can’t imagine why.

Kevin was phenomenal that night. And I’m not just saying that because he reads my blog (hi honey!) and I’m trying to butter him up (is it working?!) but because, honestly? It’s true. He was on FIRE that night. He was relaxed and having a good time and even when the guys goofed up, they laughed about it, which only made us, the audience, appreciate their human-ness even more.

I know I’ve talked about this before, but honestly, when he plays …. *LA- SIGH*, it just melts my heart. He’s a different person. And just when I think it’s not possible to love him any more, he proves me wrong.

He rocks my world, ya’ll.

Literally.

I’m just so stinkin’ proud of him.

The New Key Largo liked Midnite Thunder so much that they are putting them on a semi-permanent rotation (I’d say permanent, but I’m not sure if that’s like etched in stone and I don’t want to jinx them), which means, I’ll probably be hanging out there quite a bit. I really like the bar. It’s basically an old barn that’s been converted to a bar and it has a huge dance floor.

Speaking of dancing, yes, I danced. Like the last song of the night. I figured by that time, people were too drunk to know, or care, that I was out there making a fool of myself and I thought, what the heck. I also got Kevin to come off the stage (his guitar was on this wireless hook up thing) and onto the dance floor and I was able to tease him a little.

Dear God in heaven, I love that man.

The night was a success, at least, I thought it was a success. I actually stayed for the entire set (as opposed to leaving about 11ish), so I was super tired and just a little buzzed when I got home. I was also feeling really … weird and depressed, too.

I opened my phone to punch in a tweet but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember the number to call. I sat there and wracked my brain but …. nothing. A big fat dark cloud consumed my brain.

And this was BEFORE I had had anything to drink.

It really, really, REALLY bothers me that I can’t remember things. Just the simplest things. Like a stupid five digit number to call in a tweet. My lack of memory scares me.

I haven’t mentioned this on my blog before, but my grandmother has dementia. In fact, she’s at a level seven, which is the worst you can have it.

Level 7 – Very severe cognitive decline (Late Dementia)

All verbal abilities are lost. Frequently there is no speech at all – only grunting. Incontinent of urine. Requires assistance toileting and feeding. Lose of basic psycho-motor skills, e.g., ability to walk. The brain appears to no longer be able to tell the body what to do. Generalized and cortical neurological signs and symptoms are frequently present.

I haven’t seen my grandmother in quite some time. And even if I went over there now, she wouldn’t know who I was.

I’m scared that I might inherit this condition later in life. Especially since I can’t remember things NOW, in the prime of my life. I pray it’s not a symptom of things to come.

I know it’s a silly thing, to be freaked out because I can’t remember a simple five-digit number, but it’s so much more than that. I can’t remember most of my life.

I even have trouble remembering things that happened at the beginning of my marriage. I can remember if I see a picture or someone jogs my memory, but on my own? I’m lost.

Nothing.

I started to write a blog post that night — but it was so dark and melancholy that I decided to scratch it. I hate when I get like that. It’s not really who I am, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to those dark moments from time-to-time.

But my memory problems … they do bother me. A lot. And that’s the biggest reason I love this blog – it gives me a chance to write this stuff down because chances are? I’m going to forget some day.

Let’s just hope I’m ONLY forgetting five digit numbers and not something really important like, say, my family.

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