Yo Mama vs. Obama

I have heard enough about this all week that I am compelled to say something about it my personal forum. I don’t want to mess up my happy blog with political discussion, but this blog is, after all, what’s on my mind and this has been on my mind all week.

(In case you are reading this post 5 years from now, here’s a little background…) President Barack Obama was going to deliver a speech to the children of America with his thoughts about their upcoming schoolyear, followed up by some materials that ask questions like how his speech has inspired them to help the president. Many parents in America insisted that their children not see this speech and the followup materials because they were afraid that it is a subliminal message brainwashing their children to push President Obama’s agenda.

Coming from the other spectrum of parents, I am confused and not really sure why so I’m hoping for a closer perspective on that point of view. I’ve got a bunch of questions for those parents (starting with these below – I tried to pick my most unassuming ones) so, if you’re out there reading this, please feel free to comment and help me make sense of your point of view:

  • I read the full text of Obama’s Speech and it looks to me like the agenda he is trying to push is personal responsibility and individual’s accountability for their destiny. He talks to the kids about finding ways for themselves to be successful and learning from and looking to their elders (parents, grandparents, teachers, counselors) for advice and support. It’s even so patriotic to say that the good things that come out of that ultimately are the good things that make up this country. So, what is the problem with that message?
  • The general complaint that I’ve heard out there is that he will be brainwashing children to push his agenda in this speech. While I completely agree that Obama is charismatic, charming, handsome and very engaging, even if he had more than the agenda above, do you really believe he can brainwash your kids in the space of an hour? Maybe either a) you’ve given him too much credit to be so powerful in your mind or b) you haven’t given your kids enough credit to digest information that’s given to them and make sense of it on their own. Either way it sounds like fear of something – president or kids? Maybe ideas? Let’s explore this and figure out what the real fear is and why it is scary – maybe I should be afraid and I just don’t know it.
  • Let’s suppose that there was a subliminal message or agenda in the president’s words and that it did in fact brainwash your kids like a Saturday morning cartoon and your kids come back from school completely excited about his speech and whatever agenda he was pushing… How many minutes of an ever-more-present parental voice do you think it will take to undo that? This is an opportunity for each of those parents to have dialogue with their kids about their personal opinions and why they believe the president is wrong. The advantages: it’s not a debate and after the president speaks, parents will always have the last word. My real question is what makes this particular speech so different that it would be too difficult to undo?
    • Small Plug: I must break here and remind every parent that YOU ARE YOUR KID’S HERO and they will believe everything you say. So, this might actually be a great platform to influence your opinions on your kids by explaining why you think everything the president has said is wrong.
  • Parents: Remember when you were a kid and your mom told you how many times not to do something and you just got better and better at sneaking around and doing it? (Conversely, remember the phrases your dad always used that you’re now using as an adult?) Do you think all the attention (negative or otherwise) on this speech might have given it more publicity that was due? So, you know you’ve got a smart and resourceful kid – (you can answer this one privately) have you considered that they might find another way to watch or read this speech anyway?

I am personally of the persuasion that anyone can say anything to my kid and if I have some opposition to it, I will take the time needed to express that to my kid until I feel like I’ve sufficiently grilled my personal opinion into her head (I think she will back me up on this one) and after all of that, she will still manage to find her own voice and opinion that may or may not resemble my own and we still manage to find ways to love each other independent of our personal opinions.

As much as I would enjoy the supporting viewpoints, I’d REALLY love to hear some contrary views here and figure this out. I am bummed for the kids who are missing out on what to me feels like inspiring words about personal responsibility, focusing on school and respecting our elders and while I respect every parent’s decision on what they will or won’t expose their kids to, it would be good to know why this particular event didn’t make the cut.

The lines are now open.

0 Responses to “Yo Mama vs. Obama”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: