President Obama is planning to address America's schoolchildren next week in a speech that will stress the importance of setting educational goals and assuming personal responsibility for taking steps to achieve those goals. That sounds fairly inoccuous to me, but the Repbulicans, as if they aren't angry and scared enough about virtually everything else, are furious. Apparently, they believe that Obama's speech will be an exercise in indoctrination in socialist ideology or some such bullshit. So, personal responsibility = socialism?
It seems like not very long ago, personal responsibility was a cornerstone upon which conservative ideology was built, but then we live in an era when the Republicans chose for their 2008 Vice Presidential candidate a woman who would make a better guest on the Jerry Springer show than a competent public officer and who clearly wouldn't quit anything until she was half-way done with it. Values and all...
The Republicans point to a set of optional lesson plans being offered to schools as an accompaniment to Obama's speech as evidence of the President's indoctrination efforts. The plans originally suggested that kids write essays on how they could, "help the President." This sounds an awful lot like essays I can remember writing in my grade and high school days about how we can help the country. Think: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." The horror!
If the Obama Administration is guilty of anything here, it is not having thoughtfully proofread the materials with an eye for phrases that might be blown out of proportion by vengeful Republicans. A number of other Presidents have spoken directly to America's schoolchildren in the past and I don't ever recall a manufactured uproar like this.