There are still people here in Georgia who do not want their children to listen to a back-to-school speech from that bad, bad man, Mr. Barack Obama, otherwise known for the last two and a half years as the president of the United States.

Dear Parent(s) or Guardian(s):

We will air President Obama’s third annual national address directly to students on Monday, October 3, 2011, at 9:30 a.m. President Obama’s speech coincides with the beginning of school for many districts across the nation. His actual speech will be delivered on Wednesday, September 28, 2011, at 1:30 p.m.

If you do not want your child to view the address, please complete the bottom portion of this letter and return it to your child’s homeroom teacher no later than Friday, September 30, 2011. Those students who will not view the broadcast at their parents’ request will report to the gymnasium with an appropriate book, magazine, or newspaper after reporting to homeroom. Please feel free to contact me if you have additional questions or concerns.

Copy of Note from Gwinnett County Schools via Atlanta Journal Constitution

 

I can’t believe that J. Alvin Wilbanks, Gwinnett school superintendent, even wasted time addressing this concern. Each president of the United States is sworn to upload and protect everything those American flags flying outside of the schools in the Gwinnett County school system stand for, the same flag the same students are saluting whenever they recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I wouldn’t have given the sanctimonious parents who pushed for this anything more than a pass to sit in on a civics class.

It is hard to believe, after two and a half years, that there are still people who swear if President Barack Obama so much as breathes in Little Johnny's direction during the school day, he will have their kids calling each other "comrade" by the time they come home. Although I am inclined to believe that most of these concerned parents couldn't explain what the tenets of communism were if a year’s worth of gas for their SUV was at stake.

The best protection for your child is an appreciation of knowledge for knowledge's sake. A working understanding of the basic tenets of critical thinking. And a facility with the English language that includes the mastery of a vocabulary large enough to recognize the nuances that differentiate the meaning of one word from the next when someone is speaking to you.

But that, as my mother would say, is too easy. Makes too much sense. Instead, these people will do the thing they always do, the way Dana Loesch did when she insisted that President Obama was lying about the booing emanating from the audience at last week’s Republican debate when a question to the candidates was given by Stephen Hill, a gay soldier stationed in Iraq—claim that the truth is what they are telling you, and that everything else is all lies.

But if they don't want their Little Johnny listening to the president of ALL of these United States as he gives out the kind of simple advice—study hard, read more, make goals for yourself—that helped to get President Obama where he is today, that's fine.

Jamal WILL be listening.

Jiao WILL be listening.  

Javier WILL be listening.  

Jharma WILL be listening.

 

Broadcast the speech for the children of all your immigrants, Gwinnett County. Broadcast the speech for the children of your dispossessed minorities, Gwinnett County, and for their parents, who have defied every challenge in the book to get to the real America, the one that still has "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free" tattooed to the base of the Statue of Liberty.

They'll be the ones soberly helping their children to master their A-B-C's and 1-2-3's. Demanding that homework get done before play time begins. Adding enrichment programs and activities on their own to bolster what the school teaches. Helping their children learn, one day at a time, how to navigate this thing we call life without having to depend on slogans and jingles and propaganda of any kind to give them their own sense of personal direction.

Training their children, in other words, to deal with the world and its realities rather than look for an excuse to opt out.