Letter: Respect the office of president

In the events of the past week over the hub-(bubba) of our president speaking in schools, I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. Let’s cut to what I see is the real reason … if he were white would we be having this conversation? This is not the first time a president has spoken to schools on a national forum. But it is the first time a black president has.
Second, for those of you who lived here in the ’50s and ’60s. I remember government employees coming in and giving talks on new policy of water conservation. We were required to write an essay about it and have art projects about it. Then there were statewide contests, and a national one. I didn’t hear any parents screaming about “they are making my kid a tree hugger.” What about information from the health department that we have had for years and years? Is it wrong to have children engage in conversation on policy that has a total direct effect on them? Should we not empower them? Should we not teach them that they have a voice? Should we not teach them the value in their education and it is their choice? I never had to have my parents have a letter sent home because a president was going to talk to us, or any government official for that matter. I would have loved to see the reaction of my dad if the school had sent home a letter like this. We are worried about teaching your child government propaganda on the need for clean water and water use. Are you kidding me? It was an effective way to bring water conservation to the forefront, and, yes, it did affect my generation and still is.
When my kids went to school (a private school), they were taken to attend President Clinton’s visit to Albuquerque. My son had received a Presidential Award for academic achievement that same year. The only thing I was told is that they were required to wear suits and ties and behave like ladies and gentlemen. They were to show manners and respect. I must have missed something … when did manners and respect have anything to do with race? Or when did it have anything to do with the message? When did it ever not apply to the president of the United States? What happened to having that conversation with your children?
In the same breath, I hear about having religion in schools. Yet, some of these same people are “preaching” the hate and fear of our leader of this nation. It does not matter if you voted for him or not, he is our president. I did not like Bush. I think he is an idiot, but I still honor the fact that he was our leader. I was embarrassed a lot for the stupid things that rolled out of his mouth, but he was still my president. Even if you don’t respect the man, you still need to respect the office. What was really taught to our children over this? I think it’s very obvious in my eyes … color counts. Show disrespect. Overlook the fact that this president is a constitutional lawyer, or that he came from humble beginnings. Forget the fact that he went to and through the most honored schools in this nation, or that his mother was white, and for the most part a single parent. Forget all that and let’s get lost in hate and fear. How sad we have to even have this conversation. We should have all embraced the chance to teach something of value. Value an honest conversation about real issues that will impact their lives. Health care will impact them one way or another. What happened to empowering them, and giving a good government lesson?
How very, very sad. What a loss of an outstanding learning opportunity. One that was on a national level that should have been embraced for the simple thing it was — our president talking about education and encouraging children to express their thoughts and ideas on these topics that will impact their lives.
Michelle Hale

1 Comment

  1. Michelle,

    I thank you again for your words, as I have many weeks when I read your letters. Thank you for reminding all of us the great need we have for respect and civility in our discussions. We are such a diverse nation. It is what has made us strong and can educate our children in a way no other nation has. Kristine

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