At noon next Tuesday, Sept. 8, the president will speak via live video to schoolchildren across our country. He will be welcoming them back to school, and urging them “to take personal responsibility for their own education, to set goals, and to not only stay in school but make the most of it,” according to the White House blog.
The White House has launched a resources web page providing information on how to watch it on TV, the Internet or via satellite, and classroom activities that teachers can use to stimulate discussion on the importance of education in students’ lives
An accompanying public service announcement video features NASCAR drivers urging kids to go to school and “grab onto the future with both hands.”
Sounds like a good and uncontroversial message. President George H.W. Bush did a similar speech in 1991. His son, George W. Bush, posted a “teacher’s guide” on the White House web site to help students understand the “freedom timeline” and encouraged them to “explor[e] the biographies of the President, Mrs. Bush, Vice President, and Mrs. Cheney.”
Yet the Glenn Beck-Rush Limbaugh network is mobilizing parents to pull their kids out of school Sept. 8 to protect them from “this leftist indoctrination outrage.”
“They are capturing your kids,” Beck fulminated on his show. “Stand guard America. Your republic is under attack.”
Put this together with the “birther” campaign claiming President Obama is not really a citizen and not eligible to be president, and the posters of Obama defaced with Hitler mustaches and swastikas.
It’s not about the kids. It’s not about health care. It’s about a racist, reckless far right, well financed by extreme right sections of corporate America, that is hell-bent on overturning the 2008 election results by any means necessary. These are the same folks who organized the “Brooks Brothers riot” that stopped the vote count in 2000 and installed George W. Bush in the White House. They couldn’t pull that same trick this time, because the people’s forces were powerfully mobilized. But they are working to de-legitimize the Obama presidency and block the progressive agenda that he was elected to carry out.
One doesn’t have to agree with each and every position taken by Obama to see the clear and present danger of this anti-Obama movement. It is a threat to democracy, to every democratic and progressive advance. Every American has a stake in speaking out and saying, “We stand for democracy. We stand with President Obama.”