For me, this isn’t about politics, it isn’t about the government. It is about a far more important and tenuous issue: the right of students to inquire. I have had it with hearing parents rant on about their “right” to keep their kids from thinking things the parents disagree with. This bothers me far more than any political issue.
This is an excerpt from my blog on the issue:
“If you need to prohibit your teenager from watching the President’s educational address to them, you have failed them.
You haven’t fostered their ability to entertain a single thought without accepting it undeniably and do not trust nor appreciate their capacity to formulate any opinions on their own. You are sending them the message that receptiveness to opinions that you may disagree with is unnecessary, even dangerous, and in doing so have already brainwashed them more than any politician ever could.
THE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE IS ‘STAY IN SCHOOL!’ ACT WITH HONOR! HARD WORK! COOPERATION! AND CURIOSITY! Really? Are we really going to turn this message into another partisan issue? REALLY?
And yes, I would be saying the SAME THING if it were Bush giving the speech! And I would want my teens to watch it too!
(for more than just the entertainment value of ‘is our children learning’, but my disapproval of Bush is NEITHER here NOR there as to my point…)
I would want them to hear as many view points as possible - however distant they are from mine - on subjects that they may not have opinions on yet, trusting their ability to formulate independent thoughts. THAT IS THE MARK OF A FUNCTIONING BRAIN. I would gladly share with them my opinion, and explain why I have the opinions that I do. But I would NEVER prohibit them from listening to a message from anyone just because I disagree with that person’s opinions or philosophies.
But what am I saying. If you are fervently denying your teen access to the President’s speech, you are probably not concerned with their ability to think on their own, only the insecure need that YOU have to have them think JUST LIKE YOU. You vigorously insist - as you do with the terrifying idea that they might be taught evolution at school - that YOU have a right to raise your kids to think whatever you want them to think. To adhere to religion that they don’t understand. To unquestioningly accept your opinions as their own. TO GROW UP WITH NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER OF WHAT THEY THINK, FEEL, AND BELIEVE IN. It is not YOUR RIGHT! It is THEIR right to develop their own opinions and philosophies. It is YOUR JOB to equip them with the mental tools to do so. I suppose it’s not fair to say that you are brainwashing them in doing this. No, it’s far worse. You are denying them a functional brain to begin with.
This is no different than banning books, even burning them, for fear that new ideas creep into our minds for consideration - not acceptance or dismissal, just CONSIDERATION.
And what ideas, exactly, are you so afraid of? Devilish ideas of working hard at academics and personal integrity. That’s right, you are so terrified of “the other side” that you feel that ANY exposure your child has to such thoughts will instantly turn them into gay, tree-hugging, socialist, atheist, compassionate zombies. How little you trust in your teens. How little you respect their person-hood.
How dare you.”