But Shannen Barron believes the President has other, more nefarious, ideas, according to what she told CNN. "Thinking about my kids in school having to listen to that just really upsets me. I'm an American. They are Americans, and I don't feel that's OK. I feel very scared to be in this country with our leadership right now." I actually just saw her say this as she cried on CNN. Yes. Really. I swear I looked around for Ashton Kutcher because I just knew I was being punk'd.
Maybe some of the good folks in America have forgotten about other Presidents who have spoken to our nation's youth:
- On November 14, 1988, President Ronald Reagan (a Republican!) chatted it up with a bunch of school kids brought into the Old Executive Office Building. That speech, on tax policy (which I know all children love to discuss) was broadcast live and re-broadcast across the country on 3 different days.
- In 1991, President George H.W. Bush (ANOTHER Republican!) gave a speech to kids that was broadcast across the country.
- During the 2000 campaign, then candidate George W. Bush (YET ANOTHER Republican) visited Thomas Middle School in Arlington Heights, IL (the middle school I graduated from once upon a time). They had a huge assembly with all the kids in attendance. The picture was splashed across the front page of my local paper and many other papers, including the New York Times.
- Of course, my favorite moment of a President with school kids took place on September 11, 2001. President Bush was reading The Pet Goat to some school children in Florida when planes were flying into the World Trade Center. Even after learning the horrible news that we were under attack, President Bush continued to hang out for another 30 minutes.
I'm trying my darndest to understand what has so many people in a snit about the President of the United States welcoming kids back to school, encouraging them to do their best, and reminding them that with an education they can do anything they want, but I simply can't.
Supposedly, part of what had so many people's panties in knots was that one of the exercises kids were supposed to do was to write a letter about ways they can help the President meet his education goals. Big damn deal. Did I imagine it or did President Bush ask our kids to help him out in October 2001 by each sending $1 to his relief effort for Afghanistan "America's Fund for Afghan Children." And I know I recall those famous words by President Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." Those words guided a generation and took us into space. They're probably some of the most famous words ever spoken and many people of all ages and political persuasions have taken them as their mantra even today. So what that President Obama wanted school kids to suggest ways they can help him. Or is it only patriotic and the right thing to do when a Republican talks to kids and asks them to support him?
We've got some serious problems in this country folks. I don't need to list them because we all know them. But can't some people get their heads out of the sand long enough to stop creating fake issues to be upset about? Maybe if we all pulled together we could actually solve some of what ails us.
If your school isn't broadcasting the President's speech on Tuesday, just come right back here and you can watch it live: