BY ARNOLD HAMILTON
First, it was death panels. Now, the wingnuts claim President Obama wants to “indoctrinate” America’s school children.
Egad! All the nation’s chief executive proposes is to encourage kids to take their education more seriously.
But on the great planet Conspiracy where Glenn Beck & Co. reside, Americans must be warned that Obama’s address is part of a grand master plan for one world government or some-other-such hell on earth.
It’s difficult to imagine anyone could take such preposterous rhetoric seriously, but today state Rep. Sally Kern and state Sen. Steve Russell, both R-OKC, joined the chorus.
“I believe partisan use of taxpayer dollars and a captive audience of children will hurt local support for schools and make it harder to pass bond issues in the future,” asserted Kern, a former teacher who has proven herself a tireless foe of public education. “To maintain their credibility, our local schools simply should not participate in this event.
“The purpose of our government schools in a constitutional republic is not to force a captive audience to establish a bond with the president. Such an action would be appropriate for Cuba but not the United States of America.”
Said Russell: “As far as I am concerned, this is not civics education – it gives the appearance of creating a cult of personality. This is something you’d expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
“As an American citizen who fought for the freedoms we hold so dear, I find this approach to be alarming, and it certainly appears to have been coordinated with great care. The President should address voters, not their children. He could encourage parents to highlight the things that find common ground in the American ideals we hold dear. His role should not be to bypass parents in the educational discussion by going directly to classrooms.”
Haven’t other presidents – say, George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan? – also addressed America’s school children directly, either in person or using the technology of the day?
The fact is, we’ve had more than our fair share of Tin Foil Hatters in Oklahoma over the years – on both sides of the political aisle.
But the latest crew is a breathtaking example of a bold, new breed of conspiracy theorists who somehow have found their way into elective office.
Some of these folks would be well served to embrace one of my late father’s favorite sayings: Better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you’re a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
For an overview of the Silly Season upon us, check out this story from McClatchy Newspapers:
– Arnold Hamilton is editor of The Oklahoma Observer