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Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Not Proud to be A Texan Today

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


I love Texas. I love the wide, sweeping plains, the pine woods, the sandy beaches, the mountainous deserts. I love my neighborhood where, just a couple of miles away in most directions I can find horses, llamas, even an organic dairy farm. The people here, for the most part, are warm and friendly. Sure, I could do with a little less heat (see previous post), but overall, I like it here.

But some people need to get their brains back in their heads and stop marching in lockstep with the pundits - on either side.

Doubtless you've read about the controversy surrounding the president's speech to school children scheduled for Tuesday. The White House dropped the ball and put out some badly-worded study guides, which have since been corrected. Yet, the furor and the fear that has come out of this makes me embarrassed to be living in Texas.

Rather than discuss this issue rationally, some people have taken to fear mongering and name calling. Words like "socialist" and "wingut" (yeah, I'm looking at both sides, here) and the use of derogatory nicknames for public figures only serves to drown out rational conversation.

Thanks to a few parents screaming at the media, a number of school districts - including the one here - have decided to not air the address. The underlying current seems to be a fear that the president is going to use some hypno ray to turn out children into little zombie brownshirts for his totalitarian cause. Parents, if you think a speech by a politician is going to do that, then your children must all be brilliant students, for they also must listen to - and absorb - every word the teacher utters in class.

The reason I expect school districts are capitulating is the threat by parents to keep their kids out of school on Tuesday. This is an unexcused absence in Texas, and the schools will lose out on attendance-based funding for that day.

Oh, and let's see. What do kids do when something is strictly forbidden? Yeah, you don't let them anywhere near the speech for fear it will rot their little minds, but they'll find it online anyway. Why not sit down with your children and discuss the speech? I know a lot of conservatives are planning to do just that, which I applaud. Still taking your children out of school sends the wrong message.

We're sorely missing out on respect, here. Respect for the views of others and respect for the office of the President of the United States. Notice I said the "office." I didn't vote for Clinton or Bush, but anytime anyone used a vile or demeaning nickname to describe the sitting president, I took offense. I still do. Once we lose respect for the office, we'll lose respect for anyone we elect to that post in the future. Whine about morals, whine about torture, whine about socialism, but damn it, don't make the office more of a laughingstock than it already is. I didn't like the war protesters spewing hatred to Bush at his appearances any more than I like the health care protestors trying to run roughshod over town hall meetings.

No, I'm not a lockstep Obama supporter. I consider myself moderate, politically. (Meaning in Texas I'm a no-good liberal and in Vermont I'd be no-good conservative.) However, this is less about politics (could have fooled you, I know) and more about respect. We must show respect for those with whom we disagree, and we must model it for our children.

Comments here at the blog are welcome, but I do reserve the right to moderate for personal attacks and abusive language. I'd respect the same rules in your house. However, if things get rough, I'll turn comments off. I'd rather not do that.

Thanks for reading my rant. Now I have a deadine...

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Filed under: Life   Politics         
9/4/2009 10:31:50 AM
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