Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Democrat Rob Miller: Party Lines - How should parents/schools respond to Obama?

By Rob Miller, Democrat

Today (September 8) at 10 a.m., President Barack Obama was to deliver a historic address to our nation’s school children where he sought to speak directly to students about persisting and succeeding in school. The president challenged students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. White House spokesman Adam Abrams has assured us that this address is not a policy speech, but is part of the president’s efforts to dramatically cut the dropout rate.

One may wonder why some parents in Utah and nationwide could be against our president presenting a principled message about taking responsibility for one’s own education; but as Karl Rove said recently during his visit to Utah, “This year is going to be defined by Republicans and conservatives by what we oppose.”

The fact is Mr. Rove was speaking directly on health care insurance reform, but to the vocal minority who cannot agree with anything Obama, his message may have meant just a little bit more.

Unfortunately there will be some children whose parents will not allow them to hear the president’s address. Although I do concede that it is their right to do so, let me state that if the election had gone the other way and John McCain was now our president I can assure you that my children would still be listening because I want my children to respect our president regardless of his partisan affiliation, and because I want my children to be inspired to take their education seriously from the leader of the free world.

Maybe I have a poor memory of the past, but what has happened to the notion that once the election is over and the votes have been counted we should come together as United States citizens and work together for our common good?

This doesn’t mean we need to agree on every issue, but surely we can respect each other.

Funny thing, this lesson was taught to me by my grandmother Helen Romney, a Bountiful resident who served as vice chair of the Utah Republican Party. After a gala in her honor, I asked her why was it that just as many Democrats were there honoring her as a Utah Republican?

“Robby”, she said, “Anyone can come to me and discuss an issue, and it was easy for me to say, ‘I may disagree with your point of view but I understand and respect you; let’s find a way to work together.’”

Those words haunt me, in a good way, to this day, and I appreciate the fact that she was there to teach me that our greatest value is when we value each other.

Unfortunately, I am concerned that some parents are afraid that the president’s address might win over some of their children.

But as I see it, our president should be someone my children can look up to, and if there is something in his address I disagree with then isn’t this just an opportunity to better explain my values, principles, and point of view?

And, isn’t the responsibility of setting educational goals a message we can all embrace?

For our children's sake, I certainly hope so.

No comments: