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Published:September 6th, 2009 15:30 EST
Right-Wing Racism & Paranoia Over Obama's Speech To Our Nation's Kids

Right-Wing Racism & Paranoia Over Obama's Speech To Our Nation's Kids

By Robert Paul Reyes


This has been the summer of the town hall meeting trolls. This Astroturf movement has been whipping up hysteria -- warning that health care reform is the first step in Obama`s master plan to set up a socialist government.

These right-wing nutjobs have a vendetta against Obama, they depict the president as a socialist who is against Mom, apple pie and democracy.

Obama is a wonky intellectual who speaks in calm and measured tones, and I find it difficult to understand how anybody could possibly mistake him for a dangerous radical.

But I guess I`m not a racist who sees only Obama`s black skin, and overlooks his eloquence, intelligence and bipartisan spirit.

Now these same conservative crazies are apoplectic over Obama`s plan to speak to schoolchildren this coming Tuesday.

"While it long ago crossed the borders of reason and civility, the hysteria over healthcare reform is -- at some level -- understandable, because wellness and infirmity are really just stand-ins for those most terrifying of issues, life and death.

But there is no similar way to rationalize the bizarre co ntroversy now raging over President Obama`s plan to del iver a brief televised address on Tuesday to the nation`s grammar school children.

According to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Obama will `challenge students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning.`" Tim Tutten/LA Times

Obama is seeking to motivate students "to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning." Don`t those goals perfectly encapsulate the conservative Republican ethic? Then why are the Republicans calling for parents not to let their children listen to the president`s speech?

In 1991 President George HW Bush made a similar speech to schoolchildren:

"I was intrigued by the links to a Washington Post story about George H.W. Bush speaking to school children on October 1, 1991. My daughter was in school then and I didn`t remember hearing about her watching any such event.

On WESTLAW, I looked up other news stories about the speech. It was reported as 10 minutes in some reports and 12 minutes in others. It was carried live on CNN, PBS, and [the NBC] and Mutual radio [networks]. The Secretary of Education sent a letter urging schools to have their students watch, but I didn`t find any evidence of how many schools followed that recommendation. And most striking: Bush laid out goals - to increase the graduation rate, improve student competency and better prepare students for entering school - and said, `Let me know how you`re doing. Write me a letter. I`m serious about this one. Write me a letter about ways you can help us achieve our goals.`"

Conservatives didn`t mind when President George HW Bush and President Reagan addressed our schoolchildren, but they are in a tizzy over Obama`s speech to students.

Obama is the President of the United States for God`s sake, why all the controversy and paranoia over his speech to students? The birthers, tea baggers, pro-life zealots, gun nuts, Palin sycophants, and town hall meeting trolls have managed to convince many Republicans that Obama is a dangerous radical with a secret agenda to indoctrinate our children into socialism.

If Obama weren`t black none of the crazy accusations that have been hurled at him would stick. Unfortunately it`s very easy for some of these ignorant conservatives to believe that a black president is trying to undermine our democracy.

It`s time for prominent Republicans to speak out against the tea baggers and town hall trolls who have inaccurately and unfairly depicted Obama as a dangerous radical. All good Americans (Republicans and Democrats) should unite in defending Obama against these scurrilous accusations.