I am a proud Floridian. I love of our orange groves. I enjoy sunbathing on our pristine beaches that kiss the Gulf of Mexico. Of course, I love Tampa Bay Buccaneers football and Tampa Bay Rays baseball. Alas, the recent comments by Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer made me want to banish him from our great state and revoke his “Sunshine state license”. Politics aside, lies are lies. While, I’m not necessarily upset or surprised that a political leader would fabricate a story to give his party leverage, I’m appalled that he sparked off a frenzy that used our nation’s children as political footballs.
In a press release last week Greer stated, “As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology” and “I do not support using our children as tools to spread liberal propaganda.” Well I agree with him on one thing; I don’t believe in manipulating our children for political gain. However, without even reading the text Greer unfoundedly jumped to some extreme conclusions. What troubles me about this incident is the traction that it got with some folks. I feel like Congressman Barney Frank when I say, “what planet do these people spend most of their time.” It can’t be Earth because if they did live here they would realize how foolish they sounded. Political commentators like Glenn Beck and other right wing extremists toss around buzz words like “socialism” and “Nazi” to scare people in buying into their nonsense. I wonder if you asked the average American to define socialism if they could give an accurate definition? Who knows? All I know is that in these time if you say the “S” words parents go crazy, old people get scared, and people get their guns. Unfortunately, fear mongering has become such a staple of the Republican platform that even a Presidential address to students makes some people tremble with fear.
(Ironically Greer ultimately decided to let his kids watch the address)
When we place Obama’s address in a historical context it seems ordinary. That’s because it is. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did the same thing. However, Reagan discussed policy matters like national security, nuclear disarmament, and even taxes. George H.W. Bush even asked students how they could help him help the country. These words are the same thing Obama caught hell for. Are the Republicans just nixing everything Obama proposes, or do they have bad case of amnesia? It is sad when parents remove their children from school because they don’t want the leader of the free world to encourage them on succeeding in school. Newsflash parents: Your children are exposed to much worse on a daily basis.
What are we teaching our children? Are we saying politics matters more than respecting the Executive Office? Adult bickering should not get in the way of a good civics lesson for our children? As much as the country has mistreated, marginalized, and disenfranchised folks of all hues I’m still proud to be an American. As much as Florida has raped and pillaged the native folk and the native land I’m still proud to be a Floridian. If you consider yourself to be real patriot stand up for your country and your children and stop partisanship from corrupting our society.