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An(other) Open Letter to The President

Dear Mr. President

I’ve been reading in all the papers about your upcoming address to school children and all the brou-ha-ha that it’s generated….I thought it might be helpful if I threw my two cents into the discussion, although you never responded to my last letter.  Then again, neither did your predecessor, so I’m not blaming politics.   It could really be that you guys are busy.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell out here in Middle America.

I stand in a strange spot.  Strongly conservative, yet not wigged out by the idea of your speech.  From what I understand, the content is pretty straight forward.  Don’t smoke, don’t chew, don’t do dope and stay in school.   I really believe you’ll stick to the script, as opposed to the twitter posting that was forwarded to me suggesting that you might open the speech with “little assassins, the time is now to arise.”

It’s not clear if they’re telling you this or not, but your getting a lot of flak about doing this.  It seems a lot of people are suspicious that you’re going to politicize the event and are challenging the very idea of a president addressing the students.  (Most of them are hesitant to admit that Bush and Reagan both did this…).   Of course, your defenders are arguing that the naysayers are ‘silly’.   At this rate, hair pulling will ensue shortly. I’m embarrassed for both sides.

Allow me to give you a little insight.  It’s not the desire to tell kids to stay in school that’s generated all the frustration. It’s the arrogance of your administration.  In this case, I think you’re trying to be helpful…and yet your staff (and maybe you, big guy) are carrying it out in such a way as to insinuate that the little people ought to be grateful.   The issue is not ‘should the President be allowed to speak to school children’ but ‘why is the administration so clueless about how it comes off to the rest of us?’

The original version of the study guide suggested the children write a letter to themselves about how the could “help the President”.  Sir, whoever wrote that should find themselves included the next unemployment statistics.   That was bad work.    Granted, it was rewritten to be less Orwellian, but the idea that someone who worked on the project might have thought that was a good idea is pretty freaky.

Additionally, I appreciate your desire to come off as a real person and identify with the kids, but it’s very hard to believe that any president, Democrat, Republican or Flying Spaghetti Monster Party, could sit behind 4 inch glass, reading a speech to 3rd graders from a teleprompter, and really identify that well.   It’s not about your party – it’s about your position.  We aren’t looking for a ‘have a beer, be one of the guys’ president or a ‘I’m a big kid now!’ president.  We’re looking for someone to be presidential…to act with dignity and represent us well.  Tossing in a little righteousness now and then wouldn’t hurt either, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.

All that to say good luck with the speech.  My 12 year old will be watching.  I’m trying to convince him not to roll his eyes.

your friend in Missouri,

Randy Bohlender


13 Responses

  1. One of the many reasons, I like you so much.

  2. Great stuff, Randy. I will probably watch it with my little assassins.

  3. OK. Thank you. If I have to read one more post from a Christian that uses the phrase “Don’t let your kids drink the Kool-Aid!” I might well vomit. I agree with you (and you know that goes against all I believe in, right?) wholeheartedly. I have no real beef with the speech (don’t tell the folks I live around…I fear future reciprocity for allowing Jude to watch), but you said it best – it comes off a little arrogant. And not well thought out. I really got this one – trust me, my kids have heard the whole don’t do drugs, stay in school speech here. But, take a stab at it if you have the free time.

    It has taken all restraint I have to not post “Hey Christian friends I love – you’ll be more effective if you get off the soapbox and get on your knees.” Prayer has got to be more effective – and far less annoying – than this bru-ha-ha has been.

    (Slowly exhaling…)

  4. What Tracie said. You have a way of putting my feelings into words. (So I can then share them with all my friends!)

  5. I like the assasins part…But I dont like the stay in school stuff…

  6. Sure liked the letter, I for one would have loved to see the earlier speech before everything hit the fan.

    I bet it did have some issues that were revised out of the current one.

    May the Lord touch Obama’s heart. May President Obama stand for righteousness. May he protect the unborn

  7. I see nothing wrong with what he said.. I believe it was fitting for students to hear… Inspiring… Maybe they ‘ll get a sense of the importance of a good education… So many take school for granted… and look at it with such drudgery… They often need an attitude adjustment. I for one am glad he President Obama took the initiative to do this… No harm done at all…

  8. honestly I am a little frustrated with the whole “walk out to prayer” event. I get the concept but it seems a little contradictory in reality. How is this honoring our authority? Is it ok to dishonor our authority, which we are clearly commanded to do, so that we can go pray for him, because we are also commanded to do that? How does that work? Did Daniel dishonor the King of Babylon so that he could pray for him? I kind of doubt it…

    Why do we need to get up and walk out during the middle of the speech to pray? Couldn’t a meeting could have been organized before or after the speech, or, what a concept, a 24-7 prayer meeting for the president? To me, the only point made by getting up and leaving for a speech the the President of the United States is making (whether you like him or not) is rude and dishonoring and says, ” just in case you didn’t already know, we, the praying conservatives, think you are wacked.”

    Again, I understand the concept and agree that we need to be interceding. I think it’s just counter-productive to do it this way…

    Just a thought.

  9. Megan – we’re on the same side of the salad bar on this episode.

    There may be a time to get up and walk out. “Stay in School Tuesday” is not the time…unless you’re trying to draw attention to yourself, which is a whole ‘nother postage.

  10. it’s funny because I don’t have classes on Tuesday but I was just irritated by the invitation and appreciated your blog as a safe haven to spill the beans.

  11. Nice post. Loved it. As a school district employee I will say, no little assassins attempted anything in our district.

  12. I have thought about this post for several days, and can’t help myself from making a few points about it. I find this very ironic coming from you and others, who don’t send their kids to public school, take their kids to the Supreme Court Justice steps to protest Roe v. Wade with red duct tape over their mouths with the word LIFE written on it, and filter what is viewed on TV. I feel like you are mocking those of us who stood our ground on whats acceptable to our family decisions. Why would you do that? Do you and others need to be reminded what this President stands for, cause I don’t think it was the Hope and Change you had in mind for yourselves.

  13. Hey Yo – I had to read this through a couple of times to see where you were coming from because in my mind, the post wasn’t about parents, it was about the President’s lack of understanding about why people are suspicious of him.

    Upon what must be the tenth reading through of my post since I wrote it, I began to see why you might have felt the way that you did, and regret that I gave that impression to you or anyone else who may have read it and not commented. That said, let me clarify a bit: I can fully understand why someone might be very concerned about how their student’s teachers could interpret, construe or spin the President’s speech in a way that a parent would not approve of….and I would totally support that parent’s right to pull their child from that setting for that or any other reason they felt necessary. I have always maintained the autonomy of the family unit over any school or church group.

    I know for a fact that we’ve pulled our kids from events that other people didn’t understand and I’d defend anyone else’s right to do so.

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