You may have heard news of this little speech dealio that occurred yesterday afternoon. Oh you know, nothing major. Just the president of America having a little sit-down with the youth of the nation. A little pep talk, as it were. Do your best and all that jazz. Probably not the first President to ever do so.
However, he may be the first to be greeted with parents pulling their kids out of school for wanton fear that he’d warp their mushy little brains with his left wing agenda. Really folks, do you so distrust your own parenting that you honestly think that a fifteen minute exposure to someone who’s views you disagree with will destroy their little morals forever and undo years of tireless value-instilling?
Here, take a quick gander. If you want, you can see the whole 15 minute shebang here
, but for a brief taste that really speaks volumes about his “agenda”, here’s a brief segment.
I don’t get it guys. I really don’t understand what the problem is. I’m not even talking about this particular speech here. This goes beyond that, to the atmosphere of absolute media hysteria that I feel trembling up from our southern border. This is what you’re worried about?! And this is something that Josh and I have discussed at great length, another clear indication of the difference in our cultures. Why do you panic at the thought of understanding another point of view?
For example, let’s get away from politics for a second, and talk about another frequent point of difference and disagreement. Yeah, let’s do it, let’s talk religion.
Do you know where I learned about Buddhism and Islam? Theism, Antitheism, Agnosticism? In my Roman Catholic high school. Yeah, yeah, I wore the kilt. And they taught us not just the Bible, but provided access to other teachings as well. We learned not just Creation – although it was the obvious favourite – but Evolution. We learned other theories, teachings, and schools of thought. The Quran, the Torah and Talmud, the Bhagavad-Gita. The belief in nothing at all, or perhaps just a ‘maybe’, and even the basis for the belief of some that religion is outright harmful. We learned that you can take the Bible literally but that it’s not going to add up to real life (because, hello! Science!!!) And we learned that you can take moral truths from the scripture instead of basing your perception of reality on every single word. We were never taught that dinosaur bones are the work of the devil.
Let’s talk other issues. I was also taught not just about abstinence, but safe sex, abortion, adoption, sexual health, marriage, and all the sexual orientations under the rainbow. I saw brutal pro-life videos and articulated pro-choice seminars, and had open, frank discussion about the morality involved in either options. Understanding, rather than condemnation, was the name of the game. The girl who was brave enough to come to school while pregnant wore her belly as a badge that she hadn’t succumbed to guilt and fear, and was greeted with support, not shame. The same was true for the girl who decided for another option – publicly, the school had it’s opinion, but in the halls there was comfort, not mudslinging.
Let’s talk politics again. We learned not just about how our country works, but how others work. We learned the basis behind democracy, theocracy, oligarchy, aristocracy, monarchy. Communism, socialism, facsism, nationalism. If we see a system as inherently good or evil, why? Nobody gets in charge ranting about the terrible things they’re going to do in a few years, so what happens? What did communism hope to accomplish? How did it fail and why? Was Hitler batshit insane from the get-go or did something go horrifically awry? How do global politics come home? What aspects of our own system have the potential for abuse and misuse?
In other words, we learned to think critically about our opinions and others, and it makes me furious that there are those who don’t just allow parroting, but encourage it. Mindless repetition. Yes, I went to a religious school, and the leanings were definitely towards the morality our parents evidently wanted us to learn. But we weren’t sheltered from the rest of the world for fear that it would negate all their teachings. We were encouraged to learn, to form opinions based on information and analytical thought, not repetitive propaganda. How can you have faith in what you believe, be it politics, religion or otherwise, if you can’t withstand criticism? And how can you criticize others if you don’t know where they’re coming from? How do you cover the ears of your children and then expect them to learn?
This is why I don’t understand the fear, hysteria and sheltering. Not just pulling your kids out of school because they might hear a ‘controversial democrat’, but beyond that. How do you forbid evolution in schools? How do you burn books? How do you take the rules of your particular interpretation of one of so many belief systems and try to rule others with it? How do you think you’re right, just because you’ve insisted so for so long without turning that criticism inwards to see if you really measure up? How do you think any single one of you has all the answers, so much so that you give yourself the permission to rise above other human beings and condemn them? How do you fear other points of view so much?
Ladies and gentlemen, I just don’t get it.