Saturday, September 5, 2009

I admit it. Sometimes I wish I was Canadian...

I'm pissed off today. And, I'm mad that I'm mad, because I was planning on writing about the incredibly fun night I had with my hubby and boys yesterday. Instead, I find myself filled with frustration and needing to vent it somewhere before I can get back to focusing on all of the wonderful things in my life. Here's a disclaimer for any of my followers who might be checking in: This post is not about being a parent or a spouse or the silliness of life in an 1100 square foot house with two little boys and two big dogs. It's about being a caring, interested, and totally disgusted American today. Sorry, folks, but it's about politics. So, please feel free to stop reading. It's not my normal kind've post, that's for sure, but it's affecting me. It's on my mind, it's in my heart, as a mother and a school counselor and someone who cares about kids and who really, really wants to believe that my country is worth taking pride in. The truth is, I'm embarrassed to be a United States citizen right now. Sorry if that offends, but it's the truth. Frankly, I've been embarrassed by the actions and attitudes of my country before (maybe because I grew up in New Zealand and saw another way of doing things), but, over the last year, I've been starting to feel a sense of patriotism again. I've seen that people are working hard to do something, to change things in a positive direction, to try something different in order to get our country back on track. The in-fighting and ridiculously immature partisan bickering (on both sides) makes me want to tear my hair out and scream, "YO! All of you people who were elected by us and are getting paid a helluva lot more than I am to, supposedly, represent the needs of all Americans! Maybe you could pull your heads out and start thinking about what's good for the whole country, instead of just what's good for your own, personal, cultural, religious, ethnic, tax bracket, or the special interest groups that contribute to your campaigns, eh? How about trying THAT for a change?!!" Even with all of this adolescent political behavior, I have been able to hold my head fairly high as an American citizen over the last year, because positive changes are at least being discussed, sought, and attempted. But, the recent unexpected and ridiculous uproar over our President giving a positive, pro-education, stay-in-school message to students in as many schools as possible throughout our country, just about makes me want to pack up my little family, jump in the car, and head north. Waaaaayyyy north. Across the border into Canada, never to return. As a school counselor, and as a concerned Mom, I am shocked and embarrassed by the ignorance and shortsightedness of my fellow Americans. I cannot believe that anyone, regardless of their political affiliation, could honestly think that, in a country whose dropout rate is shockingly, and unforgivably, high, a message from the elected leader of our nation, aimed solely at inspiring all students to stick it out, to set goals, to follow their dreams, to reach for the stars, is a bad thing. Whether you agree with his politics or not, President Obama is unarguably a major American success story. What a great example to all students of all cultures that, if you face your challenges and stay with it and work hard, you can achieve great things. I'm sorry, but nobody can argue against our President being a really awesome example of what education can do for a person. At least, no sane, semi-intelligent, person, that is. Just imagine the young black high school freshman sitting in his school desk chair, thinking he can never reach his goals, hearing this message and knowing that it is going out all over the country. You can do it. You can achieve. You can succeed. Regardless of your family background, your gender, your culture, or the color of your skin. You can achieve, and getting your education is the path to success. What about so many young female students, who are still getting the message that getting married and having babies is all they should aspire to? Well, think about the power of a pro-education message from the leader of our country on those girls. A leader who has a highly educated, well-respected, amazing spouse and two daughters. Think about it. I could go on and on and on..... Think about the kids with single parents or non-traditional families. Think about the kids who may be gang-affiliated or drug-involved, and who are ready to give up on education all together. This message has the power to reach kids who may not have been reached before, and to inspire them to stay in school. Why? Because the person delivering it made it all the way to the White House, and he's saying that education is the way to achieve your dreams. Isn't that what every caring parent wants for their child? It's not about being a democrat, or a republican, or a libertarian, or anything else on the political spectrum. It's about kids getting an education so they can become whatever they want to be. So every child will have more opportunity and freedom and self-respect. So every child can learn to question what is happening in the world and maybe figure out ways to make it better. We teach our children about global citizenship. We teach them about government, and civil service, and giving back to their community. We teach them critical thinking skills, so they can make educated decisions in the future. What are we teaching them if we say, "Sorry, honey. I don't want you to listen to what our President has to say about staying in school, because I don't agree with his health care reform package." Give me a break! This isn't about you, or me, or our personal political agendas or belief systems. It's about empowering kids. If we can't come together on an issue as important as kids and education, perhaps our society really is doomed. It infuriates and disgusts and depresses me. I work so hard to inspire my students to stick with it, and to keep trying, even when it seems impossibly difficult. I try, desperately sometimes, to find ways to reach kids who are seemingly unreachable and to help them see that education is a tool to get them where they really want to be in life. I was ecstatic when I heard that this President was going to do what only a few have done in the past. And that is, for this one hour, to use his power and his position, not to forward political agendas or solve disputes in foreign countries or try to bring bipartisanship to Washington DC, but to inspire our children. American children. To learn. To grow. To move forward. To face adversity and to use education to achieve their dreams. What could be wrong with that? If his message only reaches one child and inspires that one child to stay in school, it will be worth it. And, I don't care if that child has democratic parents, republican parents, disinterestd parents, or no parents at all. It will be worth it. And, every single President should do this every year from now on. Because, if you don't believe that your Presidential power should be used to inspire children -- the very future of our country -- to reach for their dreams and to get a good education, then you should never have run for President in the first place.

OK, I feel better after getting all of that out. If you disagree, I welcome your comments. If you are as angry and frustrated as I am, I welcome those as well. And, if I offended, sorry, but this is my blog, so I get to say what I want. Now, I'm going to go kiss and hug my little boys. Cheers!


  1. beth, thanks for coming over to visit SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB and for becoming a follower! i am now a follower of yours too! If I drink enough margaritas, then I will just vomit them all out at the end of the night, no harm, no foul, right? THANKS AGAIN!

  2. So of course I am reading your other posts. I LOVE this one. I was angry about the whole thing too. You stated your opinion very eloquently.