President Obama had a big week this week, with two speeches that grabbed a lot of attention and headlines. First, he stirred up a batch of controversy and ruffled some feathers when he directly addressed children and told them to work hard and do their best in school. Obviously a very touchy subject not meant for the President to meddle in. (What? Did I miss something here!?) Cries of “indoctrination” and even an insinuated comparison to Hitler preceded the President’s speech, propagating fear among Americans and causing some to refuse to let their children watch it.
Then, last night, he finally spelled out the complicated details of his much debated health care reform plan in a way that most people could understand, and urged Congress to come together, make compromises, and get the plan passed. While the speech did win over many Americans, it caused controversy of its own, when a lawmaker in the chamber rudely interrupted the President with an outburst, yelling: “You lie!” for all to hear (in reference to illegal immigrants benefiting from this plan).
In the interest of full disclosure I will admit that I am a whole-hearted Obama supporter. So I was definitely disheartened by these events. But even still, I have really tried to step back from that and ask myself what my opinion would be, if a certain former president who shall remain nameless but was certainly not one of my favorite people, found himself in the above scenarios. I truly believe I would disagree with the treatment in both cases.
Regardless of political stance, the person who holds the office of the presidency deserves to be treated with respect, especially if, as of yet, he hasn’t committed any heinous crimes or outright deceived the American people. Sure, people should and will disagree with our leaders, and even fight them on what they believe in. But they should also do so in way that displays respect , reverence, maturity -- and just plain manners. Isn’t it easier to get heard that way, anyway? And isn't that what we try to teach our kids each day?
Can any of us imagine being at a company meeting, the dinner table, a party – all places where you may have disagreements with the leader or host and even believe that you have better ideas that should be heard -- and relating that person to Hilter or screaming out rude comments? Not many of us would ever dare act that way. And if our kids did it, they would surely be punished. We teach them to respect people of authority and, when questioning it, to do so with some shred of politeness. Why do some feel that it’s appropriate to disregard these human decencies when dealing with the person who holds the most esteemed position in our land?
What are your thoughts on Obama’s addresses this week and how they were received? Did you and your kids watch?