What is going on in the minds of some in our country?
This week, with millions still unemployed, and with millions more without healthcare, while millions more continue to lose homes and while the economy is still floundering, the political discourse in this - the shining city on a hill - was about what the President might say to school children.
"He's going to use propaganda on our children turning them into socialists" cried the fair and balanced news network.
"He's going to brainwash our children..." cried confused and uninformed people on the streets.
"He's going to use this to push the health care agenda on our kids!" said others.
Where is the politcal paxil for these people who obviously need it?
While people lost jobs, the news talked about suggested lesson plans. While the sick stayed sick, we were bombarded by images in the media of people and politicians who found a way to take whatever President Obama was going to say to these school children - and turn it into a way to wedge the innocent into a debate over something which, to me, at least, ought to be a basic human right.
When you're desperate, you'll do anything or say anything I guess.
Forget that no one knew what the President was actually going to say.
Parents - already nervous about things in our world - freaked out. They called schools. Talking heads decried the so-called socialist brainwashing which was going to happen. Schools were forced to taking a speech by the leader of the free world and applying the same sort of procedures to this talk that you might find in a letter that parents had to sign right before the school nurse and a respected local doctor come to talk to kids about the birds and the bees.
You know, a talk which parents ought to be having with their kids, but that gets put back on schools because, well, they're the ones unfortunately which are actually charged with raising kids because some parents just don't have the time to have a conversation around a dinner table or before tucking their little ones in at night. But, I digress...
So the President was demonized. Again. The politics of fear from the opposition were summoned, and scaring old people again became the order of the day. A speech to children was somehow tied to the great debate of our time - healthcare and whether or not we as a society are actually willing to do something about this great American tragedy that is our health care crisis - for the first time in the history of our great American experiment.
Then, the White House today released the text of President Obama's remarks.
Did you read this controversial piece of socialist propaganda?
Did you actually read this "indoctrination" into the cult of personality?
Here's just a piece of what he's going to say...
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
Where is the back masking in this? Where's the hidden meaning? The dogma of the so-called socialist message? Where's the cult of personality?
I don't really see much in there about healthcare - except for the part about how maybe - just maybe - one child in a class one day might find a new medicine for vaccine for these very real diseases that people unfortunately can't get treated because, well, they can't afford healthcare because in our system, they just don't make enough or whatever.
You can read it all for yourself here.
Our national discourse is reaching a critical mass. The conversation is full of half truths and lies from one side designed to scare while the other side is afraid to say what it really means because it's worried about what tomorrow morning's Keystone Poll might say.
And all the while, we the people are confused.
We're not getting straight talk and we're not finding obvious solutions.
Not that the White House isn't trying. Not that some downtown right now aren't attempting to rise above the fray to do the work they were sent downtown to do - you know - the people's work.
But there's great and powerful interests stirring the storm of confusion. There are others who want to maintain a broken status quo. Still others can't find the words or the way to just say - in plain talk - what needs to be communicated to a people who are confused, scared, and who genuinely hope for the best...
And people are still dying. The sick aren't getting medicine and care they need because the mortgage is late and the wolves of the financial mess are at the door. People are robbing Peter to pay Paul because they have to make sure that a child's just discovered medical condition needs immediate treatment lest that child not ever have the chance to find the cure for what they're suffering from as an adult.
We the people watch and listen while the national conversation becomes nothing more than a resounding bar brawl - almost unintelligible to comprehend - and we stand in shock over what we think the President might say to encourage our children in schools across the country because we're told that it might just be bad for our kids.
This discourse - as it has become now - is bad for our national soul. It's become a cancer on our American house. Our way of life.
The world expects more of this experiment started by people who just wanted to worship their God the way they pleased all those years ago.
Our children deserve more from us, the generation carrying the torch of democracy and liberty in a world that genuinely has a romantic idea of what the words "We, the People..." mean even today.
So when President Obama tells our children tomorrow to remember that in America, we write our own destiny, we might do well as a people to remember the words he's telling to our children...
... so that we can leave this shining city on a hill just a little bit better off when we pass the torch of freedom and national trust - on to their generation.
From Washington, DC...