Richard Carnes: The audacity of it all |

Richard Carnes: The audacity of it all

Warning! Do not look down!

I’m telling you, it’s bad. The plumber of conservatism is bending over directly in front of us, exposing his hypocrisy to all who dare to look, and it is not a pretty sight!

Sorry, but I tried to warn you.

Seriously, never has the crusty crack of partisanship been more obvious than the rank silliness surrounding today’s classroom speech.

I am proud that a basic pillar of democracy is to never completely trust and always question those in authority, but the president of the United States wants to speak directly to those being educated with public funds about the importance of education.

Oh, the horror.

We proudly claim to be teaching our children that true democracy requires participation by its citizens, so why shove the kids in a closet when they have a chance to be intellectually engaged on the subject?

Remember, experience is how we learn.

Yes, just like there is no law against apathy or ignorance, democracy also provides us with choice, meaning one can choose not to participate. So if you shoved cotton balls in little Johnny’s ears this morning or even kept him home from school today (so, perhaps, the two of you could read the Constitution together), that’s your choice.

But if Johnny-boy can be coerced in the long run by one short speech from anyone, much less the friggin’ president of the United States, then perhaps you have bigger child-rearing issues on your plate.

Yet let’s not fool ourselves, conservatives have not cornered the hypocrisy market, as there are plenty of liberal plumbers as well.

When President Bush (No. 41) spoke to school kids about saying “No to Drugs,” Richard Gephardt (D-Missouri) screamed incessantly about woefully wasting taxpayer money and unfair political influence upon our kids.

Clinton tried something similar, but I believe limiting his audience to advanced-beyond-their-years teenage girls was its downfall, and Bush (No. 43) had his wife, Laura, do it for him.

Why can’t these hypocrites admit the truth?

It’s not indoctrination they are afraid of but indoctrination of the wrong kind.

How much you want to bet at least some of those protesting today are the same who want prayer (only the “right” kind, though) in public schools and think it would just be peachy if Sarah (“stop makin’ stuff up!”) Palin was speaking to the kids instead?

Either way, it is indeed a sad day for open minds.

American schoolchildren not only have graduation rates lower than most developed counties but rank well out of the top 20 in both math and science.

The future of our nation depends upon their knowledge and ability to follow the Constitution while adapting to current and prospective American needs, yet at the current rate, we don’t even make good, quality plumbers.

And all the president wants to do is reiterate how important a good education is to their future.


If you truly want your child to learn anything from this made-up politicized nonsense, let them watch the speech and then discuss it together, one on one. And if, like many of you hope, President Obama misses the mark on everything under the sun, then at least you have allowed your child to experience “why things are the way things are” as opposed to just telling them what it is they are supposed to be thinking.

Maybe, if you’re lucky, that’ll be a step in the right direction.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at

Support Local Journalism