Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Thoughts on President Obama’s Education Speech

The President of the United States gave a fifteen-minute address to the school students of our country yesterday. Since I had read a lot of speculation about what he would say, and how he would say it, I decided to evaluate it myself. So, last night I opened up one computer window with the video clip, one with the text transcript, and one with Microsoft Word and I watched the whole thing, ready to make notes about the perceived fallacies in what he had to say.

After watching the whole thing, I have to admit that I didn’t come up with one single egregious statement worthy of intense criticism. So for those who think I may be an anti-Obama, all-the-time complainer, let it be known that I went into this video with an open mind and left with very little to say in the way of disparagement.

Obama’s speech really consisted of a few well-worn messages. Stay in school, do your homework, mind your teachers, and work hard. And my favorite – be sure to wash your hands often so you don’t get the flu this winter. That’s it. It wasn’t terribly presidential – in fact, it was pedantic. It wasn’t even that well written or delivered. It was…just a speech. I doubt many kids walked away from it with any more inspiration than they had going into it.

The whole thing got me to thinking about whether or not I would want my children to watch the speech (they did, at home, over the Internet). But was the uproar from many sides about his speech right or wrong? Little was said in his words, and the speech was largely devoid of politics, religion, (petitions for healthcare votes), or moralizing. It was…just a speech.

But consider this – does who my children listen to matter as much as what my children listen to? To this, I have to answer “Yes”. If Michael Vick was giving a benign and pleasant speech at the local Humane Society, would I want my kids to go? With Vick’s background of endorsing dogfights and animal abuse, I would have to say that his character would overshadow any words that he might have to say. Even if they were good words, I do not want my kids idolizing someone who lacks character.

“But you surely can’t compare our President to Michael Vick!”, I hear some people say. Well, in some ways, I suppose that is right. Our president has openly supported policies which enable and further the practice of abortion. The killing of innocent babies is far worse to me than the abuse of animals. So our president’s policies offend me even more than those of Vick. Truly, they do. And I do not want my kids watching a benign speech by the president and coming away thinking that everything is really okay with him – that he’s a decent sort of fellow, and one we would like to imitate in many ways. So, we train them to consider the character, as well, when listening.

Some people will think I’m crazy making such a comparison. But consider the numbers when comparing the Nazi holocaust alongside the abortion rates occurring in our country – right now. Six million Jews were killed during the holocaust. But in the United States alone, between 800,000 and 1,400,000 abortions are performed every year. Approximately the same number of abortion deaths will occur in one-and-a-half presidential terms as occurred during the entire holocaust. And our president, among many, many others (including the president before this one), does not have the courage to stand up to this atrocity and make it stop. Instead, he works to make access to abortion easier. He continues to allow my tax dollars to go toward the funding of this abomination – in this nation and beyond. Can I stand by while he allows this to happen? Will people look back on our nation in fifty years, and compare this time to the Jewish holocaust? And back to the topic at-hand, is this the kind of person that I want my kids to look up to and admire?

The point I make is this – at least as important as the words delivered by a speaker is the character of the speaker. Does his life honor God? Does he glorify God in his actions? The longer I look at politics and character, the more I believe that the next time I cast a vote for president, it will not be for Republican or Democrat. If I could not choose the man to be an elder in my own church, how could I vote for him to lead this great nation?

Please continue to be in prayer for our president, our leaders, our nation, and our children.


Jaqueline said...

After reading your post and being in the truth project this evening. Your words make good sense. Keep writing Alan, your words make me think.

Miranda Rat said...

You wrote what I was trying to wrap my head around...but I couldn't put it into words. Even is his speech is "innocent", why would I want to take anything from someone who supports outright sin? Good post- thanks! :)