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School speech the latest source of right-wing frothing at Obama

Posted on 5 September 2009 | 8:09am

If you want a taste of what Barack Obama is up against in the ferocity and the bovinity, if such a word exists, of right-wing Americans, scour around the place for some of the reaction to the President’s plans to make a speech in a school in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday.

Parents are threatening to take their children out of school for fear of having them indoctrinated by the Great ‘socialist’ Communicator. Others have said he is trying to create a cult of personality on the lines of Kim Il Sung and Saddam Hussein. It would be funny is this was not so sad. It is not as if the children will not already be aware of him, what he says, what he stands for.

Now the White House are on the defensive, saying that the speech is about the importance of working hard and staying on at school, devoid of anything approaching a party political message, as if it was ever going to be anything else.

But what does it say about America that it is possible (with the help of their over-important right wing shock jocks) to generate such a controversy over what ought to be a memorable, fantastic event for any school, and any group of schoolchildren – almost regardless of what he says?

And it must say something good about Britain that in the 2001 election, we were actually able to do the manifesto launch in a school? That event became memorable not for the fact of doing it in a school, to an audience who did not have the vote, but the fact TB was speaking from a pulpit with a picture of Jesus on the cross in the background. My God, can you imagine what these mad right-wingers in America would have done to Obama had he done that? Crucified him.

The more I see of the reaction to Obama, the more power I wish to his elbow in putting through his reform programme.

  • @jlocke13

    the absurdity of a large proportion of Americans never ceases to amaze me…from creationism to furore over the split second glimpse of a nipple during Superbowl..Just what do they think Obama will do or say that will be so terrible for their offspring…they may well hear some common sense, something sadly lacking in American society…I have to ask just what are they afraid of?

    ps. once again we appear to be in agreement….Are our diverse views starting to converge?

  • Anti-war

    I can’t remember TB making that speech but I can remember him declaring an illegal war in Iraq. Between him and that, any chance of 4th term have been blown away.

  • mhairi gordon

    Interesting post as always, thank you. I’d like to throw in a suggestion – that we separate the genuine views of American people, from views reported in the American media.

    A literature review was carried out on surveys of the US public: it showed that on issues like gay marriage, healthcare, women’s rights, education funding, foreign policy, worker’s rights, etc, the US public was far to the left of US politicians and, no surprise, of the US media. (For further details, please see the book “Dude Where’s My Country”, by Michael Moore)

    Therefore I really think we should pause before uncritically ingesting what mainstream media reports.

  • Tyn

    Problem is most of their influence media (I’m not saying fox), is not clearing the myths those extreme right wingers exploiting on politically naive people. Palin’s death panel non-sense was not boo’ed off by the media, and cover it as if it was fair and square intelligent argument. I was like WTF! As Huffington said recently, journalists shouldn’t be impartial at a cost of the truth.

  • gary Enefer

    My prayers are with the President. Many US Citizens,as my fellow blogger pointed out,are not radical or crazy but the ones who are seem to be in a different league to the rest of the world.

    I also pray for other world leaders and our politicians – my Priest mentions them every sunday(I think he did it quietly when the expenses scandal broke)

    What is the point in having politics and leaders if the media are just going to destroy then all the time. It is rubbish media that is calling all the shots and causing most of the problems and Gordon Brown needs you Alastair badly. You can help him to handle the media and win the election.

  • Em

    Thomas Jefferson once said that slavery was “the snake under the table” and to this day, very few people are going to acknowledge that race is at the centre of the right-wing’s hatred for Obama. The entire birther movement proves it. Would any other president’s citizenship be doubted? Of course not. This is their way of saying that Obama can’t be a real American because he’s black. Prominent right wing politicians have compare Obama to Hitler and Bin Laden. The notion that any politician would have survived calling Bush either those names in inconceivable.

    In the 1960’s, the right-wing sought to discredit MLK by calling him a communist. Now, they are calling Obama a socialist. It’s all about identifying him as “The Other”. I need to pick up Edward Said’s “Orientalism” again because I have a feeling both critics and some supporters have defined Obama in a fashion that distances him for the mirror image we seek in others (recongnition, kinship). It all smacks of racism.

    Republicans are allowing extremists (i.e. the birthers, the deathers, and others) to speak up unchallenged at their meetings. They are playing this game McCain payed when he’d allow audiences to call Obama a secret Muslim. They are doing nothing to calm the extremists and are fanning the flames with the socialist/Nazi/Muslim talk.

    Was Bush criticised when he spoke in schools? Of course not. This is about their hatred for Obama and nothing else. Unfortunately, this administration has been for too contrite and passive. They’re always on the defensive.

    The younger children are politicised the better. This is their society too and they should begin to be included in its ideas and progress.

  • Katharine T.

    A couple of years ago I had to ring a customer in Georgia to give them some pricing, and we were making small talk as is necessary in such situations. I couldn’t believe it when he said “hey, is there still snow up there in Toronto?”
    “Uhh, no sir. It’s July; the thermometer is reading 88 F.”

    He stops for a minute and then says in a concerned voice “but don’t the igloos melt if it’s that hot?”

    Nothing Americans do surprises me.