Friday, September 25, 2009

Worthless Indoctrination

No doubt by now just about everybody is aware of the video showing the schoolchildren being taught, and subsequently singing, a glorifying song about Barack Obama.

It would be hardly appropriate to address the existence of this video, without addressing the items that
Zennie Abraham has pointed to today in responding to what he somehow perceives is a racially motivated witchunt on Michelle Malkin's part in her coverage of the video. The first is video that Abraham brings up is one of kids at Jesus Camp being directed to praise President Bush.

The second item is
a song that kids were taught for an appearance by Laura Bush, praising Congree, FEMA and Bush for their work after Katrina.
Our country stood beside us
People have sent us aid.
Katrina could not stop us,
our hopes will never fade.
Congress, Bush and FEMA
People across our land
Together have come to rebuild us and we join
them hand-in-hand!
Now, first of all, I would be remiss in allowing Zennie Abraham off the hook for his claiming that Michelle Malkin's coverage of the Obama Song video is racially motivated. His own argument falls under its own weight.
Now I'd bet Michelle would say, "Aww, that's so cute!" Why? Because the kids are white and its George Bush? Yeah, right. And so there's the racial problem - she can ignore singing if its done by white school kids praising a white Republican President, but if the subject's America's first black President, she gets really mad.
First of all, apparently Mr. Abraham is color-blind himself, and didn't notice the african american boy in the video he brings to our attention. Who knows, perhaps he assumes the boy is a "token" included for purposes of diversity by the filmmakers? Doubtful given the boy's exuberance in his praises for God. More to the point, however, to move out of the useless realm of racial politics, it is important to point out that Mr. Abraham's video is from a religious camp, and not a public school. Children there are being indoctrinated in their families' faith in a private setting.

This has been the big argument from all who are outraged at the Obama Song video. This is happening in public schools, funded by taxpayer dollars. Many have argued that this has never happened before. This is where Abraham's citations are important. He is showing us, even though his point is ignorant of anything that matters, that this has in fact, happened before. This is where his citing the FEMA song is much more pertinent, and where his closing reprimand of Malkin would carry some weight, if only his own argument weren't one rooted in race relations.
You've got no choice here; no cherry picking. Either accept them all, or denounce them all.
The answer, of course, is that everyone should denounce such individualized indoctrination. This is not something that a Democrat should look at and say is OK just because it's Barack Obama. Neither is the FEMA song something a Republican should defend just because it was George Bush. Both Republicans and Democrats absolutely must discourage such behavior on the part of our educators, whether public educators, like those in the Obama and FEMA songs, or private educators, like those in the Jesus Camp video.

The reason is simple. There is always an indoctrination of the young that takes place in any learning setting. We have all gone to school and been taught songs glorifying the United States. The Battle Hymn of the Republic, America the Beautiful, the Star Spangled Banner, God Bless America. The list is endless. But the list is full of important songs. Every song instills in us a sense of pride for liberty, for freedom, and love for the beautiful country we call home. Such feelings indoctrinated into us are feelings that inspire us throughout our lifetimes to live lives of purpose, and act with reverence for where we live. The bravest and most dedicated amongst us choose to go into service to defend our highest principles of freedom and liberty.

The types of songs I've listed above are the songs of my childhood that still fill me with pride. Every now and then, they can be sung so beautifully as to raise goosebumps on one's skin, or to bring a tear to one's eye. All of them were written for this purpose. All were intended to instill a lifelong love of the United States of America into the listener, a love that would run deeper than any personal disagreement with the politics of our leaders. All were intended to unify us in common song, in common reverence for our principles.

As innocuous as something like a cute song being made up by teachers to show reverence to a visiting president, any visiting president, may seem to some folks, we have to recognize that everything of this sort is indoctrination, whether intended to be or not. And in the end, the indocrination of the minds of the youth toward an individual is particularly dangerous, not only for the health of the country, but for the health of the minds of the children.

A simple question can be posed. If time is spent now glorifying Barack Obama in the minds of those kids, what then are those kids going to think in three more years if Barack Obama is no longer the President? Likely they will wonder with disillusionment where their leader went. Perhaps some of them may become resentful, having been taught to equate the United States of America with Barack Obama. Thus their love of country would become damaged, and a longer period of readjustment to the realities of a republic would need to take place. The practice in general becomes divisive for the country as a whole.

This is the case for educators of any persuasion. Indocrination of a love of the United States of America as a land of freedom and prosperity and opportunity can instill a sense of team unity that will transcend political differences for a lifetime. Indoctrination of love for individuals can only be damaging, and in the end, worthless.

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