Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I have been neglecting the blog, even as I have been thinking about it more and more obsessively.

As much as I have an ongoing narrative in my head, this blog business has me thinking all the time "I could blog this..." or, "should I blog this?" (Never mind that I am enough of a word snob to wince a little at "blog" as a noun, let alone as a verb...)

But blog this is, and blog I do.

So it happens that after an amazing weekend at an amazing wedding (in ridiculous and insufficient summary: kid free, we travelled to Vermont for two men we love who bared their souls for the chance to be together, who bought a perfect house in an idyllic vista in a state that 9 months later enabled them to marry... on a weekend with blue skies and high clouds... covered bridges and food and food and drinks and a woman named Betty with countless gifts, and a man named Jay and a B&B with an abundance of porcelain dogs, and candles lit in little white bags, a hoe-down and a cow cake and live music and hiking and a tram and champagne and bonfires and dad-forged rings and friends old and brand new and every single person generous and joy-filled...) I needed something to blog about. I thought it would be that wedding.

But then all the furor around Obama speaking to elementary school kids came into my sight line. And like so much anti-Obama fury, I needed to know what it was about. I needed to understand it. And I really, honestly, could not figure it out. I read, and I read, and I searched and I read and I was dumbfounded.

Apparently, Obama speaking to children, and public schools broadcasting that speech, was threatening. He would indoctrinate. He wants us communists and socialists and he would start by controlling the minds of the smallest among us.

So, with son home not-so-sick from school (as I was nursing a three-day hangover born of carousing, it appears he was nursing a three-day hangover born of grandparental indulgences. But I digress), we watched it.

He is 9. And to him, every word made sense. Pretty standard American values and honor and all that - bootstraps and effort and the future. Stay in school. Wash your hands.

And at night, that same night, Sebastian (the 9YO son) had a pile of work sent home from school. And he needed to do it. And he complained and he griped and he might've slammed a book shut and got sent to his room. And maybe he had to take dinner in his room because we were STILL a little hung-over and Not Having Any of That.

And later, when he wanted to read himself to sleep, I said, "No. One better. Here. Watch the President's speech again."

And he was... well... (really) excited to "get" to do so.

So I handed him the laptop and he stretched out in his top bunk with the cat. Five minutes later he called "Mom, I am going to pause it and get a pencil and a piece of paper if that's OK."


And it was (of course it was), and he did.

And he took notes. On his own:

Every single one of you has something that you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer.
You cannot drop out of school and drop into a good job.
The future of America depends on you.
If you quit on school, you're quitting on yourself. You're quitting on your country.
There is no excuse for not trying.
You make your own future.

And the stuff he wrote down - that stuff - a lot of it was in the NYT coverage of That Same Speech.

I do the indoctrinating in this house.

And thank you, Mr. President, for driving home all of my most important points.


  1. Excellent post. I have been meaning to find time to watch Obama's speech, and perhaps I just found my moment. I, too, wondered at what all the uproar was about-the man is a gifted public speaker, lifts and inspires and motivates those who listen. Why WOULDN'T you want him to speak to schoolkids?

    I love that your son not only watched, but took notes for himself. You, and he, should be proud. Thanks for posting.

  2. Great post. I was flabbergasted at the outrage. A local conservative blogger here organized a protest- pull your kids out of school (even though the schools offered alternatives to watching) and take them to Gattitown. Yes, why don't you take your kids out of school, away from a perfectly politically neutral speech (and a damn good one that I printed out and now read when I'm frustrated with my job) and take them to a place with an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet and video games! Grr.
    Good for your boys for watching, and for taking notice.

  3. Tears in my eyes - such beautiful sentiments! and thank goodness we can indoctrinate our own.