Once upon a time, the President of the United States had a great idea! He wanted to give a motivational speech that could be shown to students around the country. The speech would encourage the nation's students to stay in school and study hard. It would touch on his own experience when he was in school and how hard he worked to make it to become the President. Above all, it would emphasize the personal responsibility of each student to work hard to reach their own special potential. The speech would look something like this.
But there were some in the country who did not like the President, perhaps even hated the President. They used to be in charge but had squandered their power with wars and reckless spending and greed. They were angry now that they were not in power and vowed to do whatever they could to bring down the President, even wanting him -- and by extension the country -- to fail. Their strategy was to oppose everything the President was trying to do. They capitalized on some people's fear of the President's strange-sounding name and the darker color of his skin. They called him "anti-American" and "scary".
And so, when the President wanted to give this innocent, valuable, motivating speech that would be good for students and therefore good for the country, these people pounced and lied and urged their followers to do the unthinkable -- not allow their children to go to school and listen to the speech, thus making their children truant. They accused the President of injecting politics when they were the ones who had done so by politicizing such a harmless event. They accused the President of indoctrinating the children, when they were the ones indoctrinating their own children to disrespect the fairly and democratically elected leader of the country. Some school districts would not even show the speech, even though past Presidents had given similar speeches and not been excluded.
How could one explain this shocking turn of events? Why would people go to such great lengths to prevent children from listening to the President? The same people who used to shout the loudest that the President deserves respect and it is our patriotic duty as Americans to respect our President, especially during wartime, were strangely silent on that point now. Sadly, it seems that along with the great joy of electing the first African-American president also comes great resistance from those who still harbor hatred and fear.
Many schools will broadcast the speech. Many kids will be inspired. Maybe one of those kids will someday become President of the United States. Maybe it will be a little girl growing up to be a strong woman. Maybe it will be an Asian-American, an Hispanic-American, or another African-American or mixed-race child. Or maybe it will be a white man, who was once a little boy listening to his President telling him to work hard and never give up on himself. Any of these will be a happy ending to what has been a pretty sad story so far.