Something about Adam Holmes’ Sept. 8 piece, “Obama wants kids’ minds washed clean,” rubbed me the wrong way. At first I couldn’t quite place it, but then it occurred to me:
Nearly the entire column was built around a series of lies.
But before I get to the really big lie, let me first touch on one of the smaller half-truths.
There is no “mandatory government-run service corps” that the author alludes to. I assume Holmes was referring to the recently expanded AmeriCorps, an entirely voluntary program conservatives often claim is just one big super-secret socialist brainwashing camp. AmeriCorps sends recent college grads into distressed communities to work and helps pay down their student loans while they do so.
Now for the big lie — Holmes would have you believe President Obama secretly took the nation’s kindergarteners aside and told them to raise the red flag of communist revolution and then promised them a gold star and 10 extra minutes of recess if they didn’t tell their parents
The assertions Holmes makes that the speech was “private” and Obama was “circumventing the parents” are positively bold in their remarkable lack of truth.
I’m not sure if Fox News showed Obama’s speech, and maybe that’s why Holmes didn’t get a chance to watch it, but I did. It was broadcast live, on the local ABC affiliate, WXYZ Channel 7. My guess is it probably made its way to CNN and MSNBC as well. Not only that, I know for a fact it was streamed over the Internet.
So, my question to Mr. Holmes is this: How, exactly, was the speech private? Anyone, parent or otherwise, could have tuned into an assortment of television stations to watch the speech. A parent sitting in his or her office at work could have fired up the browser of choice, pointed it to cspan.org, and watch exactly what their children were watching.
As for the “homework” discussed in the piece, those questions deemed politically controversial were dropped from any recommended activities in the days leading up to the speech. And as Holmes himself points out, they were optional to begin with. Sure, some teachers might have still assigned homework, but current events are often used as an instructional tool. That’s called good teaching.