I’m stirring the pot.
When I was a kid the presidential election was between Mondale and Reagan. My grandma was solidly in the Mondale camp. My family was solidly in the Reagan camp. And my Grandma spent the winter with us. It was tense, and it got even more tense when I mentioned one night at the dinner table that a boy in my class had the nerve to say that his family was voting for Mondale. I got the parent stare…you know…the one parents give and believe that if they stare with enough intensity, the stare will work like a Jedi mind trick and leave the kid with no words. Only good thoughts. Thoughts that will please the Grandma. The funny thing is that my dad said to me (he might deny this now. Hi dad!) that it didn’t matter who was president; he deserves respect. I believe this. I was annoyed during the inauguration when people were whooping and hollering like they were at a football game. I was yelling at the radio in my living room, “What’s wrong with you people! It’s a Presidential Inauguration! Show some respect!” I am officially a crotchety old person; not just because I yell at inanimate objects in my living room, but because I tend to be rather traditional. We sing this one song at church sometimes that has this line that goes, and I realize that I’m taking this out of context, lift my hands and spin around. I dislike this song immensely. Because really, I’m not spinning. And if I’m honest, I really don’t want to see anyone else spinning in church. It seems inappropriate to me.
Anyway, back to respecting presidents. I am a parent to two children who attend a public school. It is highly possible that, on Tuesday, they will be watching a message addressed to them by President Obama. There is a framed letter from President Obama in the hallway of their school with his picture next to it, just as there was the exact same thing when George W. was President. He is the U.S. President. So far he’s not my favorite president and I don’t agree with a lot of his policies, but my kids will be watching, and we will be discussing what he said. And IF he says anything controversial to them (and I doubt he will), we will sit and discuss it as a family unit. I want them to know what they believe because they know it, not because I gave them no other option. We live in a country where people have opposing opinions. It’s what makes it great. “No dissenting opinions” in either direction is disrespectful (not to mention a big ol’ nasty bag of trouble.) To this country. To our soldiers. To our people. To the people trying to get in.
How great would it be if, when asked how they felt about the speech, they said, “I liked this and this, but this not so much. Here’s why…” I cannot tell you how that would make my year.