Saturday, June 14, 2008

Michelle Obama: Unpatriotic?

I'm getting into politics on this one, so the first thing I should say is that right now, I'm leaning toward voting for John McCain, but I am nowhere near committed to him.

I'm posting this one as a history teacher, because this has very little to do with supporting public education. As I said, I'm leaning toward John McCain right now, but people like E. D. Hill, idiot anchorwoman extraordinaire for Fox News, could push me over to Obama. Ms. Hill referred to the fist bump that Barack Obama did with his wife as a possible "terrorist fist jab," after he had sewed up the Democratic nomination. I have been doing fist bumps with my hockey teams as they came out of locker rooms to hit the ice for the last several years. Silly me! I didn't know we were supporting terrorism when we did that.

Much has been made of Michelle Obama's statement in February that her husband's success in the primaries made her proud of her country for the first time. For the first time? Oh my goodness, that must mean that she isn't sufficiently patriotic! But then I began to think about that.

I am an Irish-American, and I think the United States is the best nation in the world. My ancestors came to America because their situation in Ireland was desperate, and they saw America as a land of opportunity. There is no question that the Irish faced discrimination for a time, but I never saw my father face any; he never told me about facing any (although he did go to a Ku Klux Klan march in Minneapolis to throw tomatoes at the Kluckers when he was a teenager), and I definitely never faced any.

Now let's look at America from Michelle Obama's perspective. Her ancestors were brought over here on slave ships, and they were slaves for over 200 years. Then, after slavery was ended, they faced discrimination of the worst kind for the next 100 years. Then, in the 1960s, laws were passed that for the first time made it possible for African-Americans to seek the American dream on equal terms with whites. That's great, but the man who led the movement that caused those laws to be passed was harassed for years by our FBI, and he ended up being murdered. Besides that, the Democratic party was responsible for those civil rights laws being passed and, in large part as a result of that, the Republican party, which opposed those laws, has won seven out of the last ten presidential elections. So just maybe, if Michelle Obama has not felt as proud of America as I have, I should be somewhat forgiving.

With all that being said, perhaps I should explain why I'm leaning toward John McCain. First of all, I've always liked McCain. I've liked him because he hasn't automatically spouted the party line like so many politicians. Barack Obama has talked about working bi-partisanly, but McCain has actually done it. Regarding the war in Iraq, McCain said from the beginning that we needed more troops. When the surge was proposed, and it was so politically correct to oppose it, McCain supported it, and it sounds to me like he turned out to be correct.

Barack Obama is a fantastic speaker, but I am very concerned about his lack of experience. He inspires me, but I'm just not sure that he has the substance to back up what he is saying. If you are upset that I'm leaning toward McCain, take heart. Media idiots like E. D. Hill still have more than four months to work on me. By the time they're done with me, there's at least a fifty-fifty chance I'll end up voting for Obama.

22 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

Vote for the one who shares your values and goals. If you're astonishingly conservative, vote for McCain (he's one of the most conservative senators of the past fifty years on nearly every issue). If you're moderate to liberal, vote for Obama (his lack of experience at screwing things up is not a problem for me; he also has considerably more experience in government than did Abraham Lincoln).

6/15/2008 4:57 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

"I believe that success [in Iraq] will be fairly easy."

John McCain... September 24th, 2002.

"I believe that we can win an overwhelming victory in a very short period of time."

John McCain... September 29th, 2002.

Of the ouster of Saddam and the Baathists:

"There's no doubt in my mind that once these people are gone, that we will be welcomed as liberators."

John McCain... March 24th, 2003.

6/15/2008 8:50 PM  
Blogger 40 said...

I am not going to try to sway your opinion, but if you are open to idiots like ED Hill... you will be swayed quickly.

They are going to pull out all the stops.

I am currently reading Obama's first book. It is really an education on growing up biracial and in such a diverse situation (Hawaii, Indonesia, Hawaii again, California, NY and Chicago).

I will want to read some of McCain's work as well. As for John, I have always "liked" him because he's not a typical jerk Republican. But, I have really disliked his very conservative jump back to the GOP. In this year of "change" he would have been smart to abandon his party and run on his own values. I am quite sure this country will not be in the mood to elect anything that might resemble Bush III with %5 a gallon gas by November.

6/15/2008 9:56 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Everyone needs to read this: http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/open_university/archive/2008/06/12/obama-the-university-of-chicago-democrat.aspx

6/16/2008 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael: McCain is NOT "astonishingly conservative". He has worked on legislation to attack free speech (McCain-Feingold), to make our borders more porous, and to promote the hoax of man-made global warming.

Dennis: Obama may be a great orator, but what do his speeches actually say? Are we electing a Commander in Chief to lead our nation during war or a high school graduation speaker?

Though I disagree with McCain on much, I'd rather have someone who understands the military as president during a time of war rather than a man whose election is desired by our nation's enemies.

6/16/2008 8:34 AM  
Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

First of all, let me speak heresy: I like both of these guys. In fact, I even like President Bush. And if that's not enough for you, take this: I even liked John Kerry.

The most important issue to me is education, and I'm not thrilled with John McCain's position on that. I'm also pro-life, and I'm not thrilled with Barack Obama's position on that. But we have a number of very important issues (Social Security, Medicare, energy to name three) that need to be dealt with immediately, and I think the only way they are going to be dealt with is if someone can get the parties to work together. John McCain has shown a willingness to do that. Barack Obama says he would do that, but I have seen no evidence of that since he's been in the Senate.

The people I have had it with are knee-jerk liberals and knee-jerk conservatives. They are all so sure that they have a monopoly on truth that they are wrecking this country.

And 40, you misunderstood me. The way that I am most likely to be "open" to E. D. Hill is to do the opposite of whatever she says.

6/16/2008 10:18 AM  
Blogger 40 said...

Just clarification, I did mean it that way. If you are open to E.D. Hill to sway you against Obama, I meant that she and others will give you plenty of chances to be swayed to Obama.

The attack machine hasn't even started yet. Wait until August and September. And then their attempts at "October Surprises."

I actually like most of these guys as well. But, not Bush. I know him far too well from his do-nothing days in Texas. Believe me, I saw this coming. It wasn't hard. We have been doing NCLB in Texas a long time... and it sure hasn't helped to fix the state with the worst funded school system in America. It's one of just a number of reasons that if you aren't wealthy - Texas isn't for you: http://bayareahouston.blogspot.com/2007/02/its-official-texas-worst-place-to-live.html

6/16/2008 12:22 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Michael: McCain is NOT "astonishingly conservative". He has worked on legislation to attack free speech (McCain-Feingold), to make our borders more porous, and to promote the hoax of man-made global warming.

Conservatives like to attack free speech, so long as it's speech they disagree with. His position on immigration is not as vicious and evil as most conservatives, but it's still conservative. If you think the human role in global warming is a hoax, there's nothing anyone can do to bring you to intelligent thought. Just sit in the corner: someone will water you sooner or later.

6/16/2008 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael,

First, you accuse conservatives of attacking free speech that they disagree with. Then, when I question man-made global warming, you make an ad hominem attack on me, equating my intelligence to that of a plant. Do you see the problem there?

6/17/2008 8:44 AM  
Blogger Melissa B. said...

Just remember--our current Idiot in Chief had zippo in the "experience" department before he occupied the Oval Office. That, plus he's dumb as a doornail. I'm from Texas, so don't consider a couple years in the Governor's Mansion in Austin as any kind of experience. Obama is fresh, smart and starts waaaaaay ahead of Bush from the get-go. Too bad the facists will try to demonize Michelle.

6/17/2008 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Art said...

Hey Dennis, Not sure how else to contact you, so am writing here. Check out the My Turn column in the 6/16 Newsweek for a sentence which encapsulates the reality of teaching: "I'm old enough by now to realize that I can't really teach anyone anything; I can just try to create conditions that foster learning." That certainly supports many of the ideas you promote here and if every young teacher could believe this, we'd all be much better off.

6/18/2008 4:20 PM  
Blogger 40 said...

Art is a a true statement, but I take it one step farther. It's the old "When the student is ready the teacher will appear." -- But, for me... I, as the teacher, am always ready and always looking for moments to help the student appear.

These days it is far to easy for educators to proclaim, "I can't really teach anyone anything" and that it is all about conditions. I think students need to know that you are there for their learning and it is something they are in charge of. Semantics maybe, but my 2cents worth anyway.

I do appreciate this blog and your insights very much Dennis. Thanks.

6/18/2008 6:44 PM  
Blogger Melissa B. said...

Dennis: You're invited to contribute to Take Another Look Thursday. It's a way we teachers can stay on our toes this summer! http://scholastic-scribe.blogspot.com/2008/06/take-another-look-thursday.html

6/20/2008 10:22 AM  
Blogger hick town teacher said...

Dennis, great blog; I enjoyed the comments. It's amazing a person can mention their political views and people become immediately defensive. Names are called; people are harassed for their beliefs; and for what? It's almost as bad as discussing religion or are they the same but just in a slightly different package?

Dennis, either way you vote; you're voting for the same person. It doesn't seem like McCain really wants to do what it takes to win, so Obama wins by default. This isn't much of a race for the presidency; it's too civil for that. The U.S. citizens are more worked up than the candidates. Honestly, both candidates are too liberal for me. They say they can solve all our problems with big governmental programs. Whatever happened to the pioneering spirit to cinch up your belt when food was scarce and work whatever job you could to feed your family? Now, it's an expected, no demanded, that the govt. will provide food stamps and a welfare check with no effort or work as the Civilian Conservations Corps gave us in beautiful landmarks built in the 1930’s. No, govt. hasn’t solved anything in a long time, but it has created more socialized problems, especially in education. Now, they want to mess with your healthcare.

We as teachers are the last line of defense. Responsibility must rest solely on the individual, or all we have is a scapegoats and witch hunts. As a teacher, have you faced poor parenting? It’s never the child or their responsibility, but the responsibility rests solely on the shoulders of the overworked, underpaid teacher who doesn’t give grades, but makes their students earn them through work, study skills, and expectations.

6/22/2008 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny that a public school teacher would whine about the government imposing themselves on the lives of individuals, because the public schools are one of the worst examples of the government imposing themselves on the lives of individuals.

The best thing you could do, Dennis, is just not vote. Why sanction either of those two pigs?

6/23/2008 6:39 AM  
Anonymous daniel simms said...

Dennis, I like your comment about looking at America from Michelle Obama's perspective. And I think that it is important to remember that the inhuman treatment black people suffered was backed by government enforcement. That's not something that should make anyone proud of America.

6/25/2008 6:19 AM  
Blogger Parentalcation said...

Dennis,

Just wanted to say that after watching that HBO documentary, I completely sympathize with your point about some students ruining it for others.

6/25/2008 11:06 PM  
Blogger Liz Ditz said...

Hi Dennis! Somewhat of a topic hijack, but I want to read your opinion. Joanne Jacobs is writing about teaching civics. I'd like to hear your opinion. Why don't you go over and leave a comment?

I know a lot of teachers read your blog, so all of you, feel free to go over to Joanne's and weigh in.

7/05/2008 8:45 AM  
Blogger Parentalcation said...

I am completely torn on who I am going to vote for.

On one hand, Obama's cult of personality automatically turns me off, but lately McCain has slowly been turning himself into Bush Lite, and I can't stand Bush.

I want the old McCain back...

Still, it would be cool to try out Obama for a few years.

7/12/2008 12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you would deliberately vote one way just to spite someone like E.D. Hill than where are your convictions? You can't hardly pay attention to the media beings there is a high level of crap flinging from both directions. Liberal media will do it to the conservatives and vis versa, the fact remains the same. And I do know that I want someone in office who is patriotic and loves America, not someone who is ashamed of it. Where is the patriotism anyways anymore?

7/29/2008 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dennis, one other thing I wanted to ask you. This is way off topic, but I am wondering if you have ever read the book 50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School? If you have, what do you think of it?

7/29/2008 9:56 AM  
Blogger mewmewmew said...

You have put it very well when you point out that our system works by consensus, not majority rule. My AP Language class was doing a rhetorical deconstruction of the Declaration in class the other day, and the word "consent" was integral to our discussion. Clearly, Jefferson chose his words very carefully. Most people do, in fact, concur with a taxpayer supported programs such as public education, police and fire protection, public health/public works, and the military. Usually, the discussion centers around how well-funded they, in fact should be.



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