respectful disagreement?

Despite the US being a flagship for democracy, it’s still
hard for me to remember that many of my fellow citizens openly refuse to listen
to what our own president has to say. I’m writing this literally, in response
to the recent controversy surrounding President Obama’s plans to address public
school students, urging them to “work hard [and] stay in school.”

This is hardly the first time a president has done this.
George Bush Senior made a similar broadcast in 1991 which encouraged students
to “study hard [and] avoid drugs.” However, this time the address has
experienced strong opposition by conservatives who do not want their children
to be indoctrinated to “President Obama’s socialist ideology.”

Many Americans have voiced their concerns that our own president
is a danger to their children’s creative development, but somehow just don’t
quite get the benefit of exposure to opposing ideas (even if only to know how
to better support their own). This only shows a fear that our president’s ideas
are attractive, and indicates reluctance by those who hold opposing views to
acknowledge their own shortfalls.

It’s disheartening to know that some Americans can claim to
love their country, but still distrust the one who we elected when he has yet
to wrong us. Obviously it’s unrealistic to hope for unanimous support of Commander
in Chief, but that doesn’t mean that respectful disagreement has to be beyond
us. National moral is pretty low, and constant quarrelling and the appearance
of stagnation is hardly helping, the very least we could do is pretend to get
along with each other.

McKinley, James C. and Dillon, Sam. “Some Parents Oppose
Obama’s School Speech”. The New York Times. 3 September 2009.


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