The current occupant of the White House gave a speech to Americans about the urgency of U.S. taxpayers funding a border wall. (As with the deficit and Mexico paying for the wall, Republicans no longer mention the president’s TelePrompTer use.) The major television networks acquiesced and broadcast the scripted, sometimes coherent harangue. Never mind that in 2014 the same networks declined to give airtime to the President – that would be Barack Obama – addressing the nation about border security. The reason given? It was too political. Previously, the networks did air George W. Bush’s immigration speech.

On the subject of the previous president, let’s take the Wayback machine to 2009, the beginning of the school year. Barack Obama was to address the nation’s school children, urging them to work hard and stay in school.

The right wing went ballistic. They charged it was an attempt by Obama to use schools to indoctrinate children with his agenda or a “cult of personality.” A Republican Party official accused the President of trying to “indoctrinate America’s children to his socialist agenda.”

Some schools refused to air the speech. Many refused to use the study guide prepared by the White House. Other schools made attendance optional. A right-wing pundit warned, “They are capturing your kids…. Stand guard America. Your republic is under attack.”

The White House took the unusual step of releasing an advance copy of the address, which contained such socialistic rhetoric as, “Every single one of you has something that you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is.”

A few years earlier, a Republican president, St. Ronald Reagan, spoke to schoolchildren offering such non-political guidance as:

  • The necessity to fight against “economic restrictions, taxes, and barriers to free trade.”
  • “We cut the taxes. And what we have found is that at the lower rates the Government gets more revenue.
  • The Founding Fathers “designed a system of limited government that, in John Adams’ words, was suited only to a religious people such as ours.”
  • “But the one place in the world where anyone from any corner of the world can come: America – come to live and become an American. And no other country has that but ours.”

IOKIYAR (It’s OK if you are Republican)

President Dwight Eisenhower, campaigning for re-election 1956. Motorcade on NE 42nd Avenue, Portland. The entire student body of St. Charles School came out to watch.

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