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Malia and Sasha: Public or Private

Today's Root post:

I'm a little late to this conversation, but I feel compelled to weigh in on the question of whether the Obama children should go to public or private school. I truly, deeply, completely understand why some feel sending Malia and Sasha to a private school will indicate an "abandonment" of the public school system, but still and all I think this is an inappropriate, bordering on reckless, discussion.

First of all--the question reminds me of Obama's behind the scenes remark in Newsweek:

"So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I f–––ing changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'."

I don't think sending the girls to public school is going to solve the unbelievable decline of our schools. And I seriously doubt he will be less motivated to improve the public school system de facto because he and Michelle send their girls to a private school.

Then there is the quality of the DC public school system. They are working on it, and I have tremendous respect for the teachers and many excellent public schools, especially the charter schools, in DC, but the history is fraught with issues. I went to one of the best public schools on Capitol Hill when my father worked for the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under Jimmy Carter, and let's just say it could have been better.

Which brings us to the question of giving your kids "less" on principle. It reminds me of parents who believe you shouldn't leave money to your children because they won't work hard or appreciate the benefits of self-reliance, which is fine. But what if that somehow compromises the stability of your children or grandchildren?

Aren't principles, if they undermine long-term viability and health, dysfunctional?

What troubles me about these conversations is the assumption Malia and Sasha are just like everyone else. They may be in some ways, but they are not in one very big way: they are the children of the President of the United States. There are massive security issues to be managed. Those kids need to be in the most controlled environment possible. That means contained campuses, administrative familiarity with similar situations, and all manner of other considerations.

Safety first. Principles second. Or, what about safety being the overriding principle? 

What do you think?

 

November 13th, 2008

Michelle and Barack at the White House

Love the dress.

November 13th, 2008

I am a man.

From our friends over at Jack and Jill Politics

November 11th, 2008

Prop 8: Maintaining Mental Stability

In response to the piece on Prop 8 about race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and the election I tweeted, womanist musings sent me her post on the subject and asked for my thoughts. As I posted:

(Regarding homophobia in the black community) I believe the issue of the black church cannot be overstated. And I hope that more African-Americans of all backgrounds can find a way to affirm their connection to the divine, or that which transcends ordinary reality, without dismissing or degrading others.

(Regarding racism in the GLBT community) I think it's important to maintain mental stability at all points of intersection. There are no monolithic black or white or GLBTI communities, and we should not proceed as if there are. Animosity and anger are important but also dangerous emotions. These directed at a group can create a potentially disastrous result. Careful, considered response will more likely yield more positive, non-incendiary results.

Working with people who support the right of all beings to be free, and cultivating understanding and compassion for those who do not is a good way to stay sane. It's certainly worked for Obama. Speaking to the best part of each of us, the part that wants to act with openness and integrity.

I certainly think it's important to try to build on the Obama win in whatever ways possible, rather than undermine the tremendous feelings of forward momentum. Adding to the rhetoric of change is a good idea. Getting into an alienating, acrimonious war that leaves all of us wounded? Claiming hierarchies of oppression? 

When you plant wheat you get wheat. When you plant rage and blame, you get rage and blame. As many philosophers have said:

In times of war, study peace.  

I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

November 9th, 2008

Nancy Reagan's seances and Barack's dog problem

Humorous gravitas.  Love it.

And this was after a meeting with his Transition Economic Advisory Board, a group of 17 leaders on economic issues that includes former U.S. Treasury Secretaries Robert E. Rubin and Lawrence E. Summers, Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Warren Buffett.

Yep.

November 8th, 2008

Obama's One Thousand Pieces, The Guardian UK

November 7th, 2008

By Rebecca Walker

I can finally stop for a second. And breathe. The election wasn’t stolen.Our candidate is alive. We showed up, changed the world, and plan to get up tomorrow and do it again. We know this because Obama won and there is a whole lot of world left to change. We also know this because President-elect Obama has already sent his supporters an email requesting our suggestions on public policy. True to form, he expects our input to begin right now.

November 7th, 2008

The New Us

November 6th, 2008

We won. All of us. Yes. We. Did.

November 5th, 2008

Live Election Results-click on a state, a district, a town


November 4th, 2008

Goodbye Mrs. Dunham

                                  

 

I'm so sorry Barack. She loved you. She's so proud of you. She can move on knowing she did her best and it meant something to so many.

I feel as if my own white grandmother, the one who loved me unconditionally through all the turmoil and confusion of my parents' marriage and divorce, has died.

To lose the ones who believed in us--the ones who never let us go--these are the hardest losses. The ones from which we may never recover.

All we can do is try to give that to our own children, to love them unconditionally, to believe they have something monumental to give this world. To believe that their success is our success.

What else is there in this human realm?

To stand by your children. To refuse to abandon them. To be there.

Much aloha to you Mrs. Dunham, and to your grandson.

You are a role model for us all.

 

November 3rd, 2008