Saturday, May 06, 2006

How Do You Sleep at Night?

[[C U L T U R E]] * About two weeks ago, I sent a teacher friend of mine in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this link to an online video of singer-songwriter Pink (aka Alecia Beth Moore) performing her Bush-censuring ballad, “Dear Mr. President.” He wrote back, saying he was so moved by the number and so appreciative that the 25-year-old Pink was giving voice to our nation’s frustrations, that he’d shared the video with his middle-school students.

Well, it seems that not all U.S. educators are as open-minded and concerned for the future as my friend. Yesterday’s South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper carried the unfortunate story of a 10-year-old Coral Springs girl, Molly Shoul, who was barred from singing “Dear Mr. President” in her grade-school talent show. The student is quoted as calling the song “really cool” because it addresses real-world issues such as war and homelessness, and confronts the prez directly. Of Bush, Molly remarks: “He should try to listen to what other people say, not just himself.” However, the school principal contends that the selection is inappropriate because it is “a political song and does use the word hell in it.”

Oh, pullleeeassseeeee. As Molly’s mother, Nancy (herself a teacher), told the Sun-Sentinel, “If this was a student singing a pro-administration song, no one would quibble with it. The principal is just running scared and doesn’t want to upset any parents.” Outside of Miami, South Florida isn’t exactly the most progressive place on earth. There are probably even some folks down there who still think Dubya is doing a dandy job. And heaven forfend, they should have to be subjected to justifiable criticism of his anti-choice, anti-gay, and war-making stances--especially from a fifth-grade girl whose optimism for the country hasn’t yet been stamped out by right-wing religious zealots and conservative me-firsters. What do we leave our children, if we can’t leave them our approval to speak out when they see wrong in the world?

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