By Alex Pearl ’10
A new disease is threatening the nation along with the dreaded swine flu: Obamaphobia, the irrational and intense fear or frantic aversion of President Barack Obama.
Sure, a “phobia” is a psychological condition, but Obamaphobia appears to be spreading like a virus since the president’s inauguration in late January.
First, a disclaimer: This is not an approval or disapproval of the president’s policies. Sufferers of Obamaphobia should check their prescriptions and their judgment before they continue reading.
Any reactions to this article pertaining to my opinions on Obama are likely hallucinations relating to your condition.
A strange disease, Obamaphobia surfaced shortly after America’s “triumph over racism” after electing President Obama, and is most commonly related to schools – most instances I have experienced or researched are connected to an educational establishment of some sort.
This, of course, makes an outbreak as a result of Obama’s speech to students last September an unsurprising turn of events.
While no students or teachers were cringing, hissing or attempting frantic exoduses from auditoriums during the viewings of the speech (as far as I know), the reactions of many schools were telltale signs of Obamaphobia.
Off the top of my head, I can think of three Valley cases that exhibit this: One school that required students to submit a parent-signed permission slip to attend a viewing, and two others that banned the speech outright.
I have heard the speech to students contained a rather questionable “What do you think of the president?” segment in which students responded gleefully that Obama was helping everyone and that his healthcare and welfare reforms would cause spontaneous rainbows in even the most arid regions of planet Earth.
Of course, the presence of that sort of content would greatly tarnish the objectivism of the speech as a whole, but after searching through the end of the YouTube video of the speech posted by CSPAN, I’ve been unable to locate it.
Although I admittedly don’t know why two of the three schools restricted the viewing of Obama’s speech – no reason was given other than an allusion to fear of propaganda – Saint Thomas, the third school, was said to have banned the speech because of Obama’s view on abortion. Fr. John D. Ehrich, the residing pastor, stated during a recent Mass that the president’s pro-choice policies were a high-tension subject at the school and the adjoining church.
A second incident occurred at an Arizona high school, where an art teacher assigned a picture of Obama sitting at his desk to his freshman students for their final for the year.
One student, whether to complain, create conversation or otherwise, divulged this project to his mother, which resulted in an exemplary case of Obamaphobia: The mother dialed a conservative radio station and began to rant about how her child’s art teacher was a raving liberal attempting to manipulate the impressionable minds of his students to favor the new president.
In a similar vein, a recent article in the Sept. 27 edition of the Arizona Republic elaborated on the story of an uproarious reaction against a video of kindergarten and second-grade children singing songs about Obama for school.
The residing teacher stated that he simply wanted to engage the children in the activities of influential African American citizens, as opposed to the objective stated by several alarmed viewers, which was supposedly “indoctrination.”
And, of course, another decent example of early Obamaphobia unrelated to schools entirely was the series of accusations concerning Obama’s foreign residency and faked birth certificate after he had taken office.
Although children should be allowed to develop their own political views based on their morals and intelligence, Obamaphobia seems to magnify these convictions to unreasonable levels.
So, what is it?
Are Republicans more sensitive about the influence of the president on their children (so much so that a speech encouraging students to work hard and apply themselves is regarded as morally dangerous) than Democrats, who simply parody Republican presidents?
Regardless of the cause, the result is appalling.
Children shouldn’t be told what to think as far as politics are concerned, but refusing to allow exposure to one of the most influential men in the world – be it through painting a picture, watching a speech or singing a song – is overstepping the boundaries of reason.
For example, if a teacher or school administrator is concerned about a propaganda-filled segment in which kids praise the president, why not show the version of the speech without the controversial questionnaire at the end?
Again, the question comes up: Would the same treatment be given to a motivational speech given by Bush?
If it’s not a condition with a silly name, then it could be something worse – the ludicrous sensitivity towards material shown in media, televised or otherwise, could have finally spread to include anything regarding the president.
The entity of hypersensitive people that pasteurized television into political correctness and lobbied to have violent video games outlawed entirely has now turned its lidless eyes towards the presidency.
If that’s the case, then God help us all.
If it isn’t, then we can just wait for a vaccination and hope that we don’t start raging against the next State of the Union address.