Commentary: Boycotting Obama's message teaches a bad lesson

The Sacramento BeeSeptember 8, 2009 

The dangers to our children are looming at the classroom door:

Sex education. Hollywood. President Barack Obama.

Reflecting a national furor, some Elk Grove parents pressured their school district for the option of pulling their kids out of class when Obama gives a nationally televised address to school kids on Tuesday.

Typically, the Elk Grove Unified School District allows parents to "opt out" when provocative films are shown in class or during some sex-ed discussions.

Now, some seem to consider the president of the United States as objectionable as information on sexually transmitted diseases.

It used to be that Americans would crowd around their radios and TVs to hear "their" president. It wasn't so long ago that the first President Bush or President Ronald Reagan addressed American school kids.

My fellow citizens — it's the president of the United States.

Even if you didn't vote for the man — or you disagree with his policies — he is a symbol of our enduring democracy. The seal of the United States reads: "E pluribus unum," Latin for "Out of many, one."

Are we really so polarized that we fear Obama will slip a subliminal message into a "stay in school" pep talk?

As of Friday, Elk Grove officials said only a "trickle" of forms had come back from parents opting their children out of Obama's speech.

What if that trickle becomes a downpour? Then we've lost something important in our country.

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