It seems that when President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in as president tomorrow, there will be some school children in Bibb County, Georgia who will not be allowed to see it. There have been enough parents complaining about teachers' plans to have the children watch the swearing-in ceremony and Obama's inauguration speech that the school system is going to provide alternative learning activities for those children whose parents object. The story listed below indicates that the parents were concerned that seeing a new president sworn in and giving his inaugural address to the nation is not and "educational activity."
My friend, Amy Morton, in Georgia first blogged about this. You can see her blog here: http://georgiawomenvote.blogspot.com/2009/01/alternative-reality-school.html
Part of me is suspicious about this. Is the concern of the parents really that the activity is not "educational" enough? Or, is there perhaps a bit of racism in the background? I would like to think that this is not racially motivated. But this is Georgia after all. And racism is still alive all over the nation, but especially is it still rampant in the deep South.
But perhaps it is best to think better of these parents. So, the concern that viewing the inauguration of a new president is not and "educational" activity seems to me to be very wrong. Tomorrow's swearing in of Barack Obama is historic. On the steps of the nation's capital, built by slave labor, the first African-American president will be sworn in. It is as historic as watching Neil Armstrong take that "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" step in
1969. In fact, it represents a cultural shift of epic proportions in our nation's history. That may make it even bigger than Armstrong's leap.
So, I hope that those good citizens of Bibb County, Georgia who are objecting to this activity will reconsider and allow their children to witness this historic moment tomorrow.