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Friday, April 24, 2009

I know Miss Ward and Mr. President, you're no Miss Ward


Download The Full Audio MP3 below: Right click then "Save Target As"
Miss Ward.mp3

Do you know anyone who suffers from low self esteem? It’s quite a thing isn’t it, to see someone capable of so much accept so little? Or to see someone who has so much going for them live as though that were not the case? Allow me to tell you a true story that happened to me in Jamaica when I was about eight years old; this story takes place over the span of seven years:

When I was eight years old I was attending a private prep-school called, “Alex French Prep.” I was not a good student and my teacher Miss Lamont would not let me forget it. Now in Jamaica, teachers have the full permission of parents to discipline students as they see fit, even if it means a good spanking. Miss Lamont’s favorite mode of discipline was the use of a heavy-duty twelve-inch aluminum ruler which she would use to slap our open palms. I don’t think Miss Lamont liked teaching but I think the prospect of using her Aluminum ruler is what got her out of bed everyday. And I always gave her a reason to use it; she did not like me. I remember one day when five students (including me) didn’t do their homework. We were all standing around her explaining why we didn’t have our work completed when in a fit of rage she reached out, grabbed me and gave me a good spanking in front of the whole class; the other kids got off with a warning. That was my life at Alex French Prep.

Fast forward to High school seven years later, my grades are still embarrassing and the effects of Alex French Prep still linger. That is until the ninth grade, when on the first day of my math class, Miss Ward walked into the room and introduced herself. She was a life long educator whose calling was to help children. My new math teacher took an interest in me and slowly but surely, my grades started to change (across the board) for the better. School became fun for me and my parents (for whom the success of their children was and continues to be everything) started to have hope for their youngest son again. Meeting Miss Ward was a pivotal event in my life and I wish I could find her today to explain how important she was to me. I wish I could tell her that her encouragement and faithfulness to me made a huge difference in my life.

When I look back on this time in my history and the difficulties I faced, I would have to say that my parents had even greater difficulties. Loving me as much as they did, it was hard for them to watch me squander all that they worked so hard to provide. It was difficult for my parents to watch me under perform while knowing with certainty that I was capable of doing better than I actually did.

Now you may not agree with the worldview of every United States citizen, but I will say this, when citizens speak-up out of love for country, we must not dismiss them as a bunch of misguided, racists rednecks. The tea-party participants had a legitimate concern; the idea that big government tends towards oppression of the governed, and to dismiss them as a bunch of misguided, redneck racists would be analogous to me dismissing my parents as a couple of misguided, racist rednecks for caring and acting to put me back on the right path. Dismissing loving parents or loving citizens does not make any sense.

We the citizens of the United States like parents all over this country, entrust our kids and our country to a caretaker. Will that caretaker be in the mold of my prep school teacher Miss Lamont or will that caretaker be in the mold of my high school math teacher Miss Ward? As of right now, President Obama is no Miss Ward. My High school math teacher would never throw her students under a bus in order to remain a popular teacher. President Obama on the other hand, after sitting through a fifty minute rant by Daniel Ortega describing how evil the United States is, responded to Ortega by saying the following:

"To move forward, we cannot let ourselves be prisoners of past disagreements. I'm grateful that President Ortega did not blame [ME] for things that happened when I was three months old. Too often, an opportunity to build a fresh partnership of the Americas has been undermined by stale debates. We've all heard these arguments before."[1]

Keeping his personal reputation pristine is rather petty and quite frankly childish for the United States President isn’t it? And bashing his (our) country at every turn is getting a bit old. Interestingly enough, you will not find any other world leader bashing their country during any of Obama’s overseas visits; the United States was the only country trampled underfoot. Do you recall my story in Prep school that time when I didn’t do my homework along with a bunch of other kids, and my teacher Miss Lamont reached for me alone and gave me a spanking? Well President Obama did the same thing, reaching for the United States alone and giving it a spanking (albeit a verbal one).

Our president should be willing to be dragged through the mud if it promoted the wellbeing of the Country. Say what you will about George Bush, but he was willing to sacrifice his own popularity for the sake of our country, and he in fact did so. May our President find it in his heart to recommit himself to the oath he took at the start of his presidency, to uphold and protect the constitution of the United States and not to uphold and protect Barack Obama

Danian Michael
Political Agenda


Footnotes:

[1] (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/04/18/obama-endures-ortega-diatribe/) “Obama endures Ortega diatribe” a news article by Fox news highlighting the content of a meeting in PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago featuring The socialist president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega. The quote in my article was our President’s response to Ortega’s perpetual repudiation of the United States (basically Ortega gave a hate America speech).

15 Comments:

Blogger David said...

I'm baffled by this commentary. Danian Michael says that Pres. Obama was "reaching for the US alone and giving it a spanking", but it was Pres. Ortega who gave the US a spanking. Obama responded temperately but made it clear he thought Ortega was engaging in a "stale debate." Michael may feel unhappy with Obama in general, but I can't figure out what he was supposed to have done wrong in this case!

April 25, 2009 at 5:39 AM  
Blogger Danian Michael said...

David,

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to the article.

There is a history behind this article that I alluded to in the development of my case. For brevity I decided to simply assume that development, which by the way I developed in earlier articles. The fact is, on his overseas visits to the G20 summit and later to the Caribbean, President Obama made it very clear that the United States made some pretty major mistakes in the past and that the President before him (George Bush)was a bad President.

When you read my Article David and saw things you disagreed with, you didn't keep silent; you logged on and corrected the record as you saw it. If you can do it, why can't our President? What he should have done was correct the record, maybe even show the contrast between our country and Ortega's. But to stand up and say, well that wasn't my fault, is weak leadership and down right childish.

I don't know if you have children, but what would you do if the principal of your child's school called you in and started falsely accusing your child of the most despicable behavior? Would your response as his dad be, well I'm not like that? No, you would talk to your son in private and defend him in public. That is what President Obama should have done.

What say you David?

April 25, 2009 at 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Danian,

I particularly liked this edition especially since it mentioned your parents and that experience in your early childhood education. Your statements are true about president Obama, his true colors are coming out.

love Mom.

April 25, 2009 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger David said...

Well, Obama certainly didn't concede that the US had behaved despicably in Nicaragua (though a lot of Americans and much of the rest of the world believe it did back in the Contra days) - he said Ortega was engaging in stale debate. That seems to be his style, not to get into pissing matches when he can help it. Instead, he made a joke that defused the situation. I like that about him.

I'm also influenced by the fact that I've spent most of the past 30 years living outside the US, in Africa, Europe, Asia, and New Zealand (I'm current visiting family in Ireland, though I live in Vermont), and it's such a joy for a change to inhabit a world that respects the president of the United States and admires what we now seem to stand for. The last eight years especially were terrible years to be an American outside the US, and neither Obama nor anyone else should try to gloss that over. He's a breath of global fresh air.

We don't have to agree, but that's where I'm coming from.

April 25, 2009 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger Danian Michael said...

David,

I must remind you and our president that being liked by others is not an end in it self. What is right for the world is not a sure indicator of what is right for the United States. As a matter of fact, they should be looking to us for approval.

Let me ask you this, does it make you disapprove of Obama to known that most conservatives don't like what he's doing? If not, why not?

April 26, 2009 at 6:17 PM  
Blogger David said...

Danian, What really interests me is that I think of us both as being smart, well-informed, honest, and genuinely concerned with the well-being of people in the US and abroad. How then can we have such different takes on Obama and public policy? Someday I'd love to spend a long evening with a solid conservative to see where we actually agree and where we really differ (and why).

I don't suspect we could go far with a discussion like that in this kind of forum. I just drifted in here because I have a Google search for my son, whose name is Alex French, and when you wrote about Alex French Prep your blog popped up!

It's been interesting, though.

Best, David

April 27, 2009 at 5:10 AM  
Blogger Creationist Darwin said...

Hi Danian. Please know that there are many that read your articles and agree. Because that is so, we don't typically blog.

April 27, 2009 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger Danian Michael said...

David,

conservatives and liberals have fundamental differences in their worldview; the glasses through which we understand and perceive life and experience. I agree with you, it is fascinating how two people can experience the same fact and walk away with a diametrically opposed understanding of that fact. It would be a worthwhile and interesting venture for a conservative and a democrat to take off their glasses and hand them to each other for inspection and an explanation.

Maybe you know a conservative who is also a good friend, you should try it; I will.

David, I really respect and enjoyed your viewpoints, and I thank you for your graciousness towards me. I hope you stop by again.

Perhaps you could subscribe using the homepage? I'll make sure you get a notification whenever I post a new article.

April 27, 2009 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger Danian Michael said...

Creationist Darwin,

It make me feel good to know you are out there and your support means more to me than you will ever know.

Thank you for your support. I will say this, the people who have responded to my articles, even the ones who disagree with me, have for the most part been very kind.

April 27, 2009 at 5:10 PM  
Blogger David said...

Danian, I like the idea of exchanging glasses to see how the world looks from a different perspective. I suspect it would lead to humility rather than dogmatism in holding points of view.

Don't know what you think of David Brooks, but he's my favorite columnist even though we occupy very different parts of the political spectrum -- he makes a conservative case for tradition and decentralization and community and responsibility, but with an open heart and respect for people on "the other side."

You may disagree, but I think Obama gives "the other side" that kind of respect much more than other politicos. It's not the only thing that matters in a politician (they also need to get the substance right), but it feels like a real change from "you're either with us or against us." (It's a change I'm trying to make myself after too many years of being very aggressive about these things.)

I've got your site bookmarked and will check in from time to time. Thanks for the value you place on graciousness in trying to understand these things, David

April 28, 2009 at 4:40 AM  
Anonymous Tom T. said...

Danian and David, I've enjoyed your discussion. I do have one reaction to Danian's statement, "I must remind you and our president that being liked by others is not an end in it self. What is right for the world is not a sure indicator of what is right for the United States. As a matter of fact, they should be looking to us for approval."

The world is changing quickly. We can not be so arrogant to expect other countries to want to gain our favor. The U.S. may (I'm being optimistic with that word) not always be the most powerful country in the world. China and India are growing strong. We need to build solid, mutually respectful relatinships with our immediate neighbors and other countries. Resolving lingering tensions is the first step in building those relationships.

I, too, do not want our president to appear weak, but extending an olive branch should be viewed as a sign of strength rather than weakness.

May 21, 2009 at 12:34 PM  
Blogger Danian Michael said...

Tom,

You missed my point when I said, other countries should be looking to us. My point was not to make the United States the Standard that all other countries should strive after (each country need to find their own path). If I did that, I would be contradicting myself by making approval from the United States an end in itself. My point was that our President should have a lead-the-world mindset and not one of following the world. But I should also note that I agree with Reagan in that the United States is a shining city on a hill.

May 21, 2009 at 5:51 PM  
Anonymous Tom T. said...

Our country along with its foundation is definitely a good example for other struggling countries to model themselves after. It's not the only form of government that works, however.

Understanding other countries and how they are structured based on the needs and history of the people is critical for developing peaceful relations. I think Obama is attempting to do just that.

May 21, 2009 at 6:19 PM  
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