Okay, remember a while back when that high school kid got suspended for wearing a Pepsi T-shirt to a pep rally for the district’s new sponsor, Coke? Yeah, total outrage.
So I should also be outraged that a fifth-grader was suspended for refusing to take off the anti-Obama T-shirt he wore to school. Right? I mean, the shirt read “Obama — A Terrorist’s Best Friend.” Ew.
Actually, though, I am outraged that he got sent home. Why not let him wear it?
Here’s the deal: Daxx Dalton, a fifth-grader in Aurora, Colo., wore the shirt his dad helped him make on the day school leaders told kids they should wear red, white and blue to show their patriotism. And this is how the boy (and his father) chose to express that sentiment.
The school to Daxx he could wear it inside out or change it. They claimed the shirt “interrupted the learning environment.”
Okay, then, make the shirt a teachable moment. Why not use the shirt as a point of discussion? Encourage young Dalton to defend the content. A terrorist’s best friend? What makes you say that, Daxx? Evidence? ‘Cuz your dad said so?
The problem with so much of our political discourse is that it comes down to wacky claims and fear-mongering, much of it based on lies or impressions, stereotypes or the total bullshit spouted by extremist gas bags in the media. Have you ever actually listened to Rush Limbaugh? Or CNN’s Glenn Beck? Or the handful of other wildly popular, wildly rich and sadly — SADLY! — influential voices in the media. Their “arguments” are textbook definitions of all those Latin-named fallacies you learned in Logic 101. Yet they’re effective. Because instead of pointing out the difference between sound reasoning and ad hominem, instead of talking about the stupid shirt (or reconsidering patriotism day!) schools/talk shows/reporters consider statements like “Obama is a terrorist’s best friend,” a threat to the learning environment/a fact/one point of view to also be represented and considered in a fair report.
So let Daxx come to school and try to defend his shirt. He can’t. And then let his dad get pissed when Daxx comes home confused. Because Dad, too, can’t defend the statement — or his lame and questionable choice as a parent to use his son as a billboard for his own political ignorance.
And then let’s talk about the awkward, devisive and clubby “show your patriotism day” dress code at the school in the first place — a school in a city in a part of the country where surely not everybody who attends is an American. Or maybe that’s the point. In which case, maybe the principal ought to take a few days off as well.
But that’s just me … what do you think? Suspension sounds good? Too light? They should have used Cafe Press because the shirt itself looks like crap?