COMMENTARY: Are some in our society losing their minds?

It appears that some in our country are losing their ability to think rationally. I've been listening to the debate about President Obama's address to school children, with some people telling newscasters that it was a partisan political conspiracy to warp the minds of our youth.

I certainly understand the desire for parents to protect their children from political propaganda, but the president is not likely to carry politics into the classroom.

I received a copy of the presidents' speech, read it, and thought: "Thank God, we have a president who understands and speaks to the issues that are of concern to children and parents."

I certainly would want my school-age grandchildren to hear the president's inspiring words. Moreover, both Republican and Democratic presidents for decades have given similar speeches to our children with very little controversy. One wonders what it is about this particular president (one of the most articulate and intelligent we've had in years) that drives and encourages radical radio and TV talk show hosts to spread misinformation?

Allegations of "socialist brain washing" and (some) parents' refusal to allow President Obama (presumably because he is a Democrat) to talk with our children about personal responsibility, hard work and staying healthy, are alarming. These are strong conservative values (all critical to school success) with which most all agree. How could any reasonable person disagree?

President Obama delivered the speech; the students listened; and the vast population of parents and school officials were pleased with the message. The Congressional Republicans who led the attack ran for cover. Their National Republican Committee Chair claimed it was a wonderful speech. Several other Congressi-onal Republican leaders joined in the praise.

Yet, it remains hard to understand why those who attacked President Obama on the "back to school speech" continue to spread misinformation and lies about health care reform legislation. (Newt Gingrich said recently that he still believes there are "death panels" embedded in the reform bills, even when confronted with facts to the contrary). One can only wonder what there is to gain.

If it is, as some have claimed, to cause President Obama's "Waterloo," imagine the depravity of the few causing such incredible pain for the many. Surely this defies reason even in an irrational political world!

All of us need to listen to the facts (not talking points). Where there are differences and disagreements, let's debate them rationally. Let's help our elected officials solve the problem of our out-of-control health care costs. The status quo is not sustainable, and if we don't make the necessary reforms we will all lose.


• Dr. Eugene T. Paslov, former Nevada superintendent of schools, is a board member for Silver State Charter High School in Carson City.

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