Today was a frustrating day.

(Disclaimer: This blog has ceased to become much more than a place for me to occasionally write a post about something that strikes me as worth pondering. No longer do I post to solicit admiration, provide entertainment, or collect comments. If you happen to be one of the few who still checks my blog, feel free to commiserate... Just fair warning that my "audience" when I am writing has slowly changed in the last year or so...)

When I opened my work email box, the first thing that I saw was a short email from an administrator regarding President Obama's upcoming speech. Next week, President Obama is planning on making a short 2-minute speech to the nation's students on the topic of staying motivated and excelling in school. A nice gesture, right?

Apparently not. The political opposition to Obama is so fierce, that our schools are receiving requests from parents to excuse their children from the two-minute cheerleading session from our nation's leader.

Do they think that he is going to address the controversial topic of healthcare to the young minds of America? Are they worried that his charm might brainwash their children into believing that he is actually somebody that students could see as a role model? Maybe he's going to, in one hundred and twenty seconds, turn them in mini-Socialists!!! (*Gasp*)

I'm sorry, but I don't understand. While there has never been any question which side of the aisle that my political ideals gravitate towards, I feel like I have an open mind. If President Bush had wanted to make a short speech to the nation's students, I would have welcomed the opportunity for my son to be exposed to the political leader of the free world. I would have encouraged him to think critically about what was said and to form his own opinions about it, whether they differed from mine or not.

When something as trivial as this becomes a politically charged issue, it makes me feel sad about the state of our nation. I cherish the right to freedom of speech and I am glad that parents have the right to choose what their children are exposed to and what they are not. What saddens me is that people are so entrenched in their political ideals that they can't see the value in anything that has to do with the "opponent" and will dig their heels in if that is what the idealogues tell them that they should do.

I wonder how this country has managed to become so divided. I worry that we will never be able to make progress in any way if both sides refuse to work together to set some common goals. And I wish that we could find some common ground. However, if when one side reaches out a hand and the other simply slaps it away, how is progress to be made?