There is a great old Southern word: Hootenanny. Ignore the official dictionary definitions. What it really means is a big fuss (good or bad). It can refer to a party or a riot.
Aren't you glad I gave your vocabulary a boost? This is your official Word For The Day. You use it like this:
Conservative talk show hosts are having a fit over Obama's upcoming speech to school kids. As a result, they're getting so many parents riled up that it's becoming chaos for those poor souls who answer the phones at our schools. Yup: It's a big hootenanny.
What is happening to our country? First we're dumb enough to elect Obama (a man with little experience and communistic leanings). Now we're overreacting like brain-dead rednecks.
I suppose both phenomenons can be attributed to the same source: A lack of education and the dumbing down of America.
The President's speech is no big deal. Certainly the controversy may have helped to force him to tone down his speech: We will never know what he originally intended to say. We only know that now he is focusing on something relatively inane.
But anyone with intelligence knows that the President's speech could not be full of communistic advice and fascist urgings. It would be a political death sentence and Obama's no fool.
I understand why some people got a little queasy when they heard that teachers would be following up with questions after the speech. These questions (suggested by the White House) could definitely be construed as an attempt to indoctrinate kids and perhaps pave the way to "The Cult of Personality" that so many people are citing.
On the other hand, I have raised my children* to be objective and thoughtful, so I wouldn't have worried.
The hippies had it right: Question Authority. A good teacher would also enforce this. But this message, if it comes from the home, should be enough.
With the dumbing down of America, we are leaving way too much power and authority in the hands of the government and there is too little personal responsibility. Until we start raising our standards in our homes, nothing will change.
* I have one of my own, and another that I have taken under my wing since she was five.