In Rexburg, a small eastern Idaho university town, Tuesday’s bus ride home from an elementary school had kids chanting, “Assassinate Obama, assassinate Obama.”
Then they added in the name of a classmate, chanting “Assassinate Obama and Kate.”
A couple named Whoolery found out about it when their second and third graders got off the bus and reported the chanting. The Whoolerys weren’t Obama voters, but they were astonished and contacted the school.
According to a Twin Falls TV station, the Whoolerys “just don’t like people joking about a serious matter concerning any leader of the country.”
The school superintendent sent an email to teachers, principals and bus drivers about the incident and saying the students should be told that behavior is unacceptable.
I called the Madison County school district and spoke to Janet Goodliffe, whose title is “spokesperson.” She was very nice, but didn’t answer my real question, which is, “What is being done to find out if the parents of these kids have created a home atmosphere where that kind of language or thinking is okay?”
I had asked if there was to be any further action since the email, and she said, “I don’t know what you mean. It’s not even like that. It was the day after the election, and the kids were just chanting, really little kids, like six, seven and eight.”
I don’t know about you, but when my kids were six, seven and eight they might have chanted, “Justin is a big doodyhead” on the bus, but not hateful, violent, illegal stuff. They were brought up to respect the presidency no matter who held the office. And yes, at six both my kids knew who the president was, were aware of elections, and could have told you who the governor was, too.
I’m not saying all six-year-olds would have known what they were saying. But most would, and some kind of swift and serious action should be taken to figure out where they got the swill they were regurgitating. The kids and parents should be questioned by law enforcement, if only to emphasize how serious the incident was.
This week in northern Idaho, Ken Germana put up a sign advertising a “free public hanging” of President-elect Barack Obama and several other politicians.
Germana is under investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, as he should be.
“That’s a political statement,” Germana told the Bonner County Daily Bee. “They can call it whatever they want, a threat or whatever.”
A rope noose – a symbol used by the Ku Klux Klan and other racists, hangs down the middle of the sign.
Germana said he wouldn’t lose sleep if the president-elect came in harm’s way.
Considering there are photos of the sign, and Germana has not repudiated his statement in any way, I hope authorities throw the book at him. Kids are one thing, but this is a grown man.
I’m at a loss about how to stop this stuff, but that doesn’t stop me from using my fury to try to think of something constructive. It’s an enormous concept with thousands of years of history to try to fight hate and violence, but we have to start somewhere.