President Clinton’s (relatively) favorable comments about home schooling has unleashed some interesting lunchtime debates here at HSLDA. “Do we print his statements? Does this give the impression that we generally support him? Won’t this lead people astray? Was ‘Socks the Cat’ home schooled?"
When the President of the United States makes a statement about his views of the legality of home education on national television, I believe that we have the obligation to report the story. I think I would feel the same even if someone other than my own daughter asked him the question.
Clinton’s answers showed a relatively favorable position toward home schooling. It showed that he has a considerable understanding of the home-schooling movement. That is good news.
His full record on the issue in Arkansas is more telling. As we relate, he actually signed two home school laws in Arkansas. The first was very favorable to home schooling. The second, passed at the insistence of the Arkansas branch of the NEA, was less favorable. It contains the most stringent provision in the country concerning home education for special needs children.
This episode gives me a chance to explain our philosophy in dealing with the political world on behalf of Home School Legal Defense Association.
We cannot and do not support any candidates for public office. We hold to this same rule after the election as well as before the election. And this would be our policy even if it were not required by the IRS.
We are motivated by principle. We believe in parental rights to direct the education of their children. We believe in religious freedom. (And so on.) When a public official takes action which supports our principles, we support that action. When an official takes action which attacks our principles, we oppose that action.
There is a big difference between supporting or opposing an action and supporting or opposing an official. And I think this is a lesson that people who support “traditional family values” need to learn.
Far too often we give our wholesale political support to an office holder who simply mouths support for issues of concern to us. Do you think for a minute that homosexual activists would continue to support President Clinton if he simply talked about his support for “gay rights” during the election? No way. Their continued support is predicated upon his actions to push their political agenda into public policy.
While President Bush did many things that were good and positive, he also allowed the National Endowment for the Arts to spend huge sums of our tax money to finance filth. He got away with these actions to placate the left because the price he had to pay for ignoring the family values people was minimal.
When we give someone our unconditional support, we lose all ability to be objective. The reverse is also true. If we give someone our unconditional opposition, we have lost our ability to be objective. The only time someone deserves our support each and every day is when that office holder does the right thing each and every day.
When we give away our unconditional support, we not only give away our objectivity, we also give away any political clout we might possess.
President Clinton’s campaign staff had a sign in their office to encourage their candidate to keep a singular focus. The sign read: It’s the economy, stupid.
We need to remember our need to be focused as well. We need to stand for our principles day in and day out. Our slogan should be: It’s the principles, stupid. (Although for the long-run we should eliminate the word “stupid.”)
If we don’t stand up for our principles, we will be run over by our “friends” and our “enemies” alike.