Staff Editorial: A new, stupefying low for American politics

There is a litmus test that proves when a country's political culture has become idiotic. It happens when the leader of the country, say, the president of the United States, announces that he plans to address the children of the nation, followed by a hellstorm of partisan panic.

The United States passed that test this week, officially garnering the cherished title of Stupidly Divided Country.

President Barack Obama was all set to talk to the kiddies and, in a move that really shouldn't surprise anyone, hardline Republican parents made such a ruckus over the prospect of their children being addressed by a Democrat that several schools decided to institute a permission slip policy in order for students to watch the speech.

It must be noted at this point that the contents of Obama's speech had nothing to do with politics and were instead along such controversial themes as "hard work," "aspiration" and "trying your best." Obviously, the children would be brainwashed.

The sad fact of the matter is that this is simply the lowest ebb of a long and pointless wave of fear and distrust between the two parties this country has to offer. It's sad that the president - the man the majority of people in this Republic elected to office - cannot be held as a role model by certain children because their parents are too bitter to put aside their own political notions to accept the fact that perhaps the president has the best interests of the country's children in mind.

Partisan politics and the frightening level of hostility they engender have cheapened the entire political process and made a mockery of once-great institutions in the United States. Europe may have riots and presidents who marry sleazy supermodels, but at least their heads of state are welcome to address the people without permission slips.

In fact, it's entirely possible that this is the pettiest example of political shenanigans anywhere in history. Considering history, that should be pretty frightening.