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Blog

    Obama's speech to students

    09/08/2009

    After receiving much unflattering attention, President Barack Obama will broadcast a message to America’s primary school students today.  And while the White House is calling opposition to Obama’s message “silly” (along with Obama proxies like the NY Times’ Thomas Friedman who called the outcry “just stupid"), the tempest is understandable.

    First, the Administration has had to modify a “lesson plan” that was to go along with the broadcast which included asking students to “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president."  For older students, the Department of Education’s lesson plan asked teachers to use excerpts from Dear Leader’s speech to ask question such as “Why does President Obama want to speak with us today? How will he inspire us? How will he challenge us?”

    Now it may be that the content of Barack Obama’s speech (see full transcript HERE)  is objectively non-political…though we’ll never know what was in the speech before the public blowback against it.  But the Obama Administration doesn’t do anything without political motivation and the original lesson plan gave a clear glimpse into the open sewer of their minds.  Truly, what horrendous dictator of the 20th century did not try to create a cult of personality within the nation’s young people.  Stalin and Mao both created youth groups. We’ve all heard of the “Hitler Youth."  Pol Pot operated similarly and Kim Jong Il does now. Obama’s tactics smell far too close to that same rancid broth.

    The Obama Adminstration knows that much of its support at the ballot box and in grassroots efforts came from young people who fell into Obama’s cult of personality.  Totalitarians of all stripes put great emphasis on brainwashing the young, and Obama is no exception.

    And that’s why there has been so much outcry against Obama’s addressing the students.  It’s not that we know what the content of his speech will be.  But it’s that they’ve already tipped their hand as to their intent.

    It should also be noted that House Democrats excoriated President George H.W. Bush for wasting Dept. of Education money on a speech to students in 1991.

    Some of the content of the speech is interesting, but most isn’t.  Kids will be falling asleep after the first 5 minutes.  A couple things of note: Although leftists will claim that I’m just a racist or xenophobe, I find it interesting that the three people he mentions by name are Jazmin, Aldoni, and Shantelle.  When you have a president who surrounds himself with people like Van Jones and Jeremiah Wright, it’s not too far afield to suspect he seems himself President of Minority Groups but not truly President of the United States.

    I’d also point out that Obama says “Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need…” and “I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn."  It’s a remarkable difference from President Bush’s speech where he said “Right now in classrooms across this country, in the communities you call home, when things get tough, when answers are hard to come by, there’s a teacher, a parent, a friend or family member ready to help you."  The difference in approach is clear.  Obama believe it takes government to raise your child and that you just can’t handle it without His help.

    One other point needs to be made:  Several Obama supporters are making the argument that if “just one kid” stays in school or improves his grades then the exercise “will have been worth it."   That’s simply untrue.

    How much is it worth to have one student raise his grades or not drop out? Sure, that’s a good thing, but is it worth the combined cost in money, time, and learning of having literally millions of other students lose an hour or two of study, of having teachers take time that would have gone into their normal course of class planning in order to deal with Dear Leader’s address?

    And what of the political biases of the teachers?  Is it OK that the many left-leaning teachers who support President Obama may over-emphasize the speech while other teachers who do not support the president will feel pressured to show a video they strongly disagree with? Is it OK that parents who do not support Obama may have their children forced to watch what the parents believe to be propaganda?

    Different school districts are reacting in different ways.  On Sunday’s “Meet the Press", David Gregory read a statement from the New Canaan (CT) school district which is not showing Obama’s speech during its broadcast and is reserving the right never to show it:

    “In developing their plans our principals have considered issues such as developmental appropriateness, curricular relevance, the time at which the speech is being broadcast and the importance of teachers assuming responsibility for the selection of instructional materials.  In elementary schools the administration and faculty will view the speech, download it and after discussing it, make decisions regarding how it might be used in the future–including deciding its appropriateness for various grade levels. Parents will be notified, if and when, the decision to show the speech is made.”

    In Florida, Tampa area schools will allow children to opt-out of watching the speech, but the highly Democratic Broward County area schools will not:

    “…(P)roviding for a separation from this Address does not align with our practices and responsibility to provide a well rounded, quality education for all students. This is the first time an American President has spoken directly to students on the importance of education and the challenge to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for one’s learning.”

    Anybody wonder where the Broward County superindentent gets his talking points?

    I’m not sure whether I would take my child out of the room during Obama’s speech. It might be a better lesson to let a student watch the speech, praise the parts of the speech that really are about making the best of one’s opportunities in life, and criticize anything inappropriately political.

    At the end of the day, however, Obama is following the standard liberal belief that “it takes a village” or at least “it takes a Progressive” to raise your child better than you can.  Obama’s speech will likely be saying things that good parents should already be saying.  And while some may argue that the kids will take the President more seriously than their own parents, that raises a few questions:  First, is that true? Second, does it matter? And third, even if the answer to both of the first two questions is “yes", is it appropriate?

    There is a reason that widely broadcast presidential speeches to students are so rare. (I think the last one was George H.W. Bush in 1991, but without any “lesson plan” to accompany the message, but I’m not certain there wasn’t one since then.)  It’s because our presidents usually know that children are to be raised by their parents.   But Obama isn’t our usual president.  He has an ego that knows no bounds. He’s certain, like all dyed-in-the-wool progressives, that their far-left schemes will work this time, despite multiple past failures, if only the right people are put in charge.  And he believes that our children are just another community to be organized.

    Yes, the content of Obama’s speech was likely rejiggerd in response to the furor over his giving it (particularly because of the “lesson plan") so that the speech is mostly apolitical.  But you can forgive the many parents who are extremely skeptical over the Administration’s true motivation.