President Obama’s message to school kids—set your goals, work hard, and don’t give up—hardly seem controversial. They are the bedrock of this country, and Obama made that point in his speech to school kids today.
You cannot drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to train for it, and work for it, and learn for it. And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life: what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home, none of that is an excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude in school.
You’ve got to do your part, too. So I expect all of you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down. Don’t let your family down, or your country down. Most of all, don’t let yourself down. Make us all proud. Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you, God bless America.
So, why the controversy? The biggest culprit has to be the US Department of Education’s so-called lesson plans. Anyone associated with education these days knows that’s the way schools operate these days. Problem is, the lesson plans focused on helping Obama achieve his goals rather than the President’s message of achieving the student’s goals. Score 1 for the Obama = Socialist crowd.
Next up: folks like Florida Republican chair Jim Greer called the speech a bid to indoctrinate children in Obama’s “socialist ideology”. After reading the speech, Greer changed his stance to Obama should never have given a speech to school children in the first place. Never mind that Pres. George H. W. Bush spoke to school kids, as did Pres. Reagan, whose message was certainly politicized.
Perhaps part of the problem is Obama’s speech to school children falls on the Tuesday after Labor Day, the first day of school for a majority of America’s kids. The timing problem here is Obama plans a speech to a joint session of Congress, an unsual event, for Wednesday, Sept. 9th, on the healthcare debate. The coincidence of timing may hardly be surprising, but the perception by the Obama = Socialism crowd shouldn’t be.
I suspect I’ve tipped my hand. It seems a majority of anti-Obamists claim he’s trying to turn the country into a Socialist state à la the old Soviet Union, or Cuba, or maybe even Venezuela. There’s certainly cause for some concern, what with the speed with which he wants to fix healthcare, the $700 billion Stimulus bill, and the $700 billion for Wall Street, with little to nothing for Main Street. Let’s not lose sight of the fact, however, Republicans generally oppose Federal involvement in education.
There seems to be a growing anti-Obama is racist crowd, though. Call me naive, but I don’t think this is rocket science. Conservatives tend to be white, relatively affluent, and generally opposed to concepts that threaten—or are perceived to threaten—their way of life. The less well off tend to be more liberal and socialist, regardless of ethnicity.
Some would call this the fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats. I just don’t see that big a difference between the major parties anymore. Maybe ethnicity (race, religion, or whatever) tends to be the deciding factor, except for those that go straight ticket no mater what. Nonetheless, socialism is the rallying cry of the anti-Obamists and it is no less strong today than it was during the McCarthy era. It’s just politics as usual. In my mind, that doesn’t now make it racist as well.
In any case, the controversy over Pres. Obama’s speech to school kids was much ado about nothing. Listen to the speech; see for yourself. Seems to me he talked about personal responsibility and being part of the larger community—patriotism. Sounds like mom, apple pie, and the American way to me.