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Thread: Obama's Speech to School Children

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    Default Obama's Speech to School Children

    Following is the text of Obama's speech delivered today to school children. What does everyone think? It's gotten a bit of controversy for being potential "indoctrination" but to me it seems pretty nondescriptadvice you could get from any guidance counselor, if a bit on the preachy side.

    Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama Back to School Event

    Arlington, Virginia September 8, 2009

    The President: Hello everyone hows everybody doing today? Im here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And weve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. Im glad you all could join us today.

    I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, its your first day in a new school, so its understandable if youre a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade youre in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you couldve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

    I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didnt have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday at 4:30 in the morning. Now I wasnt too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, Id fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever Id complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."

    So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But Im here today because I have something important to discuss with you. Im here because I want to talk with you about your education and whats expected of all of you in this new school year.

    Now Ive given a lot of speeches about education. And Ive talked a lot about responsibility.

    Ive talked about your teachers responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.

    Ive talked about your parents responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and dont spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

    Ive talked a lot about your governments responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that arent working where students arent getting the opportunities they deserve.

    But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

    And thats what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.

    Every single one of you has something youre good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. Thats the opportunity an education can provide.

    Maybe you could be a good writer maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

    And no matter what you want to do with your life I guarantee that youll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? Youre going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You cant drop out of school and just drop into a good job. Youve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

    And this isnt 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. What youre learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future. Youll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. Youll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. Youll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

    We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you dont do that if you quit on school youre not just quitting on yourself, youre quitting on your country.

    Now I know its not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

    I get it. I know what thats like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasnt always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didnt fit in.

    So I wasnt always as focused as I should have been. I did some things Im not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

    But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didnt have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

    Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you dont have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and theres not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you dont feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know arent right.

    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 youve got going on at home thats no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. Thats no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. Thats no excuse for not trying.

    Where you are right now doesnt have to determine where youll end up. No ones written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

    Thats what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

    Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didnt speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

    Im thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, whos fought brain cancer since he was three. Hes endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer hundreds of extra hours to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and hes headed to college this fall.

    And then theres Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and shes on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

    Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell arent any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.

    Thats why today, Im calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe youll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe youll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe youll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope youll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you dont feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

    Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.

    I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, youre not going to be any of those things.

    But the truth is, being successful is hard. You wont love every subject you study. You wont click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you wont necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

    Thats OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones whove had the most failures. JK Rowlings first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

    These people succeeded because they understand that you cant let your failures define you you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesnt mean youre a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesnt mean youre stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

    No ones born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. Youre not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You dont hit every note the first time you sing a song. Youve got to practice. Its the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before its good enough to hand in.

    Dont be afraid to ask questions. Dont be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isnt a sign of weakness, its a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you dont know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

    And even when youre struggling, even when youre discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you dont ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

    The story of America isnt about people who quit when things got tough. Its about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.

    Its the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon.

    Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

    So today, I want to ask you, whats your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make?

    What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

    Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. Im working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But youve got to do your part too. So I expect 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 dont let us down dont let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

    Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America
    "How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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    he's a master of speaking. i can appreciate what he has to say from the standpoint of how masterfully he says it. his opposition will take any opportunity they can to chisel away at his power. i don't see anything wrong with the speech. there is a general feeling among some people that any suggestion of personal responsibility is a violation of our freedom. it's a ridiculous thought. better to stick to the real issues, like his policies, and not get lost in the propaganda campaigns of either side.
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    What's the reason for the controversey, apart from the fact that Obama is black and not Republican?

    Sounds like the few feel-good motivational lectures I heard in high school, and by heard I mean forgot, ignored, or skipped.
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    Where in the Constitution does it say that one of the president's responsibilities is to speak to school children? How is it not condescending to think that parents need the president to come in and teach them a lesson about responsibility? What a narcissistic piece of shit of a president.

    This is nothing but a PR move to give his free falling approval ratings a boost in order to pass health care. Anyone who falls for it is a gullible fool with no common sense or capacity for independent thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by force my hand View Post
    What's the reason for the controversey, apart from the fact that Obama is black and not Republican?
    Oh give me a break. This has nothing to do with the democrat/republican divide, and certainly nothing to do with race. The same people who contributed to Bush's low approval ratings are now turning on Obama.

    Stop with the vacuous straw man arguments.

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    Huh. You'd think all the libertards would support a message invoking personal responsibility.

    "Not his place! Blah blah blah..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by discojoe View Post
    Where in the Constitution does it say that one of the president's responsibilities is to speak to school children? How is it not condescending to think that parents need the president to come in and teach them a lesson about responsibility? What a narcissistic piece of shit of a president.

    This is nothing but a PR move to give his free falling approval ratings a boost in order to pass health care. Anyone who falls for it is a gullible fool with no common sense or capacity for independent thought.
    Bunch of wackjobs running the media these days turned this into a story. My local school actually sent home an opt-out form for parents who didn't want this president speaking to their kids. Other schools just flat out won't show this president's speech.

    Sad that these zealots are the same bunch who will tell you to love your country and stand by your Comander-in-Chief no matter what (so long as he has and "R" after his name).
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    According to Obama tells students each has something to offer - Yahoo! News, Obama is not the first president to make this gesture. I wonder how much outrage the other speech (or speeches) caused?

    I also wonder why a president speaking to students must be outlined in the US constitution?

    Obama may be a narcissist, and he may be pushing disasterous reform, but this speech is a non-issue to all but a segment of Americans who thrive on self-righteous indignation. ...and who aren't Democrats.

    Whoops, did it again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by force my hand View Post
    What's the reason for the controversey, apart from the fact that Obama is black and not Republican?
    Because the speech isn't what Obama likely originally intended to say?

    Because originally Obama intended to send out a politically suggestive lesson plan along with the speech, and it wasn't until there was public outcry that the administration backed down?

    Of course, I'm sure most kids were texting or twittering during the speech.

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    Quote Originally Posted by force my hand View Post
    According to Obama tells students each has something to offer - Yahoo! News, Obama is not the first president to make this gesture. I wonder how much outrage the other speech (or speeches) caused?

    I also wonder why a president speaking to students must be outlined in the US constitution?

    Obama may be a narcissist, and he may be pushing disasterous reform, but this speech is a non-issue to all but a segment of Americans who thrive on righteous indignation. ...and who aren't Democrats.

    Whoops, did it again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by force my hand View Post
    According to Obama tells students each has something to offer - Yahoo! News, Obama is not the first president to make this gesture. I wonder how much outrage the other speech (or speeches) caused?
    When George H. W. Bush gave a speech when he was president, the Democrats launched Congressional investigation into his administration.

    In comparison, Obama's taking flak from the parents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drommel View Post
    Because the speech isn't what Obama likely originally intended to say?

    Because originally Obama intended to send out a politically suggestive lesson plan along with the speech, and it wasn't until there was public outcry that the administration backed down?
    Ah, see, this is a legitimate concern, insofar as we are concerned about campaigning to a segment of the population that can't actually vote.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drommel View Post
    Because the speech isn't what Obama likely originally intended to say?

    Because originally Obama intended to send out a politically suggestive lesson plan along with the speech, and it wasn't until there was public outcry that the administration backed down?

    Of course, I'm sure most kids were texting or twittering during the speech.
    I saw the original lesson plan right after I first head of the "controversy." It was as innocuous as butter on white bread. It asked children how they might help their president, senators, mayors, and community. What was it about the original lesson plan that disturbed you?
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    Quote Originally Posted by force my hand View Post
    Ah, see, this is a legitimate concern, insofar as we are concerned about campaigning to a segment of the population that can't actually vote.
    You don't see the problem with a political party trying to indoctrinate the next generation? Really?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drommel View Post
    When George H. W. Bush gave a speech when he was president, the Democrats launched Congressional investigation into his administration.
    Unlike discojoe, you may be actually bringing something to the table.

    Do you know of any links off-hand to this? I wonder if the speech you mention was indeed to students, and what the content was. Secondly, I wonder if the congressional investigation was based on the content of that speech alone, or some other factor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drommel View Post
    When George H. W. Bush gave a speech when he was president, the Democrats launched Congressional investigation into his administration.

    In comparison, Obama's taking flak from the parents.
    What!!! Over talking to kids? Show us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by force my hand View Post
    Huh. You'd think all the libertards would support a message invoking personal responsibility.

    "Not his place! Blah blah blah..."

    YOU TOTALLY MISS THE POINT.

    The point isn't the speech, it's the subtext.

    The idea that the president is needed in teaching our children about personal responsibility is incredibly insulting to parents. If parents wanted the president to teach their children anything, they would already have their kids reading about him and watching his speeches.

    The only reason for this speech is to get gullible parents saying "Hmm yeah, maybe the president isn't a blatant radical leftist bent on cramming socialistic, economically stifling legislation down our throats before we've had a chance to read it after all."

    Think: Why did the president try to rush health care legislation through congress before August if the law wouldn't even come into effect until 2013? If health care is so urgent, why wait until 2013 to enact the reform? If it doesn't come into effect until 2013, why do we need to pass it so soon? Why not in 2010, or 2012?

    Because he knows that if we're given time to examine the bill, we won't like what we see, and that's why it doesn't go into effect until 2013, a year after the next presidential election. He wants to give himself time to get reelected before Obamacare goes into effect. So apparently, Obama getting reelected is more important that this "vital, life and death" issue. He wants to enjoy the benefits of having passed it in order to get reelected, not having to worry about the inevitable collapse of his popularity once it actually goes into effect and people see the reality of socialism in health care.

    He knows we won't like it.

    He doesn't want us to see what's in it.

    He wants to rush it through before we've had time to examine it.

    He doesn't want it to go into effect before he's had time to benefit from passing it, even though he insists it's an urgent life-and-death bill that we must pass as soon as possible.


    This speech is nothing more than a move to boost his popularity in order to get the bill passed. It has nothing to do with the president teaching kids anything, however inappropriate that may be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by force my hand View Post
    I also wonder why a president speaking to students must be outlined in the US constitution?
    Anything the president does in his capacity as president must be outlined in the Constitution, and I applied this same standard to Bush.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drommel View Post
    You don't see the problem with a political party trying to indoctrinate the next generation? Really?
    Given that a) the vast majority of children - the small amount who actually care about politics enough to have an opinion - support the political views of their parents, and b) the bulk of any political communication to the public is 'indoctrination', and that c) the actual speech given contains none of that, I think the controversey is overblown.
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    Quote Originally Posted by discojoe View Post
    Anything the president does in his capacity as president must be outlined in the Constitution, and I applied this same standard to Bush.
    Okay, fair enough.
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    Looks like a good speech. Some crazy paranoid people attend this forum, it seems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by force my hand View Post
    Unlike discojoe, you may be actually bringing something to the table.

    Do you know of any links off-hand to this? I wonder if the speech you mention was indeed to students, and what the content was. Secondly, I wonder if the congressional investigation was based on the content of that speech alone, or some other factor.

    The controversy over President Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren will likely be over shortly after Obama speaks today at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. But when President George H.W. Bush delivered a similar speech on October 1, 1991, from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC, the controversy was just beginning. Democrats, then the majority party in Congress, not only denounced Bush's speech -- they also ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate its production and later summoned top Bush administration officials to Capitol Hill for an extensive hearing on the issue.
    Source.

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    Quote Originally Posted by force my hand View Post
    Given that a) the vast majority of children - the small amount who actually care about politics enough to have an opinion - support the political views of their parents, and b) the bulk of any political communication to the public is 'indoctrination', and that c) the actual speech given contains none of that, I think the controversey is overblown.
    Again, the controversy stems from his original plan which he backed off of. You're assuming it would've been the same speech without the controversy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by discojoe View Post
    YOU TOTALLY MISS THE POINT.
    Convince an ISTp by using excessive emotion, indeed.

    The point isn't the speech, it's the subtext.

    ...

    This speech is nothing more than a move to boost his popularity in order to get the bill passed. It has nothing to do with the president teaching kids anything, however inappropriate that may be.
    You know what, discojoe? I can accept that. Obama definitely has to be a politician to get his agenda passed. And to that, I guess my final position is nothing more than a cynical smirk because that's what Americans put up with from Republicans for years.

    ...the wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drommel View Post
    Very interesting. I stand corrected!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drommel View Post
    Nothing on the GAO database. Can you give us any documentation? A hearing number or GAO Case number?
    Last edited by Cyrano; 09-08-2009 at 07:55 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drommel View Post
    Again, the controversy stems from his original plan which he backed off of. You're assuming it would've been the same speech without the controversy.
    This response addresses point c, but you ignored the first two.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Looks like a good speech. Some crazy paranoid people attend this forum, it seems.
    Silly naive Europeans.

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    I don't like this speech because it's simply annoying to me, partly because it sounds haughty... Sure, it has some nice and inspiring things, but I wouldn't expect a president to give this sort of speech to children because I don't see it as his job to do so. Philosophically speaking, it's hard for me to digest that being the President of the the USA, Commander in Chief, gives you time to go on talk shows and give speeches like this. There's something "off" about this to me... It just seems like trying too hard to develop a good image.

    Also, it really rubs me the wrong way when I hear things like: "you're not just quitting your education, you're quitting on your country too," etc. This sort of non-sequitur is a manipulation tactic for children, appealing to their naivety and desire to be good kids.

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    ....
    Last edited by UDP; 09-08-2009 at 09:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sereno View Post
    I don't like this speech because it's simply annoying to me, partly because it sounds haughty... Sure, it has some nice and inspiring things, but I wouldn't expect a president to give this sort of speech to children because I don't see it as his job to do so. Philosophically speaking, it's hard for me to digest that being the President of the the USA, Commander in Chief, gives you time to go on talk shows and give speeches like this. There's something "off" about this to me... It just seems like trying too hard to develop a good image.

    Also, it really rubs me the wrong way when I hear things like: "you're not just quitting your education, you're quitting on your country too," etc. This sort of non-sequitur is a manipulation tactic for children, appealing to their naivety and desire to be good kids.
    Sereno, i think it's part of the president's job to inspire our people, be it the Gettyburg Address, a fireside chat, reading My Pet Goat to school kids, or even trying to motivate kids. I'll be interested to hear my 8 year old's take this evening. She probably found it to be not quite as good as recess.
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    I, personally, don't particularly care about the speech. So long as I and my children (if I had any) can choose whether or not to listen I'm relatively fine with it. After all, even if he had gone with whatever it was he wanted to originally say, it's not like the public schools don't try to teach all sorts of problematic ideas and "facts" anyway.

    Sure, tear apart the speech and criticize it. I think there are worse things to worry about and get concerned about, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by force my hand View Post
    Obama may be a narcissist, and he may be pushing disasterous reform, but this speech is a non-issue to all but a segment of Americans who thrive on self-righteous indignation. ...and who aren't Democrats.
    I'm not a Democrat...


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    I remember watching a Reagan speech on tv in school when I was a kid. Was that not the same kind of thing? I don't think he's the first president to do this, anyway. People are looking for something to be outraged about at this point.

    Edited to add that my daughter's class didn't watch it. Don't know why - didn't hear anything about it except a facebook friend whining about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyrano View Post
    Sereno, i think it's part of the president's job to inspire our people, be it the Gettyburg Address, a fireside chat, reading My Pet Goat to school kids, or even trying to motivate kids. I'll be interested to hear my 8 year old's take this evening. She probably found it to be not quite as good as recess.

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    The only problem I can really find with it is the idea that "we" have to do <something> because "we love our country so much". If "we" drop out of school then "we let our country down". I think the idea of true freedom is that if you want to waste your life away, you may... just as you're free to feel however you do or want to about your country. You're free to do that just as you're free to do anything else, including deciding you don't care about education and that your way is better for you. Of course, if you waste your life away then the person you're "letting down" the most is probably yourself. But everyone has their struggles... even those "wasting their lives away"... and really the only one who can determine if it's a waste is oneself.

    However, this kind of "togetherness" feeling isn't really isolated to Obama, and comes out frequently in politics it seems. Since nowhere directly does he seem to really be undermining anyone's autonomy I can't really be concerned, only slightly uneasy (and it might be similar if it were JFK or Carter even). Basically, he's just trying to motivate people to do their best in school... and I don't disagree with that. And I've also heard similar things when I was going through school. It bothers me I guess in the same way that everyone being required to say the Pledge each morning bothered me. A feeling of if someone really had their way they would force everyone into a collective where we are "required" to feel certain ways about certain things or at least lie that we do... but they can't have their way... and it probably wouldn't even go that far if they did. So it doesn't matter. As long as I have the freedom to avoid it, then I can return to not really caring (within the limits of reason).

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    when he was like, 'hey you should really pursue an education in your lifetime, kiddos,' i was like WTF? socialist propaganda.
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    One of the points of the American government having checks and balances was so that people who don't give a shit about politics can go about their lives doing what they want, without having to worry about their rights being infringed by the government. It was Lincoln who undermined these rights by denying the states' rights to secede from the union. If the sole interpreter of the constitutional contract is the federal government, then there no longer exist checks and balances (the so-called checks in the federal government itself aren't real). This is why we have presidents who are indifferent to the Constitution.

    Also, this beta political habit of trying to jolt people into action is both improper and largely ineffective in America, thanks to our (sometimes dormant) paranoia of taxation and government expansion.

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    Never mind!
    Last edited by Kim; 09-08-2009 at 11:55 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyrano View Post
    Sereno, i think it's part of the president's job to inspire our people, be it the Gettyburg Address, a fireside chat, reading My Pet Goat to school kids, or even trying to motivate kids. I'll be interested to hear my 8 year old's take this evening. She probably found it to be not quite as good as recess.
    I also believe that the President should inspire the people, but in things that are relevant to his/her position. Personally, it makes me cringe when politicians appeal to children and hold babies to demonstrate their "soft" side, or things of that matter :/. But then again, you still have to appeal to Joe & Joelina Schmoe who are watching tv and are deciding on who to vote for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slacker Mom View Post
    I remember watching a Reagan speech on tv in school when I was a kid. Was that not the same kind of thing? I don't think he's the first president to do this, anyway. People are looking for something to be outraged about at this point.

    Edited to add that my daughter's class didn't watch it. Don't know why - didn't hear anything about it except a facebook friend whining about it.
    To me this is not an issue about Republican vs Democrat, though I bet the majority of people who are angry about it are probably Republican . He should have known better than to make such an address to children, in a way that encroaches on "parent" territory. The fact is that this type of thing raises red flags to people who come from a socialist country, or simply have an understanding of its evolution, where the image of the government leader is that of a parent. Of course, other presidents might have done the same thing before, but considering how people rumor about Obama's ideologies, it surprises me that he would take this risk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    The only problem I can really find with it is the idea that "we" have to do <something> because "we love our country so much". If "we" drop out of school then "we let our country down". I think the idea of true freedom is that if you want to waste your life away, you may... just as you're free to feel however you do or want to about your country. You're free to do that just as you're free to do anything else, including deciding you don't care about education and that your way is better for you. Of course, if you waste your life away then the person you're "letting down" the most is probably yourself. But everyone has their struggles... even those "wasting their lives away"... and really the only one who can determine if it's a waste is oneself.

    However, this kind of "togetherness" feeling isn't really isolated to Obama, and comes out frequently in politics it seems. Since nowhere directly does he seem to really be undermining anyone's autonomy I can't really be concerned, only slightly uneasy (and it might be similar if it were JFK or Carter even). Basically, he's just trying to motivate people to do their best in school... and I don't disagree with that. And I've also heard similar things when I was going through school. It bothers me I guess in the same way that everyone being required to say the Pledge each morning bothered me. A feeling of if someone really had their way they would force everyone into a collective where we are "required" to feel certain ways about certain things or at least lie that we do... but they can't have their way... and it probably wouldn't even go that far if they did. So it doesn't matter. As long as I have the freedom to avoid it, then I can return to not really caring (within the limits of reason).
    I agree.

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