The transcript for President Obama’s address to the nation’s school children has been released as promised. It is a fine speech and one worthy of the office Mr. Obama holds. Although I oppose virtually everything that this president has tried to achieve thus far in his tenure, I hope that he is successful at inspiring the children who hear him speak to embrace the challenges and reap the rewards of education.
I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve 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 don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
For some of the students in the audience tomorrow may be the first time they’ve heard anything like these words directed at them. Many others are given a once-a-year rah-rah speech when school starts and are left to flounder when their parents turn the television back on. Both are ways in which we fail our children, among many others. So I congratulate President Obama for taking on this issue and for giving the kids the kind of apolitical message that is appropriate for them.
So have no fear. Send your children to school tomorrow and let them listen to President Obama’s speech. And if they happen to come home with a greater love for learning than when they left in the morning, thank the president for taking the time to plant a seed in their hearts.
Now, there are those who say the reaction from conservatives and libertarians to the White House’s plans to ask the children to spend class time thinking of ways “to help the president” was over the top.
Perhaps. But in the absence of the public outcry against this rather blatant attempt to politicize Mr. Obama’s address, how would the content of tomorrow’s presentation be different? Thankfully we do not have to find out.
Similarly, genuine public outrage at Mr. Obama’s appointment of Van Jones to the position of “green jobs czar” led to Jones’ subsequent resignation over his anti-American “truther” remarks, among others. Opposition to Mr. Obama’s appointment and the revelation of his past statements and beliefs contributed directly to a cleansing of the president’s cabinet and a better, more representative government.
Arianna Huffington’s comments to the contrary, the country is much better off without Mr. Jones serving it in any official capacity and we have an active and vocal opposition to thank for it.