I got to read Obama’s speech to the nation’s students yesterday. And I have to say, I don’t understand all of the hoopla. Obama will say that school is important and that kids should stay in school. Here are excerpts:
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.
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 – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
If that’s what passes for indoctrination these days, then I’m all for it.
So what could people really be worried about? Some conservatives probably fear that Obama will get good publicity. Schoolchildren will see him in a favorable light, and just maybe grow up to be Democrats. But I doubt this. Will a kid who’s six years old decide to support universal healthcare with a public option and cap and trade because the President told him to study hard? No.
Maybe the mere act of seeing Obama will make kids support him. But if parents are worried about that, they shouldn’t have let their kids watch his inaugural address or state of the union. Besides, apolitical kids are unlikely to be swayed to volunteer for the Obama 2012 campaign now
The only answer I can find is that some conservative commentators are interested in fomenting a controversy to the detriment of President Obama. Maybe if people can be persuaded that he’s going to indoctrinate their children or convert them to Islam, they’ll be less likely to support Obama’s ambitious domestic goals. But even that wouldn’t hurt Obama. People who believe he’s trying to convert them to Islam aren’t supporting him at present any way.
At the end of the day, there’s simply no harm in having one’s children hear Obama speak. No child will be hurt in any way. And some kids will undoubtedly be inspired to work harder in school. Isn’t that a good thing?