Text of President Obama’s Planned Speech to Schoolkids

7 09 2009

Just released here.

I like the commentary at Time Magazine’s political blog Swampland:

Rather than any lefty, neo-socialist, communitarian brainwashing, President Obama’s speech to your kids reads like a paean to individual striving and free market capitalism, the sort of thing that Ayn Rand and Barry Goldwater might have signed onto. At root, Obama’s message is one of individual responsibility, a disquisition on the freedom of each American youth to fail or succeed on their own tenacity and merits. . .

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23 responses

7 09 2009
Kristina

Well… I don’t think it is a “paean to individual striving and free market capitalism”. Nor, however is it “lefty, neo-socialist”. I do think, though, that his frequent reference to the fact that “if you give up on yourself, you give up on the country” is kind of, well, communitarian. 😉

But, like I said, it’s a pretty innocuous speech that really doesn’t have anything in it to get people in a hooplah. Too bad people will ignore that fact.

7 09 2009
JJ

Right. I think the president probably IS communitarian in his own beliefs about what’s right and wrong.

Did you hear this yesterday btw? I don’t have a link, saw it live (he was hot, too, shouted it and repeated it a couple of times for extra emphasis, which I thought was funny because the title of his last big global economics book had “flat” in in it and the new one has both “flat” and “hot” in it):

“It’s flat-out STUPID!” — Tom Friedman on Meet the Press, about objections to the president’s speech to schoolkids

7 09 2009
JJ

Kristina, I keep thinking that the problem with all our problems is that most folks aren’t really thinking. What do you think? (because I know you do!)

7 09 2009
Kristina

Oh YES! I definitely think that is a LOT of the problem. I don’t mind people having a differing viewpoint. If I did, I wouldn’t visit you, would I? 😉 But, it DRIVES ME NUTS when people just don’t care. I have friends who have no clue what is going on in their world. It amazes me.

I think this is the reason so many people are blindsided by things when they happen. I remember when the ‘cap and trade’ bill passed. There were people protesting it while we were on a binge drinking serious adult outing with some friends. They had no idea what the people were talking about. Now, I don’t like the cap and trade bill. But, I would have rather they have been for it than know nothing about it.

7 09 2009
Kristina

By the way, take a look at this.

It’s about textbooks. They talk about all kinds of things in the videos. Some of the stuff is absolutely ridiculous. One of the ones I ‘loved’ was when a mom said that Muslim children were getting special treatment during Ramadan by being able to leave the cafeteria and go in a different room since they were fasting. Did she really want to torture them by leaving them in the cafeteria, just because the other children weren’t fasting? Gee, that’s really discrimination right there, allow children who are eating to stay in the cafeteria and allow children who are fasting to leave the cafeteria.

Some of the stuff is good and I can see where they’re coming from. They said some of the same stuff I was thinking earlier, that no matter what your political standpoint, there’s stuff going on in schools that you won’t like.

And, yes, I think we should encourage parents to teach their own children, as well as change the schools to teach children how to learn and think, not what to know and think. But, how can we do that when so many people see schools as a place to indoctrinate children instead of a place to help them become the best thinker they can be? Oy!

7 09 2009
JJ

Places don’t indoctrinate people, PEOPLE indoctrinate people! 😉

7 09 2009
JJ

I think as long as schools (church schools too, not just public schools) are compulsory and authoritarian, they won’t be very good at education, or even at indoctrination. Even much harsher places than modern schools are only able to break the human spirit, not win it.

8 09 2009
JJ

Since Texas is the current center of the insurrection over the resurrection — shall we get t-shirts? — here’s what a Texas journalist has to say about demanding states’ rights to put politics and religion in public schools and textbooks:

The Lies of Texas Are Upon Us

Actually, it is more like intellectual pus, a kind of deadly ooze that keeps infecting our national discourse. We tell people not to mess with Texas but that’s because we reserve the right to mess it up ourselves, which we are doing quite effectively.

This latest hypocrisy, though, is almost beyond imagining, but is a logical next de-evolutionary step for progressive thinking under the Lone Star.

During the campaigns and administrations of both Presidents Bush and Ronald Reagan, speeches and public appearances were almost mandatory for students and the religion of those leaders was forced on the crowds gathered in the taxpayer built gymnasiums.

I cannot count the times that I attended political rallies as a journalist during school hours where students were told to leave class and come provide a crowd for the Republican candidates. Invariably, at many of these, I was standing next to my friend, a Pulitzer-winning journalist who is Jewish, as a Christian prayer was offered and the name of Jesus was invoked. Nobody saw the contradictions and hypocrisies.

In Texas, we see this as a positive attribute, taking kids out of classes for candidate rallies and force feeding them the candidate’s religion. Hell, we’re doing even better than that in our school system. A number of boards of education have voted to begin teaching the bible in public schools. A statement from a school board in Central Texas indicated that the class will be optional and will teach the bible as “an historical document.” Oddly enough, we aren’t teaching about the Koran’s historical impact and power and that might be a handy piece of knowledge in the future for our children. I think the constitution is as clear on this matter as it is on the right to keep and bear arms. Church and state are to be separated. No damned religion of any kind or any of its texts should be taught in public schools.

But this is Texas and the long, proud march backwards presses on; except we may soon begin dragging the nation with us into the 18th century. Because so many textbooks are published for our vast public school system, the curriculum standards adopted by the Texas State Board of Education have great influence beyond the Red and Sabine Rivers. Annually, while the rest of the world has acknowledged science, our textbook committee has to debate creationism and intelligent design and including religious faith in science books. When science rears its little head we have the bludgeons to whack it back into a hidey-hole, and when politics moves away from progressive, free-thinking, historical analysis, we teach the Rovian Revisionism of great events and personalities.

The newest effort by our school board is designed to make certain our students know that McCarthyism wasn’t all that bad and that students need to be able to identify significant conservative organizations and leaders. This is coming out of the textbook committee’s latest hearings and, even though board members want Texas children to learn about conservatives, whom they identify in their recommendations, they make no point to mention progressive groups or personalities.

According to Talking Points Memo, one of the board members griped about “too much emphasis on multiculturalism” when it was noted that World War II led to greater female and minority employment. Another member, scribbling in the margin of a critique of the textbooks notes that, “…if McCarthyism is noted, then the Venona papers need to be explained that exonerates him.” . . .Charlton Heston’s speech on the culture war, which made conservative hearts pound with joy, was a good topic for a textbook’s section on “effective leadership.”

. . .So this is Texas, folks, created by god 10,000 years ago with all fossils and fossil fuels in place, where black presidents are not allowed to encourage our children, there are two sides to every story, even McCarthyism, Richard Nixon is the man that saved the world, and the bible is a text book, and Fox News is on every TV screen in every airport and public place in the land.

I suppose I’m obligated to mention that our governor is aligned with a secessionist group and appears at rallies citing our constitutional right to secede and, oh, I forgot to tell you about how we voted three to one in 2005 to ban gay marriage.

Y’all come on down.

8 09 2009
JJ

The Stupid-Driven Life Part I:

As long as such people mind their own business, why should anyone care? But if they attempt to establish a theocracy and force their “scientific” doctrines into our government, our laws, and our schools, there is only one rational response to such aggression. Implacable resistance is imperative. Any compromise with such people is a huge step backwards. There can be no middle course when dealing with aggressive creationists. No cease-fire agreements. None, not ever.

There are three kinds of scientifically ignorant people: (1) Those who are interested in the subject and who want to learn; (2) Those with no interest and who don’t want to learn; and (3) Those who know nothing but who imagine that they know all.

How to identify a creationist: All “social conservatives” are creationists. Any politician who advocates increasingly strict laws about the “proper” use of your genitalia is a creationist. Any organization with “family” in the title is creationist (but maybe not if it’s an abortion clinic).

Being anti-evolution (and thus anti-science) is purely a denominational issue. Join one church and evolution is no problem. Join another and evolution is the devil’s work. The so-called “controversy” about rival “scientific theories” is really just a sectarian squabble. It’s pure priestcraft.

The Three Laws of Creationism:

First Law: Creationists always lie (that is, promoting creationism is more important than honesty).

Second Law: Creationists think everything is religion (especially science).

Third Law: Creationism means never having to say you’re sorry (thus they never admit mistakes).

8 09 2009
Kristina

Last night, I was thinking that I should teach my children bible stories. There’s so much in our culture that they won’t truly understand if they don’t know them. The reason I thought of this was because we were talking about ‘reading the writing on the wall.’ My children will have no idea what this comes from. However, I also teach my children all the old stories that we make reference to in our language. If a school/homeschool parent (many of those creationist homeschool parents ABSOLUTELY will not teach their children the old stories, especially if they have anything to do with ancient gods) is not going to teach the old stories, there is no reason for them to teach the bible for that purpose.

I don’t have a problem with the bible being taught in school, so long as it is part of a group of religious texts being taught- World Religions, anyone? So, for elementary stage children, I would say that they could definitely tell stories from all religions. There are so many beautiful picture books that tell the most well known stories of ALL religions. But, that’s not what Texas is trying to do.

8 09 2009
Kristina

Invariably, at many of these, I was standing next to my friend, a Pulitzer-winning journalist who is Jewish, as a Christian prayer was offered and the name of Jesus was invoked.

When I was in high school, my marching band director insisted that we all gather around before a game or tournament to pray. I didn’t mind this, but it offended my Jewish friend that he refused to pray without invoking Jesus. She went to him and asked him to just pray to G-d. He refused in a manner that was not nice. She came away in tears. I got offended for her and told him off. He informed me that he was the teacher and would pray to whomever he chose. This was in the early ’90s.

There I was, looking at him, totally nonplussed. I was a Christian. My friend was Jewish. I knew that if I sued him, the school would be in trouble. I knew that if I took it to the school, he would be told to stop. But, my friend didn’t want to. She already felt different enough that she didn’t want to bring notice to herself. To this day, I regret not going to the school myself and letting them know how I felt about it.

8 09 2009
JJ

Oh Kristina. That is EXACTLY it. It’s taken me many years to get to this point of needing to say “enough” and face it head-on, and as a Southerner and a girl, a polite Methodist and a military brat to boot, raised as a Goldwater Republican, Junior League legacy, etc etc. who wound up in “homeschooling” where the miseducated wackos celebrate their own stupidity and backwardness as a good thing — this is not a comfortable or easy path for me!

But the alternative has become unthinkable. And we think, therefore . . .

8 09 2009
8 09 2009
Kristina

LOL They’re not all bad. They can’t be, otherwise we would all be totally miserable, since they pretty much run the country!

8 09 2009
JJ

😀

The same could be said of public schools and white folks, I guess . . .

8 09 2009
Kristina

True, true..

8 09 2009
Crimson Wife

“A statement from a school board in Central Texas indicated that the class will be optional and will teach the bible as “an historical document.” Oddly enough, we aren’t teaching about the Koran’s historical impact and power.

Right, because the Muslim cultural tradition forms 1/3 of what the Founding Fathers drew upon when forming this great nation of ours, along with Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Oh wait- that was the Judeo-Christian tradition. My bad…

8 09 2009
JJ

Didn’t ancient Greece and Rome keep slaves, among whom were Christians? Did you see what Texas teaches about the War of Northern Aggression??

One ancient belief system isn’t to be taught as real in this nation’s public schools, over any other. Neither advance nor inhibit religion. It’s not a question of who got here first or majority religion rule. It’s protection FROM majority rule on this one. That is the current state of our Constitutional law. I like it. You may not. Doesn’t make it any less a fact.

Now I admit, the majority-Catholic current Court may change that, and then I can decide if I want to live in a Christian theocracy as a second-class citizen (an explicit one I mean, not just half-a**ed as we already have.)

8 09 2009
JJ

Jason Linkins:
The core issue elucidated in Obama’s speech is that children should apply themselves in school, do their homework, take personal responsibility, and not drop out of school. If there is a group of people who believe children should do the opposite, we need to hear from them before we call this a product of “hyperpartisanship.”

. . .Now, certainly, the political discourse is, at times, highly polarized. But hey, you want to know a quick and easy way to polarize a discussion? Allow the yelpings of a bunch of insane people to occupy one of the poles!

THIS is what this story was: A bunch of lunatics made a bunch of claims about this address that were stupidly premised and borne of the same stuff as Birtherism: the simple desire to abolish Obama’s existence and deny that the office of the president has any authority under his hand.

[JJ’s note:even to be a community mentor in the schools, never mind torture.]

If the media cannot figure this out, they deserve a failing grade.

10 09 2009
JJ

John Milewski, Host of “Dialogue” — Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars:

Adults on our team are holding their children accountable by challenging them to express their emotions and desire to win in ways that are respectful of their opponents and that are not immature and self-indulgent in the context of a team sport.

. . .Which brings us to the case of Representative Joe Wilson, who shouted at the president in a manner usually reserved for his colleagues during town hall meetings. . . Here is yet another example of adults behaving in ways that would result in punishment if the offender was a child.

The excuses for immature and self-indulgent behavior in politics and public gatherings such as town meetings are always the same [but] . . .
If this happens in school it results in a student being sent to the principals office and may even lead to a call to parents. If it happens on a ball field it often leads to a seat on the bench or an ejection from the game.

What is the response when it happens in the United States Congress?

There are important challenges to be faced that will require the best efforts of serious and responsible citizens and legislators of all political stripes. Adults must demand the same level of civility and respect from themselves that they demand from their children.

And if a baseball game is worthy of maturity and dignity, shouldn’t a debate on one of the most complex and important pieces of domestic legislation in our nation’s history be given the same consideration?

11 09 2009
boremetotears

“But this is Texas and the long, proud march backwards presses on; except we may soon begin dragging the nation with us into the 18th century.”

Yet, despite their many recent wins, they’re still miserable – and threatening secession. Perhaps they’d be happier finding another place to call home.

11 09 2009
JJ

Latexabama? Right across the southern border and they can have the extreme west Florida too (Scarborough country), I’m okay with that.

But then South Carolineans like Joe Wilson will have to move down and leave the Piedmont to James Clyburn to govern as one America at last. Did you know his dad was a fundamentalist minister, his mom a beautician and he was a high school history teacher until he got into state level human rights and became the third ranking Dem in the U.S. House?

Or go the other way and give them Sarah Palin’s Alaska and — wait. Why do they dominate the places with all the wide-open spaces and especially oil profits? A united America deserves those benefits rather than ceding that to our government’s sworn enemies. Never negotiate with terrorists!

So where can the anti-American War and Fear world view enjoy the homeland they deserve, a homeland with no natural resources tempting them to think they’ve been chosen by god for special gifts, somewhere they can live by their own wits and bootstraps and labor, without anyone or anything to exploit?

Oh, I remember!

14 09 2010
What a Difference a Year Makes in the GOP « Cocking A Snook!

[…] homeschoolers this time last year, declaring war over President Obama daring to give a nationwide back-to-school speech? (And mocking him for using a teleprompter to do […]

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