Despite the best efforts of paranoid conservatives who feared, in the words of Florida GOP chair Jim Greer, "taxpayer dollars... being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology," the president will deliver his nontroversial speech to schoolchildren at noon today.
The text of the speech was released Monday, and to the surprise of exactly no rational citizens, it's short on pinko brainwashing, long on "Do your homework." In fact, it almost could have been written by a conservative, loaded as it is with advice about personal responsibility, stopping just short of the word "bootstraps." You think you've got it rough, kid? Your president had to get up at 4:30 in the morning to do extra lessons before he walked 15 miles uphill to school in a monsoon. Jasmin Perez didn't speak English when she started school, Shantell Steve bounced from foster home to foster home, and Andoni Schultz suffered memory loss from a brain cancer treatment. You still want to complain about your overworked and/or absent parents, your lack of community support, your hunger, your unsafe neighborhood, your undiagnosed learning disabilities, your overcrowded classroom, or your failing public school? Those things aren't hard! BRAIN CANCER IS HARD. (Yes, you should imagine Jane Lynch barking that through a megaphone for full effect.)
I kid, I kid. Sort of. The notion that hard work and a can-do attitude will lead directly to exceptional achievement, obstacles be damned, always makes me queasy — but it's certainly unobjectionable to most Americans, which is key here. Jim Greer, after having reviewed the speech: "It's a good speech. It encourages kids to stay in school and the importance of education, and I think that's what a president should do when they're going to talk to students across the country." But of course, when a president says in advance that that's exactly what he's going to do, it's every patriotic citizen's duty to have a colossal shitfit over the possibility that "encourage kids to stay in school" is code for "spread socialist ideology." Fact-free paranoid frenzies are among the most important checks and balances built into our system — that's one to grow on!
Obama's Back-To-School Speech Is Made Public [LA Times]
Prepared Remarks Of President Barack Obama Back to School Event [Whitehouse.gov]