After Obama’s speech

OK, so I dont’ know if any of you watched it, but I can see why parents were so very afraid President Barack Obama’s speech, which just ended. After all, who wants their children to hear things like this:

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.

Or, perhaps it was this that made people worried:

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK.  Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s 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 can’t 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 doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
Or maybe, was it this?
That’s why today, I’m 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 you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll 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 you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
God forbid we have children – especially children from poor neighborhoods, in single-parent homes, with a million strikes against them – hear those messages. Especially, if it is coming from someone who looks like them, someone who has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you can be raised poor, by a single-mother, with an absent father, and be a person of color and rise to be President of the United States. Yeah, that’s scary alright.
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88 comments

  1. It is disappointing to read about those families who kept their children home from school instead of encourage them to hear what the president had to say.   This would have been a teachable moment for those families that do not agree with him to explain their side to their children.  We miss out on a opportunities to teach our children not just dictate to them and become hypocrites , because of our own self righteousness.    

    • Hank, please tell that to Rep Richard Gephardt, House majority leader in 1991, who criticized for President Bush 41 for speaking to schoolchildren.  (The House held hearings on the speech, and forced Bush 41 officials to come to Capitol Hill to defend the president’s speech).

      In 2009, with a Democratic president, the NEA is all for a sitting president speaking to American schoolchildren.  In 1991, with a Republican president, the NEA criticized it.

      There’s a lot of selective memory on this discussion thread…

    • Extremely disappointing. It’s hard to imagine being so fearful, and I feel sad for those parents and their children. Particularly the parent of a 16 year old! If a  parent does not have the courage of their parenting skills and belief that they have instilled values in a “child” by 16, they have a lot more to worry about than hearing a speech by the President of the United States.
      It is my belief that we raise our children, not to be clones of ourselves, but to learn everything they can about everything possible so they can find out WHO they are before they leave the nest.
      As for the insanity of being concerned that students would be asked how they can help the president – why not give them the opportunity to either think of something helpful, or just plain say they can’t think of anything (a sorry thought, but a possibility). What’s the big deal about that? And so what if teachers “check later?” They do that all the time.
      Irrational fear is SO LOUD.
       
      Everyone needs to take a deep breath, count to 50, and get a grip on reality.

      • Hello winnieo-
        I have to speak up, since I can only assume I’m the parent of the 16 year old that you are referring to.
        You don’t know my son or anything about me as a parent. We are talking about a boy who, in the third grade was well beyond college level reading. He wrote a letter to George Bush (I didn’t even know) and got a letter back. When asked , when he was eleven, what he’d like more than anything for Christmas, he said a Bible. (I am not, nor have I ever been, religious)
        He speaks English, Spanish, and is a third year Russian language honors student.(I can almost speak English) He’s taken and excelled in marksmanship classes and is a huge anti-drug advocate. ( I’m afraid of guns, and am not religious, but love that he hates drugs!!!!)
        He’s very pro-life. (there we agree)

        We are not talking about some immature sixteen year old kid who doesn’t have his own opinions.

      • Hi Azmouse, Yes, it was you that made me think of 16 year olds, although while writing I was actually thinking of all older kids (16 or whatever) in a general way.
         
        I apologize for appearing to pick on your son.
         
        You must be very proud.
         
        I do stick with my general observation, however, that if values are not instilled by 16, it’s probably too late to start by encouraging insisting on respect for the President.

      • Azmouse, you mentioned being pro-life, and while this may be off-subject, here we are, so…
         
        I am also pro-life, and I am pro-choice. I don’t know whether you are pro-choice or anti-choice, but you did say you are not religious and never have been.
         
        I understand why people with strong religious beliefs are anti-choice, although I certainly disagree with their quest to spread their personal religious beliefs on everyone else.
         
        But I am curious to know why would someone who is “not religious” would be anti-choice? If you are anti-choice, can you explain your thinking? I’d really like to understand.

      • Hi winnieo.
        Thanks for the nice responses back. Hope I didn’t come across defensive.
        I think we are like-minded on the abortion issue. I do see it as killing a child. I am all for educating people on abstinence and birth control. I even promote other types of sexual pleasures that don’t involve intercourse, but I would never presume I can speak for another individuals circumstance. I’ll be honest though, if someone was considering an abortion and came to me for my opinion, I know I’d be very aggressive about trying to talk them out of it.
        I’m just not the type to dictate to others my own beliefs, unless asked.

      • No, you didn’t seem defensive, except perhaps defensive of your son’s intelligence, and you wouldn’t be a good mother if you didn’t defend your offspring!
         
        Yes, mostly in agreement. I don’t believe abortion is killing a child because there is no child yet – just an embryo. I believe that embryo becomes human when spirit enters which I don’t believe happens before heart beat at earliest, first breath at latest.
         
        I would never choose abortion, but I would counsel anyone else considering an abortion to look inside their own heart. As you said, I would offer my feelings on the subject if asked, but would not attempt to come between the woman and her spirit.
         
        So you are simply saying you believe all embryos are children without explanation of how you came to that conclusion.  That’s the way you feel, so…that’s the way you feel. I will continue my quest for other insights into my question. I’d really like to understand.
         
        Namaste

      • Some of this is more personal than I’d like to get into on a blog, but I’d be more than happy to give you my email address where I think I’d be able to speak more freely and from the heart. I feel like my answer left you with more questions..

        You see it as just an embryo, until spirit enters, which occurs when the heart starts beating, which is in about 22 days after conception, is that right? Or is the heart beating before that, but it’s to small and unformed yet to hear it?

        I guess I really feel a need to protect those who, in my mind, cannot do it for themselves.

      • Yes, I understand it’s 22 days. It would be too underdeveloped to actually beat, moving blood, before that.
         
        Thank you for your answer. It’s really  no wonder people can’t come to some agreement. Reasoning is simple too disparate for everyone to come to one conclusion, which is why I am pro-choice.
        Have a sweet weekend!
         

      • Thank you. You have a great weekend as well. I enjoyed our exchange! I appreciate someone who takes the time to hear others.

  2. I can post youtube videos of Glenn Beck and Ingraham saying this speech was unprecedented but I don’t want to link to other sites.

    Also, I would like to see proof that Obama changed his speech before we go down another “birther” path of posting conspiracy theories about Obama. 

    Obama came out on top of this issue – it would benefit the RNC to move on and they are trying to.

  3. parents said they did not want their children to hear it, which is their right, and the liberals starting screaming racist.

    simply because obama opens his mouth is not the cue for all to drop and pay homage.

  4. “Color me really ignorant on the avatars, but Sechem and Mockpoe have the same one – are they the same person? anyone know?”

    Renee – they may or may not be the same person, but they are certainly of like mind.  This might be coincidence, or it could be the result of similar indoctrination.  The Globe and Anchor is the symbol of the US Marine Corps.

  5. I listened to the entire speech last night on CSPAN. It  may as well have been Santa Claus, as  it was so gentle and totally absent of  anything partisan. I believe the school children of  America are going to learn about maturity of thought and action, by negation. Just do not do what the adults have been doing in this longest  summer of discontent and institutional dysfunction.
    One thing is for sure, talking about public service to our children in this electrified climate, is akin to sending them to a beach where the sharks roam.

  6. Go to 1:18  Glenn Beck and then Andrea Tantaros (thought it was Ingraham).

    There was a whole group of people who didn’t remember Reagan’s speech.   In fact, it may have been but now EVERYTHING is saved on the internet.

    The “unprecedented” was exposed and Obama hit a homerun with his speech so now they are trying to say he “changed” his speech with no proof.

    It WOULD benefit them to move on – Obama won on this issue and further complaining just makes them look more and more like “birthers.”

    That is not a good political strategy.

  7. so now they are trying to say he “changed” his speech with no proof.

    Andy, you need to read my posts a little more closely.  Either you misunderstood me, or you’re deliberately mischaracterizing what I said.
    I never said that Obama changed the speech.  I said they weren’t showing us the speech.
    Specifically, I said that people were angry because they saw the White House putting out “suggestions” for teachers to have their students write letters (which the teacher would keep) spelling out how they promised to help the president—BUT no one knew exactly what the president was going to “ask” them to do, because the White House wasn’t showing anyone the speech.   After conservatives objected, the WH released the speech. 

    Of course, if the WH hadn’t put out its creepy suggestion to have children make pledges on how they were going to support the president in the first place, none of this would happen.
    Do you see the difference, Andy?  And, please keep giving us the political advice.

  8. I didn’t say you said he changed his speech.  The people who have suggested this are too numerous to name.

    • Andy Morales, Buck is a tough nut. He didn’t say the speech was changed. He only said they weren’t showing us the speech, which suggests that the speech we WERE shown was not the one and only speech. Tricky but transparent.

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