The right wing furor over President Obama’s back to school speech was revealed to be even more insane than initially thought after the text of the speech was released today. The speech emphasizes students’ personal responsibility for their own education. This is a principle that even the most conservative Americans should support.
The right wing media, namely Glenn Beck and Fox News, were whipping up fear over an Obama speech for students that features lines such as, “And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself. Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.”
If you thought that paragraph embodied the creeping hand of socialism gripping our children check this out, “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.”
Good God no. That socialist Obama wants students to listen to their teachers. Why if our kids grow up learning respect authority what will become of them? They could grow up to be good citizens, the kind of people who respect the law. We can’t have that now, can we?
Opponents charged that Obama was going to use the speech to encourage students to obey the government. The reality is that the speech encourages students to think for themselves, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.”
The far right let their imaginations and fears run wild when they heard about Obama’s speech, and the result is that they now look like complete fools. Their paranoia was based on a lesson plan that when looked at side by side with the speech does not contain the sinister element that they thought they saw. Obama’s speech was never going to indoctrinate anyone. This speech talks about the same educational themes that Obama has been talking about for two years now.
This flap over this speech has done nothing but make the Republican Party look even more out of step with the rest of America. The GOP has no hope of recapturing the White House any time soon, if the base of their party is going to be composed of the lunatic fringe. Their fear was misguided, misplaced, and completely unfounded. The monster that they see in the White House is not the same view that most Americans have of the president.
Here is the full text of the Obama Back to School Speech