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The REALLY Youthful Youth Vote

I first heard about this plan of Barack Obama's to address the nation's youth on September 8 while listening to Michael Medved as I was unpacking and making my way through the mountain of laundry resulting from our three-week camping trip (more about that later).  My first reaction upon hearing it was to think that Medved must have gotten something wrong.  The President of the United States would not call a national assembly of school children, would he?  It's just not done.  And to send out preparatory materials to principals and teachers featuring autobiographical materials about the "Dear Leader" would be too much even for the hubris of our audacious One.  But Medved is usually pretty meticulous so my incredulity subsided and was replaced with horror as I continued to listen.  Medved featured a teacher from "the Midwest" who could not give her name for fear of local retaliation.  She noted that she planned to refrain from subjecting her students to this partisan spectacle.

Of course, "the speech" is being sold as an exhortation to America's youth to stay in school and to strive to achieve.  Thus, no teacher or parent is really free to object without inviting the scorn of secret (and not-so-secret) Obama partisans who now have leave to say that such objections are nothing more than "overreaction."  It's a clever sell.  But I won't buy it.

Hugh Hewitt is also covering this and provides some useful links.  John Hinderacker at Powerline is on it too, and I think he hits upon what is likely to be the strongest reaction to the "big event" by the majority of America's schoolchildren:  "inexpressibly lame."  Bingo!

I do not worry (too much) that Obama will be able to win legions of followers in the Pre-K to 12 grade set because of this speech.  If his past performances of late are any indication of what is more likely to happen, he will talk too long, talk too condescendingly, and bore them to tears.  It is almost as laughable as the serenade offered in the movie Grease 2 (yes, I had a misspent youth) in which a young man drags his main squeeze down into a bomb shelter, misleads her into thinking that the nation is under attack, and suggests that they "do it" for their country.  She didn't buy it either . . . and that was under the threat of nuclear annihilation.

But what is nicely and brazenly on display here is the President's unshakable and (now) almost pathetic belief in the power of his words to accomplish things.  If ever a man bought into the narrative of his legion of sycophants regarding his persuasive abilities, it is Barack Obama.  And there is something else too.  Notice the navel-gazing personalization of the thing.  If kids know HIS story and read about HIM and HE talks to them, well, then they will all be persuaded to do their best and, what is more, "help the president."  Help him do what, exactly?  Turn around the economy?  Secure our borders?  Fight domestic and international terrorism?  Or does he simply want to remake America in his image?   One begins to suspect that it's mostly the latter and, in the suspicion, one finds very little that is persuasive about that plan.

UPDATE:  Remember this servile bit of Hollywood suck-up that I mentioned back in January?  It turns out that an elementary (!) school in Farmington, Utah is using it as part their reeducation preparation for the big Obama speech.  And more word today that Obama will give YET ANOTHER speech, this time in a joint session of Congress and about health care--because one State of the Union just isn't enough for the likes of Obama.  No, he's not desperate at all.
Categories > Presidency

Discussions - 20 Comments

My son will be present for this "address". I'll report back what he had to say about it, if anything.

If he wants to reach young people he should go on tour with Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers.

right out of the fascist playbook. hook the youth because they are capable of wild devotion and the most cruel acts.

Careful what you joke about, John! It turns out that he's not far away from that! http://voice-of-deseret.blogspot.com/2009/09/obama-worship-utah-eagle-forum-objects.html

OMG! He's going to directly address the nation's children! who does he think he is - the leader of the country or something? Act quickly, it's never too early to teach our children that a person's political views render anything he/she might say completely offensive.

What is truly offensive is the fact that Obama feels he has to address the children of this country on anything.

That is a sign of his hubris, if notthing more serious.

Isn't there a racial component to this? Black children in American public schools too often do not take their free (to them) educations seriously. Their schools are battlegrounds. They do not graduate. Who wants to teach in inner city schools? Teachers who teach there deserve battle-pay.

Wouldn't it be nice if something could be done about this? What if, just supposing, the president's speech was simply his using the bully-pulpit to exhort and encourage those students of color to take their educations seriously and overcome whatever the heck are the problems in those schools? What if even 1% of the students of color in the public schools took him seriously? That is a huge number of children and worth all of the ho-hums of the others.

I will take his persuasive rhetoric on that topic, any day. If he gets out of line, we will have plenty to time to protest after the fact. There are so many other things to be upset about. This seems petty and wrong-headed of the right to make a fuss about this. Is there a better use of Obama's "historic presidency" and all that silliness implies? I don't think so.

The point of this is that it is government getting inbetween the child and parents in a way that lacks even the flimsy fasade of education. Is he going to give a guest lecture on law history, or is he going to talk to non voters about the importatnce of healthcare, global warming, ect? That even ignores the point that children are impressionable and this is a horrible example of taking advantage of this.

How many thousands of indoctrinated voting-age graduating seniors would this add up to before the next election...
I have not decided what to do, if anything, with my children. I may go watch with them if their class is participating.

Here's the new pledge that HUSSEIN Obama is going to have students take.

I pledge allegiance to Obama of whatever country it says on his birth certificate, and to the Arab terror for which he stands, one planet, under Allah, completely socialized, with high taxes and death panels for all.

Is there any particular reason why my previous comment - I thought it was well within the bounds of civility - was apparently rejected?

Does the new system have a problem with URL links??

Just curious...

Craig, I'm sure it was something like that. I have had trouble posting in the comment section a few times since the changes too. Just try again.

I haven't experienced a problem here yet, but I've found at other forums that if I include more than one hyperlink in a comment, the system assumes it's spam and flags it for moderation. Probably best not to embed too many links -- maybe just paste in the URL and live with the aesthetic consequences.

I'm noodling a post of my own on this topic, but in principle, the idea of indoctrinating kids isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's what you indoctrinate them with that matters. Nowadays, we worry rightly about our children's noggins being filled with all kinds of politically correct junk. But Thomas Jefferson, Noah Webster, John Adams and others understood just how vital it was to inculcate self-governing virtues in the schools.

Webster's Blueback Spellers were loaded with political content. But here is my all-time favorite example of indoctrination, Founding-style, from a story about a child prodigy named Billy in a book called The Child Instructor, written by "a Teacher of Little Children in Philadelphia" and published in 1799:

"'Americans! place constantly before your eyes, the deplorable scenes of your servitude, and the enchanting picture of your deliverance. Begin with the infant in his cradle; let the first word he lisps be Washington.' The ladies were all delighted to hear Billy speak so well. One said he should be a parson, another said he should be a lawyer, and another said he should be President of the United States. But Billy said he could not be either, unless his mamma gave him leave."

Nope, they don't make 'em like that anymore.

Sending a child to public school is putting the state between child and parent for part of the day. The point is not so much the state involvement as what the state does with its involvement. If it is teaching my child to read and write and do equations of varying complexity, or even explaining American history and the structure of our government, then I really do not mind. If it is having my child read trash, write anti-war letters to the president, irrevocably muddle math education with silly innovations, and focus on the importance of women in history as opposed to and superior to men in history and truly does require a pledge to President Obama, then I can be upset with cause.

The only way to keep the state out of my child's education is to teach my child, myself, or pay to send my child to a private school of my choice. Those are both expensive options, though in different ways.

I have had problems, too, and now copy my responses, just in case they are lost. Call this a tweakable point. I also hope it is nothing personal.

Julie: In your post, you write:

"It is almost as laughable as the serenade offered in the movie Grease 2 (yes, I had a misspent youth) in which a young man drags his main squeeze down into a bomb shelter, misleads her into thinking that the nation is under attack, and suggests that they "do it" for their country. She didn't buy it either . . . and that was under the threat of nuclear annihilation."

Yes, well, the outcome might have been different if the Large Hadron Collider had been around:

http://www.news.com.au/technology/story/0,28348,26016002-5014239,00.html

"At least three teenagers from a Brisbane state high school are being investigated by police for allegedly filming sex acts on a mobile phone and distributing it to other students, the Courier-Mail reports.

"Two students aged between 13 and 15 performed the sex acts in the toilets during school hours several months ago.

"The incident occurred after the launch of the particle accelerator ring, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which some dubbed a "doomsday device", sources told The Courier-Mail.

"It is understood the girl wanted to lose her virginity to the boy -- believing that the world was about to end."

Craig -- Yes, the NLT spam filter flagged your entry because it contained multiple links. It has now been removed it from spam, and it should appear on the site shortly. Someone will be checking the site every day for comments that are legit but were marked as spam, and those comments will be posted to the site. Please let us know if you have any other problems.

Back to Obama and the speech: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/09/03/white-house-withdraws-students-help-obama/ -- indicates that the problem was with material from the Dept. of Education, but acknowledges that the White House sent presidential aides to guide the department.

Why do we have a Dept. of Ed.? "Federal statute denies any authority to the Department of Education to provide any kind of curriculum or anything that can be passed down to the state, and that's part of the statute forming the Department of Education." So, what is it good for?

It all seems fine now, okay. Thank you!

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