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What’s So Sinister About a Presidential Back-to-School Speech?

Obama won't be stupid enough to use the speech as a political pulpit. And there's nothing wrong with telling students to study hard and be good citizens.

by
Joanne Jacobs

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September 3, 2009 - 1:43 am
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America is a free country, my father told me in the ‘50s. In Russia, my grandparents’ homeland, people were arrested for speaking against the government. In America, anyone could stand on a street corner and shout, “Down with the president.”

We happened to live on a corner. So I stood out by the street sign and the fire hydrant and yelled, “Down with President Eisenhower!”

It was the suburbs. No pedestrians. I tried again when a car went by. “Down with President Eisenhower. Down with the government!” No reaction.

I yelled louder for the next car: “Up with Khruschev! Communism is good! America is bad!” Nothing.

President Obama’s Sept. 8 start-of-school speech to students will be shown in schools, the White House hopes. (The speech will be broadcast  on www.WhiteHouse.gov and C-SPAN.) The president “will challenge students to work hard, set education goals, and take responsibility for their learning,” says the Education Department.

Ho hum, I’d say.

But others hear the tramp, tramp, tramp of Obama Youth marching for universal health care, higher taxes, gun control, and unflushed toilets. Hark! Listen as they chant the praises of the Dear Leader and yell down those who’d criticize our Leader’s policies.

This won’t be just a “Hey-Kids-Howya-Doin-I’m-Your-New-President-So-Be-Good-In-School-This-Year-Mmmkay? speech,” writes Stephen Green (Vodkapundit), urging parents to keep their kids home from school to avoid indoctrination.

I think it will be a “be-good-in-school” speech. If it echoes his terrific speech to the NAACP in July, black students may be inspired by a black president to try a little harder and aim a little higher. I sure hope so. But many schools won’t take time out for it, especially on a chaotic first day of school.  In others, kids will shrug and go back to texting their friends about Tiffany’s new eyebrow stud and who’s the new kid in the back row and …

Why the furor?

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