Today, Barack Obama made a speech urging children to stay in school and work hard for themselves and their country. Children listened, and children were inspired. Loving parents heard the speech too, and they were even inspired by the president’s speech. The age old message, transmitted across the country to children everywhere was received well by all – but that’s not reality.

No, in reality parents all over the country were angry. They were disgusted that the president would make such an outrageous speech to their children; preaching his political agenda to the young and innocent. The attack on our youth, the attempt to brainwash out nation’s children was spread all over… wait a minute… that’s not right either…

Ok, so some parents seemed indifferent, others seem satisfied, and some where outraged. It’s true that Mr. Obama’s speech was inspirational. Being a student, I’m uniquely qualified to judge the speech’s effect on students. I was personally inspired; one of my friends even cried it touched her so profoundly. What I fail to understand is how something like this can be so controversial. Since when is telling kids to keep going to school and keep working hard such a touchy subject? There are some who will say, “You’re naive, he was using it to push his political agenda, grow up!” Really? Did you read the speech? I did. I read the full text, I didn’t just watch the 5 minute clip on Youtube, CNN, or (God forbid) Fox, I read the whole thing. Ok, so there were a few cliché’s that Obama has used throughout his campaign, but that doesn’t mean he is “pushing a political agenda.” He didn’t say, “go to school kids, and vote communist in 2012!” No. What he said was, and I quote, “Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.” I fail to see what is so alarming about that.

One of the comments I saw was that Obama was trying to “get part of himself in the Smithsonian.” Well, other than the fact that I’m pretty sure he’d like to keep all the “parts of himself” on his person, he’s already achieved fame by becoming the first African American president. It’s what he does with that fame that counts now, and that’s what we should judge him by. If fame is all he were after he’d get a sex change and become not just America’s first female african-american president, but America’s first female african-american lesbian president. That would make history.

But seriously, has our nation (I may live in Canada, but I’m a US citizen) really become so far gone that we can’t see past campaign slogans and “party politics?” What is more universal than the message, “Go to school, work hard, pursue your dreams, learn from your failures, and succeed.”(Not a direct quote… or a quote at all, really; more of a summary) When I was a kid, this sort of slogan was the foundation of the American Dream. Apparently things have changed. Apparently the American Dream only includes denying people health care, “liberating”(murdering) Iraqi citizens, and trying to get re-elected.

I respect Mr. Obama for having the guts to get up and say what he said, and his message inspired me to do my best.

If you want to read the speech in it’s entirety, I found a copy here. Please read it with an open mind.


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