Obama’s Speech to Students

September 8th, 2009

I just read the full text of President Obama’s planned speech today to students in schools all over America.  It’s obvious that the conservatives and Republicans who generated so much controversy about this speech should have read it before they complained. 

There’s nothing wrong with the speech.  In fact, it’s inspirational.  It’s great to have the President of the United States, the leader of the nation, saying these things to children.  And it might motivate some kids to stay in school, to work harder at their studies, and to have the audacity to dream of doing great things. 

I tried to pick things from the speech that Obama’s opponents and critics might find inappropriate.  Frankly, there isn’t anything that merits criticism.  But here are a couple of possibilities: 

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

Conservatives and Republicans might find fault with his reference to “government’s responsibility” regarding setting standards, supporting teachers, and improving failing schools.  They should remember that these words could have come from George W. Bush talking about No Child Left Behind.  Government at all levels has these responsibilities, and presidents and others of both parties have long recognized that fact. 

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

Will there be criticism of the President for telling students that they’ll need “insights and critical thinking skills” in order “to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free?”  What would that criticism be based on — these problems and challenges obviously exist, and it’s self-evident that people must be educated and thoughtful if they’re going to be successfully addressed.

Maybe conservatives and Republicans will find other parts of the speech to criticize, but they’re going to have to use some twisted logic to make their case.

The real problem Obama’s critics have with this speech is the fact that it’s happening, not the specifics of what the President will say.  They’re irrational enough to refuse to accept him as President, and they don’t want him to appear as a legitimate leader.  Or maybe they’re just afraid that millions of kids will see him, hear him, and realize that he’s not an evil monster.


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10 Responses to “Obama’s Speech to Students”



  1. Psychcomp |

    I am an Independent Conservative, and I found nothing wrong with his speech. Some nut jobs may be upset at the governmental responsibility; however as we have a public education system, it is in part the government’s responsibility to make sure it is ran correctly. If one does not like this fact, home school your child and be gone from the system, it is as simple as that. In all, watch the speech and form your own opinion.


  2. larry |

    There is some talk(fact or Fiction)that the the speech was rewritten after so much concern was voiced. If that is true we probably will never know what was in the original. Perhaps the intent of the speech was as innocent as Obama’s supporters claim it was. However, for those us that are less than enchanted by this President, we know he will be less than truthful and always a leftist politician first. Despite all the name calling aimed at all of us that question this mans motive’s, I think the nation is well served by our suspicions of Obama. Our young children are our weakest point when recognizing a political “Flim-Flam” artist which in fact this man is. The really bad part is this man means to do real harm to our people be they young or old. Best watch him close and question his actions more.


  3. Harvey |

    Tom,

    I just read the speech and I agree its a great speech and it will, no doubt, inspire many of the students who hear it to work harder.

    Your comment: “It’s obvious that the conservatives and Republicans who generated so much controversy about this speech should have read it before they complained.” is, however, totally illogical. There was no speech to read and if they hadn’t complained, there would have been no advanced text! Aside from that, they were totally and completely justified not to trust the man with his record as a far-far left “organizer.” Who knew what kind of socialist/statist crap would come out of his mouth.

    There are some who, as you say, ARE “irrational enough to refuse to accept him as President, and want him to appear as a legitimate leader” but I don’t believe they are any more than a fringe group; they don’t represent most of those (including me) who complained.


  4. Tom |

    Larry, do you have a reference to some legitimate source that says the speech was in fact changed in significant ways as a response to the controversy? I don’t mean right-wing blogs or websites; how about something like news reports (not opinions) from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, etc?

    Harvey, same for your contention that there would have been no advance text if it hadn’t become controversial. That could be true, I suppose, but I’d be interested to know the source.

    As far as I’m concerned, Barack Obama is President of the United States and every citizen of the country. He deserves respect and the presumption of sincerity in the way he’s doing his job. It’s one thing to disagree with his political orientation and his specific policies; it’s something else to say things like “this man means to do real harm to our people” and “Who knew what kind of socialist/statist crap would come out of his mouth.” Statements like that are neither justified nor warranted.


  5. Clarissa |

    “There are some who, as you say, ARE “irrational enough to refuse to accept him as President, and want him to appear as a legitimate leader” but I don’t believe they are any more than a fringe group”

    -Possibly so. The problem is they are so vocal that more reasonable voices are often lost in the din.


  6. doris |

    All those going crazy over this speech-ha,you should feel dumb,now.To say he wants to hurt us is ridiculous,He may be a power hungry,overacheiver and a very well spoken, intelligent man,but a monster?You are really stretching anything that could even resemble reasonable,Larry,your hatred for the man is showing.Your opinion is formed from what facts,how has he tried to hurt us?He inherited a horribly broken country and is trying to help fix it,a very long,slow process,as it would of been for anyone,even a white,old guy.I think every time the facts come out and prove you wrong,you revert to going into the dirt for your facts and hurl ridiculous accusations,which only instigate a bunch of ignorant followers and causing more unrest,this country needs to pull together to recover,not make up stuff to create “your” reality.As I said before,I don’t adore or love him,but give a guy a break,he is trying and doing more to help than anyone else is.


  7. larry |

    Tom
    I heard about the speech being changed from Fox cable news. The white house announced the release for around 8:30am(EST). The release was held up until around 10am which had it being released just as Obama was arriving in Cincinnati for a union labor day speech for the AFL-CIO. I don’t know where Fox got their rewrite information but I believe them.
    As far as bad mouthing the right wing demonstrations, get over it. Liberal’s have for years used public streets and and gatherings as a venue for their complaints. We have the same right. Not all of the right is peaceful or quite in their dissent but to date no building have been burned or bombed. I don’t know the final out come but as the old Credence Clear Water song goes “I feel a bad moon risen”, “I feel trouble on the way”.


  8. jay |

    I remember when Bush did the same thing and how I and others objected. I guess that was then and this is now. Certainly political loyalties have nothing to do with the ever increasing flexible liberal standards these days.


  9. doris |

    I am sad that you used C.C.R.,one of the greatest groups of all times..If it is rising,it has been for at least 7 years or more,and the state of our country is proof of that.Old Bush,young Bush,Reagan all addressed the children,because whether we like it or not ,these guys,our presidents,are the childrens strongest role models.So,get over yourselves and listen to the children,they wanted to hear the speech,glad it’s over,now.Fox news said that the speech was gone over and anything that could possibly be misconscrewed into a political agenda by the right was omitted,and rightly so,that’s what you guys wanted,right.


  10. Harvey |

    Tom,

    The source of my contention that without the uproar there would have been no text released ahead of time is mainly a common-sense look at the facts. The White House never mentioned, when the plans for the speech were first announced, that a text would be released ahead of time; an uproar ensued because, as I’ve said over and over, there is no reason for anyone to trust the man’s judgement. Then the day before the speech, to calm down the furor, the text is released. Does that sound planned to you? Do you really think that, if everyone accepted the fact he was going to address millions of school kids there would have been a need for an advanced text?

    Then there is this from the Dallas Examiner. Here are just a couple sentences that reference a revised speech and a revised approach:

    “The initial uproar caused a readjustment in the White House approach, and seems to be toned down from the original plan.”

    “Overall, I must say, they did a good job of changing the speech from what the initial reports indicated (not to mention the corresponding assignments listed on their Web site).”


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