Recently, I’ve heard a lot of concerns from conservatives saying that President Obama’s speech to students today was going to be a means for him to indoctrinate students with socialistic and liberal ideals. Personally, I doubted that this would happen – I figured that the President’s speech would be nothing more than the basic “Stay in school. Don’t do drugs. Strive to be the best you can be” speech that presidents have been giving for years.
And I was right. I didn’t find anything indoctrinating or partisan about the President’s speech to the students of Wakefield High School (Arlington, VA).
If you’d like to see a video/transcript of the speech, those are available here, courtesy of ABC.
It was honestly a good speech to students – he emphasized the importance of staying in school, saying, “If you quit on school, you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. The future of America depends on you.”
He talked about the responsibilities of parents: “I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.”
And he made some good points encouraging students not to just give up and make excuses: “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.”
So, I think the lesson that some people need to learn from this is, not everything has to be political. A speech to high school students about staying in school really can be just that. Just because we disagree with President Obama on health care or other issues doesn’t mean that we need to cry “Foul!” and run around screaming “Socialism!” and “Indoctrination!” all over the place, because that degrades the level of debate that we should be engaging in politically and brings the entire political system down to a level of grade school childishness.