Last year I wrote two posts about President Obama’s Back-to-School speech. It was quite the hot topic. This year, there hasn’t been a peep about today’s 2nd annual Back-to-School speech to be broadcast live on the White House website and via CNN as announced on WhiteHouse.gov. After all the hullabaloo surrounding the content of last year’s speech, I think the deafening silence surrounding today’s, goes to show that last year’s didn’t turn out to be the Trojan horse that many suspected. I followed the controversy closely, and even I was surprised when it all turned out to be much ado about nothing. This was also the first time I’d ever taken heat from my own side, for daring to be impartial in my analysis. I hope I can ALWAYS be that disappointing.
Here’s a look back at:
Shooting the Messenger: Was Obama’s Speech Dead Upon Arrival?
As much as I’d like to talk about Jon Gosselin’s appearance on ABC News Primetime: Family Secrets last night, I’m withholding that commentary to discuss what an even more important Dad had to say yesterday.
*Gasp!* More significant than what the most villainous soon-to-be-ex-husband in reality TV decided to get off his chest in complete prime-time-soap-opera-victimhood fashion? Yes, I know. Hard to believe. But, there are more important things going on in the world than the daily tabloid spectacle of Jon and Kate Gosselin’s messy divorce. Though, even I have been known to get caught up in all the marital drama. But, I digress.
I don’t know to who, but it may come as a surprise to someone that the president spoke to our nation’s youth in school classrooms yesterday live via C-SPAN and the White House website.
With all the controversy surrounding the accompanying lesson plans that were to be handed out to classrooms yesterday, many became suspicious of what the speech itself might contain in addition to the education message that was announced. It’s hard to imagine that the president, or his speechwriters and advisers, would be so bold as to put anything political in a speech to school children at a time when he needs to pull the country together to pass his extremely polarizing political agenda. And whether that is what people believed would happen or they just weren’t willing to have their children addressed by a man they so vehemently disagree with, one thing is for sure: the message became overshadowed by the messenger.
I read the president’s speech with an open mind on Monday night. Admittedly, I was half expecting there to be something in there I would disagree with. But, I found nothing. Instead, I thought the speech was inspiring and highly motivational. I imagined myself as a 16-year-old kid listening to this speech and being moved by the historical magnitude of it all. What was the theme? That if I work hard enough, I can achieve anything in this country. That nothing stands between me and my dreams except my willingness to pursue them, regardless of how rich or poor I am. Hardly liberal indoctrination.
So, I was surprised that instead of being pleased with this message, or at least relieved, there still remained many hold-outs who didn’t want their kids to receive it.
After posting on Facebook that I gave the speech an “A+,” I heard from several friends that they weren’t buying it from Obama. I scratched my head for a bit and then… it suddenly made sense. This reaction just confirms what I supposed in my previous post, that the level of distrust for this president has become an overriding factor in the people’s acceptance of any move he makes. If you don’t trust the messenger, you will likely reject the message.
Before he even got to “hello,” it seems the president’s speech may have been dead upon arrival in the minds of many who equate approval of the message with approval of the man and his agenda.