The Obama indoctrination

Illustration by Jordy Kirkman

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Illustration by Jordy Kirkman
Illustration by Jordy Kirkman

On Sept. 8, President Obama gave a speech before the nation’s K-12 public school students to ring in the new school year on a high note. Or at least he spoke before most of them.

You see, some people didn’t think schoolchildren should hear the president speak – after all, he is a pinko-commie-socialist community organizer and these innocent minds should not have to be unwittingly subjected to the political indoctrination of The Party.

Take for example the Alpine School District: A memo was sent out among teachers instructing them that they had to allow students whose parents were politically opposed to the president to leave the classroom. All this, despite the fact that the speech (the contents of which were available before the actual delivery of the speech) amounted quite literally to an extended lecture on doing their homework and staying in school (and washing their hands).

Such silliness over so little! The speech read like a page out of William Bennett’s Book of Virtues; it was entirely conservative in its contents, dripping with advice about “personal responsibility” and pulling oneself up by the bootstraps.

The only indoctrination I saw in it was the dogma that getting an education is all about stimulating the economy, a dogma almost unquestioned by either the American right or left.

If you were opposed to the contents of the president’s speech, think about this: Were you also in support of the No Child Left Behind Act? If you were, why? In my view, the NCLB act has been demonstrably bad for students all around the nation. But Obama’s address was just that – an address and nothing more. Nothing like the vast and corrosive initiative that was NCLB.

Perhaps this is the strongest criticism possible. Obama only made an address. It is accompanied by no big policy initiative, no attempt to right the many wrongs evident in our current public education. There were significant sums of stimulus money thrown at education, sure, but no fundamental reforms. No real “change.”

Perhaps the president and our other political leaders can be forgiven this, seeing as they are all currently lost in the great health care wilderness. We can only hope they find their way out soon.

If only the citizens of Utah had better public educations to begin with, they would A) have been able to properly analyze the address, B) know what socialism really is and therefore C) recognize that our president and his speech to schoolchildren are anything but left-wing or socialist.

Given the obviousness of the above deduction, I can only conclude that the reason for all the fuss was less about opposition to Obama’s politics than opposition to Obama himself. Sadly, I bet if Obama were to walk out on the Rose Garden tomorrow and publicly push for total privatization of education, somehow Utahns would find a way to label it socialist.

14 thoughts on “The Obama indoctrination

  1. Maybe he doesn’t, but I can’t blame him for trying to develop a relationship with the people. He is our President and whether we agree with him or not, we all should know who he is and what he’s like – even children. At least he isn’t continuing to read story books while the country’s being blown up…

  2. “At least he isn’t continuing to read story books while the country’s being blown up…”

    Really? The first half of your comment was mildly reasonable, and the second half reveals the biased looney you are. I’m going to have to throw the first half out, you understand.

  3. I’m with you, Dave. The entire “lower” education system is basically a sham, getting students to shoot for grades, money, and fake accolades rather than encouraging honest learning and teaching students how to make wise decisions. I think Obama’s address was fantastic in getting students excited about schooling and also to help them realize they have a responsibility to the future of this nation. I think it’s wonderful that he took time to connect with the future leaders (yikes) and workers of America.

    I think the big issue with conservatives and Obama is that, they’re not pro-conservative, but rather simply anti-Obama. It doesn’t matter what he does, the Cons have already decided he can do no good. Glenn Beck and all his fear-mongering have cemented that.

  4. Lindsay is not making any sort of exaggeration. That is exactly what former Pres. Bush did when he heard about the 9/11 attack.
    He was at a school in Florida, reading a book to first graders.
    He heard the news, got sort of a ‘deer in the headlights’ look and just kept reading.

    As for the Article above–nice work.

  5. Pres. Obama doesn’t seem completely inept. not my fav pres, but strides ahead of bush. It’s like bush took pride in being a dumb fuck. and yes nclb screwed us. If bush were to ever address the nation’s children, marshall banana and corky would be pissing themselves.

  6. Its good to know that some people can magically divine the intentions of other people. Without this author’s help I would have kept the severely misguided opinion that people are able to make logical decisions based on facts and their values.

    seriously dude if your going to judge people because they made false assumptions concerning the Presidents motives, don’t make sweeping misguided generalizations of the intelligence and motivation behind Presidents opposition, personally I had nothing against Presidents speech – but to assume that everybody that opposed the speech didn’t “properly analyze the address” or “know what socialism really is” or readily accept that the “president and his speech to schoolchildren are anything but left-wing or socialist.” would be incredibly arrogant and naive.

  7. Whether or not you agree with his political views, there is something to be said for showing respect for our current president. Despite our divergent views there is a lot that most of us can agree on. It seems to me that the content of Obama’s speech falls into that category. Having said that, it is parents who are ultimately responsible to guide and teach their children. It is important that this responsibility be taken seriously by parents and be respected by others. I hope the parents who prevented their children from hearing the President’s speech made that decision very conscientiously.

  8. Dan, I disagree. If you read the speech, you realize it is not at all “left-wing,” ans is in fact pretty conservative. I think (and hopefully I’m not being “naive” in “divining” the intentions of the author of this article) that the point is if you really look at the speech it isn’t leftist or crazy or really anything but kinda bland. Hence, if you are as vehemently opposed to the speech, you must have either been wrong about what it said (analyzed it improperly and became confused about the content) or you were always already opposed to the person making the speech, and never really cared about the content at all. Or you could just be really, really opposed to bland speeches.

  9. Well, I disagree with this article and the comments. Probably, since I am a mother of eight children, white, middle-class conservative, I am in the minority on this forum. So, I’ll attempt to give you a little insight on why my children did NOT listen to the Obama speech.

    #1–“We should show respect for the office itself.” First of all, I believe Obama has disrespected the office up one side and down the other. Bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia, negotiating with Iran, apologizing for the U.S. protections in Europe, etc. That said, I would not spit on, use foul language with, or any other vulgar behavior toward Obama. Showing civil opposition to his policies by refusing to attend a speech is not disrespectful.

    #2–The curriculum distributed to go along with the speech was nothing short of indoctrination and offensive to MY standards. I do not want my children taught to look up to a man of such low standards nor do I want them taught to work to help him achieve his goals. It is my belief that the Pres. is OUR servant, and I don’t want my children taught to serve him—which is explicitly in the accompanying elementary curriculum.

    #3–I am, as a citizen, allowed to oppose the President within the bounds of the constitution–even though this administration is daily trying to erode those rights and protections. I am also, as a parent, allowed to determine what I subject my children to being taught. With those 2 thoughts in mind, it is no one else’s place to determine what is or is not taught to my own children. It’s interesting to note that people can protest for causes like same-sex marriage, illegal immigration, socialized medicine, etc. and the left will call them heroes. I speak up for what I believe is right, and I’m a moron. Seems a little one-sided. I didn’t decide what YOUR children were being taught, just MINE. You should be GLAD I am involved enough to participate and that I have the same right as you to make that decision. GROW UP!

    So disagree if you like. But it seems ridiculous to criticize parents for making decisions for their children. You don’t have to like my decision—but you darned well better support it. If the current administration gets its way, that right will be abolished.

  10. I believe the outrage was about the lesson plans and classroom activities that the Department of Education issued to the public schools. These materials instructed teachers to have students answer the question “What can I do to help the President?” among other things. Once the outrage came out the White House changed the materials and the speech to make it less controversial. My wife is a teacher and received some of these materials. This is not a story “conjured up by the RIGHT-WING”.

    David Self Newlin either did not research this subject or he omitted important facts in order to deceive his readers. He then bashes conservatives, a reoccurring theme in his articles.

    Was the attack on the Utah K-12 system really necessary or relevant to the rest of your article? Also, please explain the link between the President’s speech and No Child Left Behind. One is a speech the other a piece of bi-partisan legislation.

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