President Obama’s Address To America’s Schoolchildren

Here, in its entirety, is the text of the President’s speech to America’s schoolchildren, which will be delivered later today at Wakefield High School in Arlington, VA.

Reading through it, I can’t see why this speech has sparked so much rage among the right—it’s full of the same innocuous, stay-in-school-and-work-hard pap that schoolchildren hear every day. Heck, one of the major themes is personal responsibility, which is something Republicans themselves used to pontificate about (that is, before Bush took office and the right chucked all notions of personal responsibility out the window).

And it’s not as if a speech like this is unprecedented—both Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush also delivered speeches to America’s schoolchildren.  In fact, Reagan’s speech ended up being explicitly political—he repeatedly praised the supposed economic benefits of tax cuts, even though those benefits are strongly disputed by nearly every reputable economist out there.

And yet, when those two Republican Presidents were delivering their speeches (one of which was explicitly political) to America’s schoolchildren, conservatives didn’t grab their pitchforks and torches and start screaming about ‘indoctrination’ and the ‘Hitler youth.’

Funny how that works.

Then again, we all know that the right doesn’t care about the contents of the speech itself—they’re just enraged because Obama is the one delivering it. Conservatives don’t care what he actually says, they just hate him and are looking for any excuse whatsoever to attack him.

And let’s be honest, this ginned-up, make-believe controversy says more about conservatives than it does about President Obama.  It proves that some Republicans have become so closed-minded and self-centered that they just can’t stand the idea of a Democratic President delivering a routine speech to a group of schoolchildren. They’ve become so unhinged over President Obama that an uncontroversial event like this has sent them into a burning rage.

And these are the folks we’re supposed to trust on health care reform? These are the guys we’re supposed to sit at the table and compromise with? Are you kidding me? This whole non-controversy proves that the American right has become completely and utterly unserious; their hatred for President Obama has turned them into little more than a radical fringe ideological group.

UPDATED: The new right-wing talking point on this nonsense is that, even if Obama’s speech itself isn’t in any way political, liberal teachers could use it as a pretext to indoctrinate America’s children.

First off, I don’t think I have to point out how paranoid it is to believe that America has become infiltrated by a cabal of left-wing teachers just waiting for their chance to turn America’s children into little revolutionaries.

Second, if such a secret underground cabal actually existed, why would they wait for an innocuous Presidential speech to carry out their work? Wouldn’t they just do it anyway?

So now the right is being unserious, illogical and paranoid. Again, we’re supposed to be giving these guys a seat at the table? Please.