Mothers of America:

Rhetoric scares me, because I know how it can be used.

That said, I was not scared of Obama’s National Address to America’s Schoolchildren. I was not scared before or after I read the prepared remarks, nor was I scared while listening to Mr. Obama read his prepared remarks word-for-word off the teleprompter on live teevee (the only difference between the prepared remarks and official transcript were the parenthetical applauses). Because although rhetoric can be cunning and conniving and twisted, oh my, what Obama was delivering on Tuesday was not the political rhetoric that is worth getting our panties in a bunch about and keeping our kids home from school for.

Let’s review:

“The truth is, being successful is hard.”

“Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures.”

“No one’s born being good at all things. You become good at things through hard work.”

“Now, your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books and the equipment and the computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part, too. So I expect all of you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down. Don’t let your family down or your country down. Most of all, don’t let yourself down. Make us all proud.”

There is nothing earth-shattering here. There is nothing that propagates socialism—if anything it is encouraging the capitalistic, individualistic success America is so enamored with. Obama is encouraging kids to be slam-dunkers and writers of witch-tales and the-next-Twitter creators. That’s grand.

While I believe the education needs some serious work (you fix those classrooms, Obama!) it’s also important to encourage kids to do their part. The best teachers will teach students who fail because they don’t want to work at school. The most successful schools will still contain students who don’t graduate because they’d rather make quick cash at a factory job. Fix the classrooms, pay the teachers, do whatever it takes, but all kids need to hear what it takes to succeed: hard work.

The speech was rhetoric. But not the scary kind. It was made to be persuasive, sure, but not in a devious way. It was encouraging, inspirational, and important for kids to understand that the most powerful man in the world wants them to succeed.

Mothers of America, let your children listen to Obama!

Just make sure they are educated enough to understand rhetoric is rhetoric and encouragement is just that.

~ by monifree on September 9, 2009.

2 Responses to “Mothers of America:”

  1. Sadly I think that more people had a problem with who was giving the message rather than the content of the message itself.

    Be sure to tweet new posts 🙂

    • Mike,

      Agreed. Even if you don’t agree with everything he believes, as parent, I think you need to be open-minded for your children. He ended up having some great encouraging words that were overshadowed by narrow-minded opinions.


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