So I've heard a lot of racket about President Obama's speech for the open day of school, so I figured I would amble over here and read his remarks. Having read them, three things immediately come to mind.
1. Is Obama ever going to do a bad speech? Because this is another nice one. It might not be a classic, but it's nicely written, makes good use of Obama's life story, is understanding of the difficult situations that some kids are in, but encourages them to try and strive beyond them. Inspiring without being cloying. I'd be curious to see how kids actually in classes would react to this speech.
2. You have to be seriously out of your mind to have a problem with this speech. The problem with the Right in the United States isn't that they have bad idea, it's that they have far too many lunatics that froth at the mouth at the slightest inclination. Yes, the Left has its share of nutbars. But when they were upset with former President Bush, it was normally over things like the Iraq war and the suppression of human rights.
You have people who are supposed to be leaders in the Republican Party seriously losing their shit because the president gave a speech on the first day of school telling kids to stay in school, study hard, overcome challenges and realize that nothing comes without commitment and hard work.
And there are people who pulled their kids out of class rather than let them see this speech. Or vented to open lines shows and websites. Complained that Obama was usurping the first day of class with hidden agendas. These people are deeply, seriously out of their minds. I'm no great fan of former President Bush, but if he wanted to give a speech like that to my (admittedly imaginary) kids, I would have no problem with that. Who in their right mind would?
Ah, right mind. There's the rub. At some point the Republicans really are going to have to realize they're going to have cast off their lunatic fringe if they ever want to be taken seriously as a party again.
3. Out of curiosity where was Prime Minister Harper's address to the students of Canada? I understand what President Obama is doing hasn't been done in years, nor has any Canadian prime minister done anything like this in years either. To my knowledge, that is. I stand to be corrected.
But what's wrong with the idea of the leader of your country making a speech to kids at the start of the school year. I appreciate that the prime minister is perhaps not the most...inspirational...leader we've ever had and certainly not in President Obama's class when it comes to giving speeches. But there's merit to the idea.
Most classrooms have computers these days. Why not have the prime minister do a welcome back to school speech? Although I guess with some Nunavut schools back in class in early August, the idea might need some tweaking. But it still has merit.
1. Curiosity - Sean Panting*
2. Do you want to know a secret - The Beatles
3. Furnace room lullaby (live) - Neko Case
4. Shine your light - Robbie Robertson
5. The sun - Maroon 5