Adults are probably the target audience since they'll be discussing it ad nauseum anyway for the next few days, completely ignoring the Van Jones controversy. Obama can't seriously think he'll more of an impact than the principal, teacher, dad, mom, steve or whomever is king of the hill at home these days, although that doesn't mean he shouldn't deliver the message.
Since adults are partially targeted let's let the mean-sprited hate mongering discussions begin! As written it looks like a boilerplate positive and encouraging speech to our nation's yoots that any president might give, aside from a faint overtone of cultish collectivism. For instance,
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that - if you quit on school - you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.One quibble of a nitpicky fashion--going back to the beginnings of this nation Patrick Henry said, "give me liberty or give me death". He would have never considered replacing 'liberty' with 'country'. Indeed, many early Colonials wanted their "country" to remain tied to Great Britain. It's never really been about country for Americans, it's about what the country means, what the flag means. It would have been nice to see him make that distinction during the speech.
This line of thought remains curious, though:
When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday - at 4:30 in the morning.Hmm, is he saying they had to study under cover of darkness before he was whisked off to the Madrasa and the morning call to prayer? Is that why he never mentions Lolo? Was Mom a subversive trying to poison young Barry with Americanism to the objection of the evil anti-American stepdad? Is this why he says "Mom" couldn't afford to send him to American school despite the fact Mom was married to a father figure with income? The father of his sister Maya? Strange, that. But the message was positive.
And right wingers should be careful criticizing positive messages, even in speeches yet to be delivered. Perhaps we should just be thankful Obama came along to encourage our children to seek their talents and abilities so they can productively work for the collective needs of our country.
Q & A 09/09/09
Linked via JOM, here's the transcript of Obama's Q&A with students, where there was politics in play. Luckily for the One it was brought up by a student, not him..
Not to say the Q&A answers were bad--many were good. Obama is using his experiences in trying to motivate kids, which is what a president should do. But if he's gonna use those experiences and analogies they become open for scrutiny. Most conservatives are talking about his Facebook/internet warning vis a vis Van Jones (and perhaps a covert attempt to chill speech) or his reply to the health care question but one thing that continues to intrigue me is his refusal to acknowledge his own step-father, the father of his half-sister Maya.
I realize he is saying 'not having a dad around' in the literal sense--his natural father--but Obama is very good at sharing his life in an effort to connect with people to make a point. Many of the kids in that room likely have step-parents. Why waste an opportunity to make a point about it? Is his airbrush a sneaky attempt to keep the birther controversy broiling in regards to that document circulating on the net showing he entered school in Indonesia as an Indonesian Muslim?