Today Obama welcomed students back to school via a nationwide broadcast from Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School, a 2010 National Blue Ribbon School in Philadelphia. Masterman is a magnet school, attended by the daughter of Philly’s Mayor, Michael Nutter.
It is interesting that he chose a magnet school, where nearly all of the students are not only on track to graduate with excellent grades, but to attend good colleges. Though the text of the President’s speech was much a repeat of last year’s mantra to stay in school and work hard, but reading between the lines this year says much more than ever before:
Obama managed to steer clear of partisan politics, but he had no qualms at all about mentioning war, the recession and our children’s role in working hard to help America succeed. If you listened in, perhaps you heard some of what I heard.
His praise of Masterman and its hardworking students and his mantra that “Your future is in your hands. Your life is what you make of it. And nothing – absolutely nothing – is beyond your reach. So long as you’re willing to dream big. So long as you’re willing to work hard.” was an inspiring lead in to a mention of our world wide competition for excellence. He, of course, never mentions that he doesn’t think that America is exceptional, no matter how hard our citizens work.
He tells these children that hard work is essential for success, but doesn’t tell them that their success will bring about demonizing and targeting by those in lower classes at the behest of his Administration and those who believe that the successful are obligated to support the not so successful. He encourages giving to the community without telling them that they will be mandated to do so via bailouts, exploding entitlement programs and mandatory product purchases. He inspires by saying he will speak at their commencement if they prove they are the kind of class that can work hard, prepare for college and career and give back to community and country but doesn’t tell them that there are no jobs to be had and that his own economic advisor says they are not coming back any time soon.
Finally, our President tells these children and their gathered teachers, parents and administrators in this cream of the crop school, that while we need to take responsibility for ourselves, we must also take responsibility for others and help others reach their potential. He says that America is a country that gives each of its sons and daughters the same chance to succeed, but he doesn’t tell them that the hard work he is pushing them to do will benefit those who don’t care about that opportunity, those who are not sons or daughters of America, and gain them nothing more than the government thinks they should have. America will succeed in the 21st century with their continued hard work, absolutely, but will they? At what cost?
I am glad I kept my kids home.