The offense

Last night I pontificated vitriolic over the idiots that think President Obama’s address to America’s school children is some sort of socialist plot to indoctrinate them.  It goes without saying it’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard.   A shining example of the stupidity, ignorance and racism that still runs rampant in this not so great country.  It’s sad.  It breaks my heart.  I’m not kidding.  It breaks my heart.

The one man who represents most of these moron’s best shot at a better life is vilified by them.  They are programmed, indoctrinated if you will, by those shallow, transparent entities who have their very worst interests at heart. Vicious irony.  Cruel.  The blind and deaf hatred, suspicion and fear sometimes overwhelms even a cynic like me.

I stand in awe.

It’s all about blatant, overt avarice.  Simple.  Plain.  Machiavellian in the most perverse sense.  Sociopathic in it’s indifference.

It moves me.  I can’t help but write about it.  It’s my therapy.  My vent.  My catharsis.

It occurs to me that the difference between liberals and conservatives is profound.  Duh.  Aside from the obvious, I’d like to point out the less than.  Liberals have a tendency to be disgusted with conservatives.  So much so they are reluctant or refuse to listen to them at all.  Yet they are still willing to investigate, seek alternative points of view and even sample the rantings of those irresponsible broadcasters who’s stock in trade is the fomenting of hate and judgment.

Conservatives on the other hand, refuse to listen at all.  To read or investigate.  They do not want to know.  They don’t want to hear or see anything contrary to what they’ve been told.  They don’t care.  They are unwilling to care.  What their icons tell them is better than good.  It is their truth, regardless and despite.  It’s all they need or want.  What lies beyond is confusion, vast tracts of gray between black and white.  George W. Bush was famous for not doing nuance or subtlety.

The great unwashed take orders very well.  They adhere and obey very well because they don’t want to to think for themselves.  Intellectually lazy and spiritually complacent.   To discern or debate confounds them and makes them very uncomfortable.  They have an overriding need for all or nothing.  Right or wrong.  No in between.  From there, the pattern is clear.  God is good, all knowing and all seeing.  God will keep them from harm or even mistake because he is always right.  Follow God and you’re cool no matter what.  You simply cannot wrong if you go with God.  It’s an absolute and the contemporary conservative covets the absolute.

Without absolutes, they flail and flop, sweat and panic.  They are agitated and bewildered because their whole system of belief is under a fire that only logic and rationale can bring to bear.  What follows is desperation, irrationality, lies and obfuscation.  They show up at political events with guns and rhetoric invoking Nazis, communism and Armageddon in the biblical sense.  The only thing they have in the face of an onslaught of truth is what they see as their absolutes; the lie of contemporary Christianity, morality as they define it and the righteousness of their twisted concept of patriotism.

They spew an invective infused jingoism and mediaeval archaic notions of religious superiority.

It’s like battling robots.

By the way, their next actions will be violent.  Violence will be justified in their minds.  They imagine it as we speak.  Many of them on the fringe have already  embraced it.  They shoot doctors don’t they?

This how we arrive at tomorrow.  Our president will address the children of America and simply encourage them to be good people.  Work hard, study hard and dare to achieve and aspire.  That is all.  But the right wing paints it in very broad strokes as something entirely different and I for one understand exactly why.  I’ve just described it to you as best I can.

Without further ado, I give you his words to be spoken tomorrow, so you may judge for yourself the potential of his dangerous and controversial words.  If there is a God, may he help us all.

“The President: “Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. 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.”

“Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”

So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.

Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.

I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.

I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.

Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.

Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

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.

Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.

So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.

And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book.

Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.

I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.

It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

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, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect 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 or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.”

Drinks for my friends.

15 Responses to “The offense”

  • Kelly:

    What an incredibly inspirational speech. I’ll need to make sure my kids see the video because unfortunately our school district decided not to show the speech. As the county spokesperson put it, they’d received so many calls from parents upset about them showing it to their children. I contacted the spokesperson and told her that never in a million years did I think I’d have to defend a speech, given by the President of the United States no less, telling our kids to work hard and stay in school. Just never occurred to me. The fact that less than 50% of African American kids currently graduate from high school and that maybe they might benefit from hearing that message from our first African American president never entered into the decision. Cowards. The problem is these people think differently and it’s hard to fight them when you can’t anticipate their next illogical move.

    Thanks for posting the speech in it’s entirety and for the previous posts about healthcare. Very important stuff. I’m anxiously awaiting the speech tomorrow night.

  • Junior'sGhost:

    The children of America today are going to be shouldering a massive burden when they fill our shoes.

    They must try to overcome the lure of the false idols of fame and notoriety caused by our loss of perspective. The future of a better culture depends on them.

    They must try to overcome vitriolic hatred caused by fear, ignorance, and tyrannical dogma. The future of a better society depends on them.

    They must try to overcome massive debt and poverty caused by boundless avarice and lust for empire. The future of a better nation depends on them.

    They must try to live in harmony with one another and learn to love in an era of conflict
    and intolerance for what has been lost here is nothing less than the respect for our very humanity. The future of a better world for all mankind depends on them.

    It is a heavy burden, indeed.

    Stay in school, kids. You have so very much to learn.

  • Ralph:

    America’s children do not exist at the behest of this president or need his approval.
    To tell them he’s “Counting on them” is just chilling.
    How dare he try to take away no matter how slight or in any measure, the the paternal bond that is between a parent and the parent’s children.
    Fuck this president. Fuck his Marxist/racist brainwashing agenda of taking children away from parent so that he and his evil minions can turn them into the same cold hearted Marxist/racist as the president and all who support him are.
    Mike you represent and support the new totalitarianism. You are a sheeple O-ba-a-a-a-ma supporter you ignorant fuck.
    You are not in the majority of America’s mind.
    Your side is in an ever increasing minority.
    The more people see who this racist/Marxist piece of shit is that some of them were fooled into voting for, the more they are rejecting him.
    He has the lowest approval rating since Ford for the time he’s been in office.
    He’s going down, down down in the polls.
    America is waking up but unfourtunatly it’s too late, this administration has fucked this country up beyond repair.
    You said:
    “The one man who represents most of these moron’s best shot at a better life is vilified by them.”
    This president does NOT represent this in the least.
    The complete opposite is true.
    The best chance anyone has is through their own individualism if they have the FREEDOM to be so.
    Under Obama, there is less and less personal freedom and more intrusions into individual’s rights to succeed or fail.
    To die or be healthy.
    To be who ever they want to be without any fetters from a totalitarian Marxists like this Obama fuck.
    What an ignorant fuck you are Mike.
    A complete ignorant piece of progressive trash assed fucking shit.
    Fuck you and your fucked up elitist opinions.

  • Datdermuhbuttuk:

    To Ralph

    Lyrics
    Fear of a Black Planet

    by Public Enemy

    “man you ain’t gotta
    worry ’bout a thing
    ’bout your daughter
    nah she ain’t my type
    (but supposin’ she said she loved me)
    are you afraid of the mix of black and white
    we’re livin’ in a land where
    the law say the mixing of race
    makes the blood impure
    she’s a woman i’m a man
    but by the look on your face
    see ya can’t stand it

    man calm your ass down, don’t get mad
    i don’t your sistah
    (but supposin’ she said she loved me)
    would you still love her
    or would you dismiss her
    what is pure? who is pure?
    is it european state of being, i’m not sure
    if the whole world was to come
    thru peace and love
    then what would we made of?

    excuse us for the news
    you might not be amused
    but did you know white comes from black
    no need to be confused

    excuse us for the news
    i question those accused
    why is this fear of black from white
    influence who you choose?

    man c’mon now, i don’t want your wife
    stop screamin’ it’s not the end of your life
    (but supposin’ she said she loved me)
    what’s wrong with some color in your family tree
    i don’t know

    i’m just a rhyme sayer
    skins protected ‘gainst the ozone layers
    breakdown 2001
    might be best to be black
    or just brown countdown

    i’ve been wonderin’ why
    people livin’ in fear
    of my shade
    (or my hi top fade)
    i’m not the one that’s runnin’
    but they got me on the run
    treat me like i have a gun
    all i got is genes and chromosomes
    consider me black to the bone
    all i want is peace and love
    on this planet
    (ain’t that how god planned it?)

    excuse us for the news
    you might not be amused
    but did you know white comes from black
    no need to be confused

    excuse us for the news
    i question those accused
    why is this fear of black from white
    influence who you choose? “

  • admin:

    Ralph! Where you been buddy? I was worried.

    I think Ralph makes my case better than I ever could. Therefore, I rest it.

  • Kim:

    Completely retarded as usual Ralph.

  • admin:

    “Over the last year or more, the Republican party has continued to become older, more white, more Southern and more stupid.” — Jonathan Alter, Newsweek magazine

    And he wasn’t just mouthing off regarding the “stupid” proclamation. He was referring to polls taken over the last year, which consistently show that, as the party continues to shrink and be held hostage by nut cases and nitwits, the percentage of Republicans with college educations continues to shrink.

  • admin:

    @Kelly: Thanks as always for reading and contributing.

  • admin:

    @Junior’s Ghost: Thanks very much for your insight and conviction.

  • admin:

    @Ralph: I just thought of something. You’re like a retarded guitar player with only one string. Ha! Pretty good huh?

    Oh you need me to explain? Well see it’s because you’re always so consistent with your rhetoric that you sound like a guitar player with only one string………..get it?

    By the way, because of retards like you, death threats aimed at our president are up by over 400% compared to when Dumbya was in office.

  • Ralph:

    The only person who is responsible for the so called death threats are folks like you who dream such horse shit up just to create a false reality that those “Mouth breathers” as you like to pontificate about are just so much so in grand Boogie Man style, out to get us all.
    You are so full of hit Mike.
    You are always about facts and so on, let see,,,,hm,,,??
    How bou’t them Czars Mike? How bout’ that troop withdrawal Mike? How bout’ them falling poll numbers? How bout’ that 13 trillion dollar projected defect?? That’s a “Projected” defect which means like anything figured out by the government, it’s all fucked up.
    Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, all bankrupt and going DOWN there cowboy! Now Rham and his huss bo’ are slamming the lid shut on this nation through disinformation and useful idiot fuckheads like you Mike.
    Oh,, but wait,,,,
    The health care bill is going down there cowboy!
    You think that shits going to be OK with thinking people?
    Guess again there Einstein.
    Go sell that hillbilly horseshit to those who read and agree with your twisted fucked up Marxist assumptions.

  • admin:

    Maybe you could take off one string and replace it with another. Maybe a thicker one.

    Hillbilly horseshit? I adore you 🙂

    How about them czars? Introduced by Nixon and perfected by Reagan. How about them Ralph?

  • David Lee 3:

    Bravo!
    This rocked harder than I can recall.

    Cheers mate!

  • Ralph:

    Oh, I get it, I’m supposed to be put back on my heels because Regan and Nixon had czars?
    Let me tell you there sparky, I and many like me are NOT, fans of Regan, Nixon, the Bushes as I and many like me are not fans of Clinton or Obama.
    So what you’re saying is that because Regan had a drug czar that was at that time accountable both houses, then it’s perfectly OK for Obama to have 32 that are covered under the secrecy of executive privilege? An executive privilege order Obama and Obama alone, has instituted on the level which no other president has ever done. Or should I say Rham Emanuel has. After all, Emanuel is running the white house just as Rove did in the Bush administration. Oh I forgot, I’m supposed to be a lunatic right wing nut case and just blindly support any republican like you just blindly support democrats.
    Well sparky., nothing could be further from the truth.
    But then again, you wouldn’t know the truth if it bit you in the ass because you are nothing but a demagogue. Plain and simple.
    The Democratic Party become arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans as evidenced in your blog Mike.
    Though you and your “Progressive democrats” claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, your side have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers (one reason for the hypocritical absence of tort reform in the healthcare bills proposed by the democrats). Upon seeing your readily apparent worship of highly individualistic, secularized self-actualization, assholes like you are as a whole amazingly credulous these days about big-government solutions to every social problem. You see no danger in expanding government authority into yet another intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy like medicade, medicare or social security. This is, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of the authentic 1960s leftism you and your brethren “Progressives” seem to in a knee jerk reactionary sense pontificate on ad-nausea.
    If there were proposals for Tort reform and introduce real competition in the health care system that PRIVATE companies would be allowed to have more rein in there offerings, you’d see public opinion change. Do you have any idea how much the average cost of medical malpractice insurance costs? Then factor in the costs of just being a doctor. The amount is staggering with malpractice taking the lead in cost.
    Now Mike, get your thinkin’ beanie on cause’ I’m going to try to engage some very basis critical thinking about this.
    A private insurance company doing business in the USA, uses the currency of the US dollar and pays taxes on every US dollar to the United States government.
    So Not only does a private firm need to make a profit, but they are taxed on that profit.
    As a private firm needs to make money for it’s survival and share holders, they must come up with ever changing new ways to keep the company solvent.
    The federal government does not need to do any of this. In order for a government run program to survive, all it needs to do is ask for more money from the US treasury which gets it’s money from taxes. Taxes from everyone but lion’s share being from private companies which have to pay and those monies are targeted to paying for the public government program.
    The more a private company get’s ahead, the more it has to pay in taxes, the more the government program gets behind the more funding it will need.
    Do you see a pattern here Mike?
    Of course you do not because affluent middle-class Democrats demagogues like you now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it’s invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote “critical thinking,” which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms (“racism, sexism, homophobia”) when confronted with any social issue. Your brain Mike and those who support you has been marinating so long in those clichés that it’s positively pickled. One only need to thumb through your blog to see how myopic and closed minded you actually are.
    Your blog is a shining example of intolerance, ignorance and language usage that is simply for the sake of sound appeal.
    You are a blow hard Mike.

  • doc:

    Good grief. What a wingnut racist. I wonder if he even likes himself.

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