Anyone changed their mind about the Obama school speech now that they've seen it?

I’m not a US citizen, so the whole controversy was mostly an unpleasant distraction, resulting in a mess of a GD thread, but I did watch the speech just now.


What did you think of the whole subject/controversy beforehand and did watching the actual speech change your mind?

My answer:

I thought the whole controversy was pretty strange, but then, I’m a fairly leftist kind of guy (or moderately leftist for a Dutch guy), and Obama has always seemed to me to be fairly reasonable and moderate.

About the actual speech: the only thing I found slightly strange was the focus on (paraphrased) “don’t letting your country down/doing the best for your country”. I’ve never heard anything like that by any politician over here in the Netherlands, especially not when talking to kids. But as far as I can see that’s pretty much standard phrasing in the US. That was somewhat jarring, but the rest of it was pretty good and occasionally inspirational.

So, what about you? Please only respond if you’ve actually seen/read the speech. Also please don’t go attacking each others opinions, there’s a great debate thread for that.

You have to remember that many of the people upset about the speech foam at the mouth when they hear the name Obama.

It reminds me that every year or so a TV show will get people riled up and people write letters when they have never seen the show.

The people who said it was going to be brainwashing are now saying the only reason it wasn’t is because they spoke up in the first place.

I didn’t vote for Obama (or for McCain), but the whole “controversy” always seemed stupid to me. It’s not like a president would go on TV and promote socialism/communism/whatever to school children (FTR I don’t think Obama is an advocate of any of these things).

There was never a chance that the speech was going to be anything more than an “Education is important, so stay in school,” kind of thing.

I saw someone congratulating fellow conservatives for sticking together and “making” the White House throw out the ENTIRE previous speech because they demanded it. Eh? All they did was change the wording of one of the post-speech discussion questions. Oy.

(I haven’t had a chance to read/hear the speech yet, hopefully it’s still online when I have time tomorrow.)

I felt like kicking a dog earlier when I was watching the news (here in Texas).

One school opted out of the Obama speech but two weeks from now they are bussing an ass load of precious snow flakes to Cowboys stadium to hear good ol’ GW Bush give a speech.

The fact is the kids don’t need a “pep talk” from the president, any president be it Republican or Democrat.

The bottom line is if they aired this speech after school and said, whoever wants to see it can stay, can see it, those who want to go home can go home, honestly how many kids would stay?

Very few, that’s how many.

The fact they make it manditory is the issue, school needs to be about the basics not political pep talks, and yes it’s politics, 'cause if it wasn’t Obama could’ve made his speech available on the Internet or on a television address and let the kids watch in their own time.

Again given a choice kids would choose NOT to watch. The speech is only an excuse NOT to do classwork. I was a kid once and we would use any excuse not to do school work.

And if it was GW Bush I’d feel the same way, kids don’t need pep talks, they are useless bits of self propaganda. Do you really think any kid is going to say “Oh my God, now that I’ve seen President Obama, I’ll get my act together and shape up and fly right.” C’mon they won’t.

It’s so next election Mr Obama can say “but he CARES about the kids, he reached out to the children.” And again it’s not Mr Obama it’s all politicians. Hell it’s all commercials. Look at how they pander to emotions.

And you can’t blame kids 'cause all they want is an excuse NOT to do school work, be it an assembly or a televised speech.

So ask yourself this, would your kids or any other kids watch this speech in their own free time? Don’t answer me, but be honest with yourself, I for one do not believe many kids would watch this speech in their own time as opposed to playing a video game or to watching “Family Guy” for the 20th time.

So you thought Bush Sr. and Reagan were stupid and wasting their time when they did the same thing?

Also, did you even read the speech? It’s completely nonpolitical. Not everything politicians do is about getting votes.

Also also, you know why people give pep talks? Because they work. Maybe not for you, but for most people, they help a little bit.

I’m guessing you do not have kids.

Oh my gosh, you’re right! I asked my daughter if she would have watched the president’s speech if she didn’t have to. She answered, “no”.

Then I asked her if she would go to school if she didn’t have to. Same answer.


I’m not Markxxx, of course, but I would say yes - all mandatory-viewed Presidential speeches to kids are pretty dumb. I can remember the different (I guess you would now call them) motivational speakers and programs I sat through in my school years. And at least for my classmates and I they were basically a chance to sleep, pass notes, or get some good wisecracks in. The ones that actually stuck by me, that I remember today and still use in parts, were the ones I attended voluntarily. Those, I feel, work for most people - but I have major doubts this kind really do all that much long-term good for the kids. Want to really impress me and almost assure my vote next time around? Do the same basic thing next year but air it on Saturday morning or Thursday evening and let the kids (and families) interested watch it, and discuss it, for themselves.

Now about the speech itself. I had some concerns over the “prep” of “how can I help the President” (I would have preferred “how can I help this country”) thing so I went into it not really a fan. But I did enjoy it and I am glad President Obama gave it. Like a good “children’s sermon”, it seemed geared as much as us adults as the kids he was speaking to - aimed just barely over their heads and at us. And it may be something I needed to hear right now - that a difference can still be made and work can still count.

One of the most famous U.S. president quotes was from John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country!”

We all hate each other over here unless it comes down to the integrity and well-being of the U.S. in which case the vast majority of us are very patriotic.

Visit the same kid in five years. If there has been a major alteration in his life habits and he attributes them back to this speech, I will indeed be impressed. Just do it without the cameras and microphones; sometimes they change what a kid (or anyone) will say.

I am no fan of Obama, but I thought the speech was fine.

I asked my kids (first grader and fourth grader) if they would have watched the speech in their own time, and they both said yes. Of course, they watched the presidential debates, and the inauguration, and are generally aware of world events and politics. Incidentally, they do not watch Family Guy, because that is an awful show for small children (and adults, IMHO).

They both felt Obama did a good job, and claimed the other kids in their class liked the speech. I doubt either of them will make huge changes in their life, but they seem to be on a good path anyway. I can assure you, though, that for at least a couple kids in my fourth grader’s class, Obama’s life story is very inspiring. I know this because they told me.

This lady probably didn’t hear the speech or change her mind. Of course, it’s just a parody.

It wasn’t mandatory, for fuck’s sake.

Hahaha. Cheers :slight_smile: