Tomorrow belongs to me *UPDATED*

My daughter, who attends middle school, told me that she understood the the take-away message from Obama’s speech to be “The future is your responsibility,” a thought she found unpleasantly burdensome.  Generally, she thought the speech was long and boring.

As for the “tomorrow belongs to you” aspect of Obama’s little talk, my mind irresistibly floated to the song below.  I am not comparing Obama to Hitler. This song is not a Nazi song.  It’s an American Broadway song. It’s just that the song’s title and refrain were such a perfect match for the way in which my daughter understood Obama’s message:

My daughter, incidentally, wasn’t the only child to find Obama dull.

UPDATE:  My elementary school aged son just got home and he too thought it was boring.  Some kids simply tuned out altogether.

UPDATE II:  Two bloggers make the excellent point that sending a direct message to children about education is not the President’s job and that in itself makes Obama’s speech suspect.  (See here and here.) And yes, other presidents have spoken to school children, but those have usually been one and one classroom experiences, not broadcast to a nation of captive children, and no president before has ever been so dismissive of his constitutional boundaries.

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Comments

  1. Quisp says

    Perhaps the children would have perked up if he’d closed with the “fired up” pep rally shtick he dug out of the campaign trunk for the AFL-CIO picnic.

    Our school system didn’t even mention the speech. As my 9 year old said, “It was an Obama-free day for me.”

  2. SADIE says

    “It was an Obama-free day for me.”

    (((sigh))) I am jealous.

    Please contact your local school board and ask them if they have enough pull to deliver the rest of us for a day.

  3. Blake says

    I understand that you are not comparing Obama to Hitler. I say it’s not improper to compare the means used to get the messages across, though.

    FYI the song was intended by the composer and lyricist to be a modern surrogate for a genuine Nazi anthem; it’s not just a “Broadway show tune,” not at all. It was written for the musical in the style of songs used by the Nazis. Stormfront, a Neo-Nazi group, has taken the song as sung in the film as one of its inspirations. The lyricist, Fred Ebb, is (I understand) Jewish, but that makes no difference to today’s Nazis. They like the song anyway, and have essentially claimed it.

    The old Nazis did have some beautiful songs, and this one is written in what is called the “Laendler” form; it’s a type of folk song, traditional, and very easy to sing.

    There are many parallels that one can draw between political rallies and events of today and decades ago. I think many of the communist parades, songs and spectacles must have been thrilling — as they were intended to be. Today’s political extravaganzas have precedents, some of them politically ugly. Obama posing triumphantly before his fake Greek temple comes to mind. Sometimes his body language reminds me of Mussolini, and those children’s choirs singing his praises make my skin crawl — too, too creepy (IMHO it’s wrong to do that to tiny kids). Well, whether it’s well-intended or a mistake in parenting, it’s all showmanship. Noting the parallels and similarities is not evil.

    So I think you would be perfectly correct to compare Obama’s impact on your child with the impact of Nazi propaganda. Like any politician of whatever stripe, Obama pitched, and the kids responded — like kids. (When the first Bush did it, the Democrats howled bloody murder, though, and held hearings.)

  4. Gringo says

    Book:

    My daughter, incidentally, wasn’t the only child to find Obama dull.

    I have not perused the speech myself, but I found a blog comment to the point. Lincoln’s Gettysburg address to adults was two minutes long. Obama’s address to children was twenty minutes long. Are we surprised they found it boring?

  5. says

    Suppose the commanding general of an Army made frequent speeches to the troops about things like the need to keep your rifle clean and sighted in properly and to keep your socks dry when fighting in inclement weather. Wouldn’t your reaction be, “Hey, isn’t that what we have corporals and sergeants and lieutenants for?” And if the corporals and sergeants and lieutenants are *not* properly transmitting the message to the soldiers about these important details, maybe they need to be replaced.

    Similarly, if the President of the United States has to lecture people on the things Obama just lectured about, then maybe the *schools* are failing and need to be fixed. Yet Obama’s Democrats have been the primary obstacle to either imposing meaningful performance standards on the public schools or enabling meaningful competition to them.

  6. SADIE says

    Similarly, if the President of the United States has to lecture people on the things Obama just lectured about, then maybe the *schools* are failing and need to be fixed.

    The lecture was like putting the cart before the horse. A school district rises and falls with the community of parents and caregivers, who have a vested interest in the success of their children/students.

    His 20 minute pep rally would have been better spent getting the message across that single teen mothers and absent fathers thwart the educational process and will enslave another generation into poverty. Instead, he reminded the kids that he made mistakes when in actuality it was his parents, who made a pile of them and that he just ‘lucked’ out growing up the first 10 years with his mother and step father and the next 10 in Hawaii (not exactly your inner city experience) with his grandparents.

  7. says

    Sometime as a leader you have to bypass the intermediaries who *should* be doing the job and go directly to the troops, in situations where you have a really lousy set of intermediaries…say, if you’re the new CEO of a badly-mismanaged company. But your MAIN job is to trade out the intermediaries so that the process can run without being top-down-driven. The speech-giving may be necessary, but it’s not a substitute for structural action.

  8. SADIE says

    bypass the intermediaries

    Point well made – well taken.

    It takes a lot of strength to hold up the roof of a house, while the structure and foundation are being laid.

  9. MAc0ck says

    Obama is not like Adolph Hitler, he is no where near that league.
     
    He is just doing what his handlers in the financial sector have told him to do, he does not have the guts or the will power to die for the right causes.
     
    But that beer garden song does prove a point that we would like to think is true today.
    If you feel that tomorrow belongs to you, then you work hard today for that tomorrow.
    In this world governed by greedy people with very little moral or ethical foundations, it may mean that many men and women may need to die in order for this country to survive.
     
    How many people that are citizens of the U.S.A. are willing to die for what is right?
    I rest my case.

Trackbacks

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    Like most parents, I was fine with my daughter listening to President Obama’s speech today. Several of my fellow bloggers got reactions from their children regarding the speech that are worth reading. When I asked my fifth-grader how it was……

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