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President Barack Obama encourages school children

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President Barack Obama AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
While it is your constitutional right to freedom of speech, it is illegal to shout fire in a crowded theatre when you know there is no fire. The panic and pure pandemonium that could be caused by such a statement, as history has taught us, may result in more than a good rib tickling. Chaos, confusion, and even death, have been some of the results of such a thoughtless prank.
 
Today, some people are yelling, “Fire!”
 
On this date, some students will hear a speech by President Barack Obama. Some students will not. I have personally read the speech. In my interpretation, it is not “socialist propaganda to brainwash children” as some opponents of the speech have said.   The speech does, however, speak to personal responsibility when it comes to each individual’s education. “What you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you end up,” is a direct quote taken from the speech. The President also goes on to discuss people in history who didn’t have it easy, but, through hard work and education, they were able to eventually achieve their goals. 
 
The speech is reminiscent of a poem, “Mother to Son,” by Langston Hughes.  
 
Mother to Son
 
Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
Bare.
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
 
 The President’s speech to school children is meant to offer encouragement. 
 
Instead of being upset because of one speech on one day, as a society, maybe we should be upset concerning the ills that plague schools all day every day. Let’s get upset about teacher shortages and teacher pay. Let’s get upset about class sizes being too large and the inferior education that some students receive that makes the children in this country fall behind students in other countries who are managing to do a better job of educating their youth. Let’s get upset about the message that some are sending to young people—it’s okay to disrespect the highest office in the land and the person who holds that office.   Let’s get upset about the fact that “a house divided will never stand.”  We are, after all, the United States of America.
 
 
 
 

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