School Day Subjugation

On the first day of school the White House strongly encouraged teachers relinquish their traditional role of setting the tone for the year to none other than America's new Our Miss Brooks, Barack Obama.  In the midst of the chaos and anticipation of September 8th Obama felt it imperative to inject himself directly into the center of the frenetic activity with a message vital to insure nationwide student success for the coming term.  

Seemingly oblivious to the fact that the last thing children want to do on the first day is be lectured to, President Obama believed his presence so essential to scholastic achievement that postponing it until things calmed down was not an option. For instance, what student on the first day of school wants to be harangued about the dismal things Obama finds necessary to persistently broach?  Even he admitted, " 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." An accurate assessment especially after students found out last week that a hot, sweaty assembly, brought to you by Principal/President Barack Obama, was scheduled for the first day.

Chalk to the board, Obama put things in perspective by illustrating his unequivocal ability to relate.  To distract wandering minds from animal crackers scheduled for snack time, he commenced the speech by highlighting the harsh poverty, exhaustion and fatherlessness he experienced as a child.  Not wasting the political opportunity to appeal to those who home school, Obama said " mother didn't have money to send me where all the American kids went to school.  So she decided to teach me extra 4:30 a.m. in the morning...I'd fall asleep right there at the kitchen table." 

Little ones struggling with parental separation anxiety and  a tad nervous their school bus might not know where to pick them up were lectured to by Obama about responsibility to cure diseases like cancer, AIDs and individual duty to protect the environment.  Students were exhorted  to think critically and urged to  "...fight poverty, homelessness, crime and discrimination."    Obama reminded children anticipating recess of the pervading negativities they face in a repressive nation that without their help will fail to become  "...more fair and free."  How is that for overloading a backpack on the first day?

Continuing to scare the bejeezus out of those who thought the first day might provide the chance to show off their new IPhone, Obama followed up by discussing abandonment at two by his Kenyan father.  He then shared being raised in paucity by a single mother.  Sharing that his mother, "...wasn't always able to give him things the other kids had" incited visions of the President attending school with a rusty lunchbox wearing second hand sneakers. It‘s a wonder petrified children didn't come crashing through the double doors, screaming onto the streets.

Obama told the little slackers scoping out the location of their cubby and those having their first session with the school psychiatrist to buck up.  Using himself as the standard Obama chronicled a list of inexcusable justifications for not succeeding like absentee parents, lack of emotional support, skyrocketing unemployment, pervasive poverty, and scary, dangerous neighborhoods.  He then went on in a roundabout way to  laud the benefits of Affirmative Action by admitting that he, "...wasn't always as focused as he should have been."  Yet, in spite of getting in trouble and having less than stellar grades he was "fortunate."  Extolling an unfair quota system that gives entry into prestigious colleges based on skin color, he stated both he and Michelle benefited from  "...a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school and follow their dreams."

To provide children a relevant example of success Obama described the horror of brain cancer suffered by Los Altos, California student, Andoni Schultz sick since three years old.  Horror-stricken children were subjected to Obama reciting a litany of Schultz's surgeries and treatments, loss of memory and undue suffering and pain.  But then again who better than the President to help children toss aside their flip-flops after a summer being superficially consumed with swimming, Italian Ices, Sponge Bob Square pants and Miley Cyrus and get back in touch with reality? 

The President proudly cited Shantell Steve who works in a health center servicing the mean streets of his hometown of Chicago.  If second graders managed to cease crying and catch their breath long enough to stop shaking; Obama did not help their cause by mentioning Shantell bouncing for years from foster home to foster home.  Now freed from the system and working to help keep kids at risk out of gangs, she is in a position to furnish Obama with candidates for positions in his administration.  It would be interesting to find out the number of bathroom passes in use or how many children were scrambling to see the school nurse.

Community organizer extraordinaire and ACORN aficionado Barack Obama challenged American children accept responsibility by serving their community.  His recruitment effort included asking preschool children to, "...get involved in an extracurricular activities or volunteer," which likely sent a perplexing message to those who live in the bullet-dodging neighborhoods he mentioned two minutes prior.  He then went on to press those who refuse to share finger paint or cry if someone knocks over the milk to commit " stand up for kids being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look."  

Students, who preceding the Webinar responded to their teacher's question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" with, "TV star or professional ball player," were likely traumatized to find out from the President that, "...chances are, you're not going to be any of those things."  The same children whose hopes and dreams were dashed to the ground were then encouraged with a quote from Michael Jordan that after failing in their effort to be whatever it is they're never going to keep trying. 

A President with no experience expounding on the premise that "No one is born being good at've got to practice" should give pause to anyone with more than a sixth grade education.   Reciting straight out of Saul Alinsky's, Rules for Radicals Obama instructed his fidgety audience that, "if you get in trouble, that doesn't mean you're a trouble maker, it means you need to try harder to behave."  In other words, from one rabble-rouser to another, do whatever necessary to fit in. 

After a long hard summer Obama shed light on something he has come to 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." By addressing Congress Obama plans to follow up his lecture with a lab demonstrating to American children how to repackage a message and " it differently the next time".

Ending his controversial address Obama challenged his weary young charges with arduous life burdens to shoulder like, "What's your contribution going to be?  What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make?" Saving the most profound inquiry for last, Barack Obama posed a question much more in need of his response than one from the children he addressed, "What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what you did for this country?"

Jeannie DeAngelis blogs at