Monday, September 7, 2009

Obama's Problems Run Deeper Than a Simple Speech to Students

Not only is the honeymoon over—the in-laws are livid.

President Obama has a lot on his plate this week and he gets little sympathy from the people of Utah. His speech on Tuesday to the nation’s school children is ruffling more feathers than he anticipated, and nobody seems to be looking forward to what the U.S. Department of Education calls an "historic" event. Parents are angry. School administrators are nervous. Students are indifferent.

To its credit, the Obama administration released the text of the President’s speech. And from what I can see, it contains nothing overtly political or controversial. I actually liked it.

But to understand why so many Utahns mistrust Mr. Obama, one must recall the ‘Farmington Fiasco’. About ten days ago, the principal of an elementary school in Farmington, Utah was lambasted by incensed parents and teachers after showing the controversial (and creepy) “I Pledge” video to the students in her school. In the video, celebrities are shown pledging their service to President Obama along with a few controversial political causes. Perhaps movie stars don’t understand that the President serves the people? It’s not the other way around.

The video, created back in January, wasn’t sponsored by the Obama administration. And for some, it’s quite an inspiring message. But for many parents in Utah it was a palpable case of political propaganda. Orwellian, even.

The speech the President will give to schoolchildren on Tuesday has nothing to do with that video, but the Farmington Fiasco, combined with the now-retracted curriculum sent to teachers from the DOE encouraging students to write letters about “what they could do to help the President”, has left a sour taste in the mouths of Utah’s parents and teachers. They loathe the President’s alleged Big Government ‘socialist’ agenda. They don’t like that he hires people like Van Jones, a professed Marxist, to work in his administration. They can’t understand the moral justification for income redistribution or trillion-dollar government entitlements during a recession. They hate that he downplays or mocks conservative healthcare protesters. And they don’t trust him to speak to their children.

Is it all unwarranted hysteria? Probably. But Mr. Obama has brought this mess on himself.


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