09.08.09 -------/ After all the hoopla, President Obama finally gave his publically protested address to America’s children.
He steered clear of politics and proved wrong those opponents who accused him of trying to indoctrinate America's children.
Although many Presidents of the past often visit schools, several conservative organizations and many concerned parents warned Obama was trying to sell his political agenda.
The uproar over his speech followed Obama across the Potomac River, as his motorcade was greeted by a small band of protesters. One carried a sign exclaiming: "Mr. President, stay away from our kids."
Instead, Obama challenged the nation's students to take pride and ownership in their education — and stick with it even if they don't like every class or must overcome tough circumstances at home.
"Every single one of you has something that you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is."
Obama, accompanied by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, met with some 40 students gathered in the library of Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virgina before the speech carried on ESPN and on the White House Web site.
"When I was your age," Obama said, "I was a little bit of a goof-off. My main goal was to get on the varsity basketball team and have fun."
One young person addressed the pink elephant in the room and asked why the country doesn't have universal health insurance. "I think we need it. I think we can do it," Obama replied. The president said the country can afford to insure all Americans and that doing so will save money in the long run.
In his conversation with the Wakefield students, Obama said that not having a father at home "forced me to grow up faster."
One young person asked the president whom he would choose to dine with if he could make only one such selection.
"Gandhi," Obama replied. "He's somebody I find a lot of inspiration in. He inspired Dr. (Martin Luther) King" with his message of nonviolence.
"He ended up doing so much and changed the world just by the power of his ethics," Obama said of the inspirational leader Mahatma Gandhi. At another point, Obama told the students that "a lot of people are counting on me."
The school he chose as the setting for his talk — Wakefield — is the most economically and racially diverse school in Arlington County, according to the Department of Education. Nearly 40 percent of graduating seniors pass an Advanced Placement test. That's more than twice the national average.
"There is no excuse for not trying" he said in the speech. He said students must be individually responsible for their education, and that it's important to work hard, pay attention in school and complete assignments.
"Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it," Obama said. "The truth is, being successful is hard. You won't love every subject that you study. You won't click with every teacher that you have."
"At the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents and the best schools in the world, and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities," the president said.
Sadly, although it seemed like one step forward for America to elect a black President, the recent protest equates to two steps back.
I’m saddened at the blatant racism as well as the acceptance of that disrespect. Heaven forbid that the children of many firm conservatives and Caucasian Americans look up to a black, educated man and incidentally is the Chief Commander of the United States.
When is it an outrage for educated man to encourage youth to be successful, focused and steadfast in their pursuit?
Furthermore when will America fully accept black Americans? News flash….the election of President Obama apparently wasn’t it.