We watched the President's speech today. Most of the school kids in our area didn't because it wasn't "part of the curriculum." It doesn't seem like it was all that long ago when civics (good citizenship) WAS part of the curriculum. The kids should have been excited and honored that the President of the United States of America would take time out of his rather busy schedule to talk to them about things that were important to them. I was excited. My kids were excited. So we watched it (I'm the teacher so I can get away with such curriculum manipulation.) The kids thought it was cool, that everyone did a great job, and that the President had some good advice and was funny. I was disappointed. After all the hoopla I thought there must be at least a bit of a subversive political message buried in the text. There wasn't. The President was trying to encourage kids to stay in school, keep trying even when they failed or things were tough, and follow their dreams. He challenged them to become the leaders we need for the future, their future. If it was brainwashing we could sure use some more of it.
I should have known better than to expect anything but the best from the President. But the fledgling optimist on my right shoulder kept whispering that all these people can't be totally wrong. So I watched for something subversive and didn't find it. The crusty old cynic on my left shoulder laughed and said "See, people are stupid! I've always told you to assume that people are stupid until they prove otherwise." They rarely do.