Shooting the Messenger: Was Obama’s Speech Dead Upon Arrival?

September 9, 2009 at 2:34 am 8 comments

2512086374_5da1610fc9As much as I’d like to talk about Jon Gosselin’s appearance on ABC News Primetime: Family Secrets last night, I’m withholding that commentary to discuss what an even more important Dad had to say yesterday.

*Gasp!* More significant than what the most villainous soon-to-be-ex-husband in reality TV decided to get off his chest in complete prime-time-soap-opera-victimhood fashion? Yes, I know. Hard to believe. But, there are more important things going on in the world than the daily tabloid spectacle of Jon and Kate Gosselin’s messy divorce. Though, even I have been known to get caught up in all the marital drama. But, I digress.

I don’t know to who, but it may come as a surprise to someone that the president spoke to our nation’s youth in school classrooms yesterday live via C-SPAN and the White House website.

With all the controversy surrounding the accompanying lesson plans that were to be handed out to classrooms yesterday, many became suspicious of what the speech itself might contain in addition to the education message that was announced. It’s hard to imagine that the president, or his speechwriters and advisers, would be so bold as to put anything political in a speech to school children at a time when he needs to pull the country together to pass his extremely polarizing political agenda. And whether that is what people believed would happen or they just weren’t willing to have their children addressed by a man they so vehemently disagree with, one thing is for sure: the message became overshadowed by the messenger.

I read the president’s speech with an open mind on Monday night. Admittedly, I was half expecting there to be something in there I would disagree with. But, I found nothing. Instead, I thought the speech was inspiring and highly motivational. I imagined myself as a 16-year-old kid listening to this speech and being moved by the historical magnitude of it all. What was the theme? That if I work hard enough, I can achieve anything in this country. That nothing stands between me and my dreams except my willingness to pursue them, regardless of how rich or poor I am. Hardly liberal indoctrination.

So, I was surprised that instead of being pleased with this message, or at least relieved, there still remained many hold-outs who didn’t want their kids to receive it.

After posting on Facebook that I gave the speech an “A+,” I heard from several friends that they weren’t buying it from Obama. I scratched my head for a bit and then… it suddenly made sense. This reaction just confirms what I supposed in my previous post, that the level of distrust for this president has become an overriding factor in the people’s acceptance of any move he makes. If you don’t trust the messenger, you will likely reject the message.

Before he even got to “hello,” it seems the president’s speech may have been dead upon arrival in the minds of many who equate approval of the message with approval of the man and his agenda.

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The Donkey in the Room Not 21 Anymore!

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lori in Denver  |  September 9, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Too often political issues are ones of entrenchment rather than enlightenment. We decide based on the messenger — or even the R or D after the messenger’s name — before we heard the message.

    I read the comments you mention and I agree with many of them. And I agree with you, too. I’m so agreeable 🙂

    • 2. Mama Bird  |  September 9, 2009 at 11:49 pm

      It’s often hard to switch that R or D off in our minds when evaluating content isn’t it?

  • 3. Brandie  |  September 9, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    It is too bad. I really didn’t have an opinion I saw it splashed all over the news like he was going to publicly hang someone. Seriously people this is the country where we cancel regularly scheduled programming to listen to the President. What happened to the respect that office commands? I may not agree with everything he does but he is a father and I hope when it comes down to it he respects this country and our children like he does his own. Oh well better luck next time I suppose!


    • 4. Mama Bird  |  September 9, 2009 at 11:47 pm

      I definitely got the “fatherly” feel from his message. I think that was also part of the appeal for me. I’m sure many of these kids needed that.

  • 5. Aimee Greeblemonkey  |  September 10, 2009 at 12:10 am

    I’m late on this but both posts were great, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • 6. Fiona  |  September 12, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I think that Obama is definitely a role model for anything is possible .. I think as president and human he deserves respect whether I agree with him or not. I recently reregistered independent because i’m just so sick of all politicians. I’m also sick of people who pick a side and then never give another listen to any other side. They all just give me a headache!

    • 7. Mama Bird  |  September 14, 2009 at 12:05 am

      Pass the Tylenol, Fiona!

  • 8. bluecottonmemory  |  September 14, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    I commented on the speech with a follow up post. I think the original speech planned changed by the time it was printed for viewing on Monday. The content didn’t go with the questionnaire sent out to teachers. I almost felt like it was a bait and switch. I admire your objectivity. It’s a shame most do not approach politics the same way.


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