Is this real must-see TV?

Published 12:14 pm Saturday, September 5, 2009

Much news has been made about President Barack Obama’s plan to televise a speech, directly to students across the country on the importance of taking responsibility for their education, challenging them to set goals and do everything they can to succeed.

I’m not political by nature. I avoid most State of the Union Addresses and most televised political speeches.

I care just as much about Barack Obama’s messages and agendas as I did about George W. Bush’s and Bill Clinton’s, and that isn’t much.

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What has alarmed me is the outcry from the public who are, or seem to be, completely against this idea.

I’ve heard people calling it Obama’s way or brainwashing our children or his way to recruit impressionable minds to support the healthcare agenda.

I would think the President of the United States would have long realized that the target audience of this message are A) too young to vote and B) probably don’t care about healthcare since Mom and Dad pretty much handle all that.

It’s likely that he has realized this. Just his detractors haven’t.

Demopolis has taken a proactive approach to what appears to be a problem headed down the chute Tuesday. The principals will screen the video and any interested students will be able to watch it so long as it’s deemed appropriate by the administrators and at a time that doesn’t interfere with classes.

I completely agree with that.

What I have a hard time agreeing with is those who think the very idea of Obama speaking to students is heinous.

If Nick Saban were to broadcast a message to the students in Alabama about the importance of taking responsibility for their education, challenging them to set goals and do everything they can to succeed, would there still be such an outcry?

Very little is ever said when the Power Team shows up to the schools to lift heavy objects, tear a few phonebooks and spread God’s word.

What has made Obama such the villain?

How can a man who less than a year ago garnered the majority of a nationwide popular vote inspire so many people to speak out against his plan for a televised address, which amounts to little more than a pep talk?

As a parent of a child in Westside Elementary, I can say that I have no problem with Lizzie watching this video. I seriously doubt, at 5 years old, she’d understand it, but I wouldn’t have a problem with it if she were 15.

I don’t see how a 15-minute video encouraging students to work harder, a few shredded phonebooks by the Power Team or a life lesson courtesy of Jeremiah Castille negatively impacts my child’s education. If the Leader of the Free World, Nick Saban or anyone else wants to reinforce to my daughter the importance of a quality education, I’m okay with that.

Jason Cannon is publisher of the Demopolis Times.