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for RSS Feed Airy Persiflage
8 September 2009
It turns out that Obama's Socialist agenda is every bit as
nefarious as the so-called "gay
agenda." I'm so glad I'm not a parent of school children; I'd hate to have
my children exposed to the likes of this:
The President: Hello everyone hows everybody
doing today? Im here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia.
And weve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through
twelfth grade. Im glad you all could join us today.
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in
kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, its your first day in a new school,
so its understandable if youre a little nervous. I imagine there are some
seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go.
And no matter what grade youre in, some of you are probably wishing it were still
summer, and you couldve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and
my mother didnt have the money to send me where all the American kids went to
school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday at
4:30 in the morning.
Now I wasnt too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, Id fall
asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever Id complain, my mother would
just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either,
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But Im here today
because I have something important to discuss with you. Im here because I want to
talk with you about your education and whats expected of all of you in this new
Now Ive given a lot of speeches about education. And Ive talked a lot about
Ive talked about your teachers responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing
you to learn.
Ive talked about your parents responsibility for making sure you stay on
track, and get your homework done, and dont spend every waking hour in front of the
TV or with that Xbox.
Ive talked a lot about your governments responsibility for setting high
standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that arent
working where students arent getting the opportunities they deserve.
But 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. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to
those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard
work it takes to succeed.
And thats what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your
education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something youre good at. Every single one of you has
something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is.
Thats the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer maybe even good enough to write a book or articles
in a newspaper but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English
class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor maybe even good enough to
come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine but you might not know it
until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or
a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or
the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life I guarantee that youll need
an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You
want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? Youre
going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You cant drop
out of school and just drop into a good job. Youve got to work for it and train for
it and learn for it.
And this isnt just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of
your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What youre
learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest
challenges in the future.
Youll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to
cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our
environment. Youll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in
history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination,
and make our nation more fair and more free. Youll need the creativity and ingenuity
you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can
help solve our most difficult problems. If you dont do that if you quit on
school youre not just quitting on yourself, youre quitting on your
Now I know its not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have
challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what thats like. My father left my family when I was two years old,
and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and
wasnt always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I
missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I
didnt fit in.
So I wasnt always as focused as I should have been. I did some things Im not
proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken
a turn for the worse.
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to
college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has
a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didnt have
much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools
in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you dont have adults in your life
who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job,
and theres not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you
dont feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life what you look like, where
you come from, how much money you have, what youve got going on at home
thats no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. Thats
no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school.
Thats no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesnt have to determine where youll end up. No
ones written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You
make your own future.
Thats what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didnt speak English when
she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of
her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to
Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to
being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
Im thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, whos fought
brain cancer since he was three. Hes endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries,
one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer hundreds of extra
hours to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and hes headed to
college this fall.
And then theres Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when
bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get
a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and
shes on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell arent any different from any of you. They faced
challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to
take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of
you to do the same.
Thats why today, Im calling on each of you to set your own goals for your
education and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as
simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day
reading a book. Maybe youll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity,
or volunteer in your community. Maybe youll decide to stand up for kids who are
being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe,
like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe youll
decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those
lines, I hope youll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you
dont feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful
without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or
being a reality TV star, when chances are, youre not going to be any of those
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You wont love every subject you study.
You wont click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem
completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you wont necessarily succeed
at everything the first time you try.
Thats OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones whove
had the most failures. JK Rowlings first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times
before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball
team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But
he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why
These people succeeded because they understand that you cant let your failures
define you you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do
differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesnt mean youre a
troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that
doesnt mean youre stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
No ones born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work.
Youre not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You dont hit
every note the first time you sing a song. Youve got to practice. Its the same
with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it
right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a
paper before its good enough to hand in.
Dont be afraid to ask questions. Dont be afraid to ask for help when you need
it. I do that every day. Asking for help isnt a sign of weakness, its a sign
of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you dont know something,
and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust a parent, grandparent or
teacher; a coach or counselor and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your
And even when youre struggling, even when youre discouraged, and you feel like
other people have given up on you dont ever give up on yourself. Because when
you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isnt about people who quit when things got tough. Its
about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do
anything less than their best.
Its the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a
revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame
a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon.
Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and
changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, whats your contribution going to be? What problems are
you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here
in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the
education you need to answer these questions. Im working hard to fix up your
classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But
youve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect
you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of
you. So dont let us down dont let your family or your country or
yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.
Nobody thought anything about a lying incompetent who couldn't string
two sentences together without a grammatical gaff, many of whose administration may yet
come under indictment or impeachment, speaking to the children of this country. But
they tried to paint Obama as an Islamic terrorist and he won the election any way.
They tried to de-legitimize his presidency by saying he wasn't really born in this
country. When those two charges didn't stick, they're trying to paint him as some
terrible Socialist out to corrupt the morals of our children. I will admit that so
far I'm not really impressed with much of the Obama administration, but I still have
confidence in him as a good man and a possible good president.
And if this is a taste of the kind of Socialism we're to expect from
this administration, I'm ready to sign up right now.
OF THE DAY
Two of our three granddaughters
(Ned and Marta left The Bouncer at home)