Monday, September 07, 2009

Obama's "I Walked Through Five Feet of Snow" Moment

In a way, conservatives are right about President Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren being indoctrination. It's indoctrination into the dominant ideology of individualism. But it's hard to see why conservatives object. They believe in individualism just as much as Obama.

What I found charming about Obama's speech was this "standard parent moment of telling kids how tough he had it when he was a kid. Every parent gives this speech hundreds of times while their kids are growing up and every kid ignores this speech every time their parents give it. In our house, it's called the "I Walked Through Five Feet of Snow" Speech.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn't 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 wasn't too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I'd fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I'd complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
For that matter, I did walk through five feet of snow to go to dances in a neighboring town while I was in high school. Or was it "I walked five miles through the snow?" I forget now. And maybe Obama didn't really take classes at 4:30 in the morning. Maybe it was 3:30 in the morning before he went out for his pre-school job in the oil fields.

Whatever it was, I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps just like President Obama. See, I still have the bootstrap scars to show for it.

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