I just read President Obama’s speech to students, and nothing in the speech surprised me. Obama’s speech was about as bland as one might expect from such a rhetorical situation. He came out in favor of education, personal responsibility, perseverance, and empathy: a bold stance indeed! He used some effective specific examples, in my opinion.
But I forced myself to play the game of “What will the demonizers seize on in the speech to continue to portray Obama as a sub-human determined to take over the minds and institutions of the U.S.?” I started from the assumption that even if Obama’s speech contained only “the” and “and” repeated over and over, the demonizers would find one “the” and one “and” that just looked a little too suspicious. That is, they will find what’s not there.
I think the safe bet should be placed on the following passage:
“. . .That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s 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 I succeed.'”
Some of the demonizers and Obama-haters will highlight the allusion to Rowling and Harry Potter and probably echo the opinion that the Potter books are somehow demonic. Others may seize on the Michael Jordan reference and complain that Obama mentioned an African American and an athlete, instead of a white person and a scholar. Still others will interpret the passage as encouraging failure.
These are my best guesses. What I know for sure is that they’ll find something in the speech they’ll claim is “dangerous.”
Here is a link to the full text of the speech: