Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Does EVERYTHING have to be partisan?
Ordinarily, I would go off on a tirade about how I'm pissed off and one "going-on" or another, but for today's purposes, but I'm going to try to be a little more objective today.
Recently, people got all up in arms about President Obama reaching out to the country's youth. Some called it pandering, some said it was in poor taste, and others had FAR more vile things to say about the leader of the free world for how he was spending his time and taxpayer dollars.
Today, President Obama spoke at Wakefield High School, right here in Arlington, VA and simulcast a live feed to millions of students K-12 all over the country. He touched on several vital issues facing the youth of this country, primarily the importance of staying in school and furthering their education. He told some inspirational stories about kids from al lover the country that overcame socio-economic obstacles to go onto higher education and get great jobs. He stressed the importance of setting and acheiving goals,a nd volunteering and giving back to one's own community. He did not just give students a lecture that they've heard hundreds of times before, he gave details, examples, encouragement and advice.
It's been said many times that hindsight is 20-20, and after reading the transcript of the speech, I couldn't agree with this statement more. Perhaps if I could have had the opportunity to hear something like this when I was a kid, my life may have turned out different. This is not to say that I'm not happy with my current station in life, I couldn't be happier. Okay, a big lottery win would put a pretty big smile on my face, but I digress. I'm healthy again, I have a wonderful wife and family, a great job that I love, my bills are paid and money is in the bank, and I've been given a second chance in life to do the right things. But through all of it, I often wonder "What if? What if I had given one ounce of shit in school? What if I had gone to class every day? What if I had done something so simple as graduate high school? Well, I didn't. No high school diploma, no college, no Ph.D. I don't sit behind a desk and have power lunches. I don't trade stocks on Wall Street, and I don't diagnose or treat diseases. I sling drinks to college kids. And I wouldn't trade it for anything.
But I also don't clean bathrooms, sell stolen shit out of the back of a car, or beg for money on the street. I accepted that I had made mistakes, and I chose a path that would not only pay the bills, but I actually enjoyed. The President's speech to the youth of the nation today was about recognizing and taking personal responsibility. So you came from a poor family. SO WHAT. Work hard and break the cycle. So you come from a rich family. BIG DEAL. Do them proud and make something of yourself. To those that have already missed their wondow - QUIT WHINING. There options out there. Go to night school or get your GED. Find a job you love, or go out and make a difference in your community. As President Obama said, "You can't let your failures define you, you have to let them teach you".
Everything that was said to the children today is not just good advice for your education, he gave some great life advice, and I'm glad that students all over the country had the opportunity -- no, the priviledge to hear such great advice from a leader who overcomes challenges greater than our imagination every day.