In September of 2009, a national controversy erupted when the Obama administration announced plans for broadcasting a nationwide video-message to students in our public schools. Despite the administration explaining that the content of the message was essentially just a motivational call for students to work hard and stay in school, many parents were in an uproar. The concern for many was the indoctrination of our youth with the president’s political ideology.
Personally, I thought the criticism was a bit overboard. While I believe that political and cultural indoctrination in our public schools and colleges is indeed a serious problem, I saw little wrong with President Obama encouraging our youth to work hard and excel in learning. He’s the leader of our country. Any words of inspiration that he can provide to our youth is a good thing.
Who would have guessed that the person we really needed to worry about was Vice President Joe Biden?
Last Tuesday, Biden visited Oakstead Elementary school in Tampa, Florida. He spoke to fifth graders about the current economic problems in our country. After offering kind words of empathy to children whose parents are having trouble finding work, he offered an explanation for why the country is going through these tough economic times: It’s Bush’s fault.
In a video clip that couldn’t have more resembled a parody if it had been acted out as part of a Saturday Night Live skit, the gaffe-prone Biden actually told school children, “Because things got really bad before we came into office, an awful lot of companies said ‘there’s no more jobs for you here’.”
What is wrong with this man?
Has he been parroting the “blame Bush” excuse so long that it’s become an instinctive reaction with no consideration for his audience? Or does he believe that fifth graders might be the last demographic in this country who will actually buy that explanation three years into the Obama presidency? Regardless of the reason, what sort of example does that set for students? That it’s okay to blame the dog for eating their homework after all?
Now I’m not going to pretend that Biden single-handedly did any significant harm to these kids, or even planned on presenting them with a political talking point that day. As the apologist media likes to address Bidenisms, it was “just Joe being Joe”. Yet, the display was a pretty solid example of a tired, partisan narrative.
We always hear from Democratic politicians that they are from the party of compassion, and maybe that’s the image that Biden was trying to portray for the cameras. What was certainly clear from the video, though, is what many have observed in recent years: Democratic politicians are also from the party of deflecting blame and playing the victim, neither of which are inspirational to our youth. That attitude breeds a culture of inability and dependence that isn’t good for any generation of Americans, especially our most impressionable.
While I think it’s certainly a treat for students to be visited by our country’s highest-ranking leaders, I’m thinking that any schools planning on inviting Vice President Biden to their classrooms in the future might want to think about first reinstituting the dunce cap.