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It Could Have Been Worse

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Ah, yes, but how close did it come? And curiously, when were the last major revisions made?

As printed, the President's speech to USA students at the advent of this new school year seemed benign enough, and it can't help but be wondered if the firestorm that accompanied the announcement of its intended delivery did not result in its final version. The President is now finding himself under the closest of scrutiny because of the health care controversy, the revelation of subtly promoted drastic policies, through his unconfirmed appointees to key positions, and their shocking viewpoints. There is the abandonment of promised transparency and the reflex actions of pauses in thoughts over hastv foreign policy visits accompanied by self-deprecating statements about the country's past actions. The conduct of the administration's ardent campaign to affect change in the essential areas of our lives has been exercised in such a way that doubt and fear immerse our society. It occurs to the point of casting dispersion upon what should be a routine and simple element and exercise of leadership in encouraging our youth to succeed and excel. If the President cannot be trusted in his motives within such an almost endearing task, then there is obviously a climate of such cynicism and reluctant reliance that each and every attempt in the future may well be cast aside at its inception with a predisposition toward negativity and rejection.

It seems that the President, however well meaning (and hopefully so) is developing a pervasive presence. This can be beneficial or detrimental depending on ostensible intention and the conduct that surrounds it. It is certainly not subject to criticism that the leader of our land should wish to encourage the core of its future to be the best each can be. The question is what form should it take and what venue is appropriate.

It might have been more effective with a flurry of spot public service announcements reminding students of the responsibilities and opportunities addressed in the speech. A pep talk in installments at varying times of the day, during children's programs, or family viewing as well as newscasts, at times other than school hours.

Granted, mention of discouraging bullying and ridicule, was included, especially in cases of ethnic differences, but sadly, a golden opportunity was missed to emphasize the indispensability for intercultural détente and tolerance. No not tolerance, but cordial acceptance. Encouragement of pursuing language education should have been encouraged, and talk of helping new families from other lands to become better adjusted and to feel that they belong. A message of brotherly and sisterly love, and the feeling that we are all Americans, not just African-Americans, Asian - Americans, Spanish-Americans, Islamic-Americans, Jewish-Americans, but just Americans. (Oh, how those hyphens irritate me!) This type of conjunctive thinking has to become second nature, and here would have been a golden opportunity to initiate a mental state among our children, in their formative years, with its resulting inculcation of benevolent priorities.

This is what leadership is really about.