Is this what Glenn Beck was talking about when he said that “a lot of universities are just as dangerous with indoctrination of our children as these terror groups are in Iran or North Korea”? Harvard undergrads woke up today to an inspiring alumni column from President Barack Obama emphasizing the importance of an undergraduate education– and, unfortunately for Beck, “public service.”
The President’s piece, “Supporting Our Students, Strengthening Our Country,” is half a “welcome back” message and half a crash course in his administration’s policies on students and financial aid. Stating that “in a global economy, the nation that out-educates us today will out-compete us tomorrow,” he promises that, “by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.”
The policies to get us there, however, are more complex. They involve, he explains, a significant amount of federal aid to students, health care extensions through Obamacare, “and if you go into public service, and keep up with your payments, your leftover student debt will be forgiven after 10 years.” He also proposes aid to help college students with families complete their degrees, and plans on sprucing up the community college system: “Community colleges—undervalued assets in this country—are well-positioned to lead this effort. That’s why we’re upgrading these institutions by tying the skills taught in classrooms to the needs of local businesses in growing sectors of the economy.”
Perhaps in another date and time, President Obama’s column would have been accepted at face value as a positive political step to address the future leaders at his alma mater and remind them of their own privilege compared to many others, especially in this economy. But we don’t live in a world where the President can promote his public policy to college students in their school newspaper and get away without being accused of having ulterior motives. We live in a world where the day before this piece was published, political commentators were warning precisely that the President’s ideological allies were dangerous in brainwashing, just like many fundamentalist organizations in the Middle East.
Remember “Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama”? This was about ten news cycles and a year ago, so you’re forgiven if you forgot. Way before Shirley Sherrod, or the Ground Zero Mosque– we’re talking the Dark Ages even before James O’Keefe was a household name– one of the primary lines of attack on the President was that he was planning on brainwashing America’s youth into progressivism, socialism, and all the other dirty “isms” that have become the President’s inalienable baggage. “Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama” was a song in need of a catchier title that kindergarten students in New Jersey were taught to repeat verbatim about the virtues of their president. It was branded creepy, unamerican, Maoist, and unacceptable in American schools. It was the harbinger of logical evolution of video soundbite culture into full-blown, amateur YouTube video driven political warfare.
While protests about what the Obama administration was doing to the school system were eventually drowned out by a barrage of mostly legitimate foreign and domestic policy complaints seasoned with a hint of absurdist racial commentary, the underlying fear of progressive indoctrination in schools has never left. It spawned Beck U; it’s what makes people like Sarah Palin, who got four different forms of undergraduate indoctrination, more palatable to many Americans than, say, David Frum, who boasts both a Harvard and a Yale education. And now the President is flirting with having that fear resurface by actively engaging undergraduates at an institution that many fear is already in the business of pushing a progressive agenda on its students, and bringing up policy initiatives that promote things like “public service” (“community organizing”?) and “community colleges.”
But if Beck– or anyone else, for that matter– is overly worried about the President’s writing turning our best and brightest into progressive Wilsonian robots, he only need look at the first comment of the article to find how deep the social justice indoctrination has seeped (or not):
“Define ‘college’… Anyone who is breathing can enroll at the local community college. Less than 3% of all high school graduates are intellectually able and academically prepared to handle my undergrad school… How we got to this point where our society believes that most people are suited to a baccalaureate program with any rigor I do not know.”
And that, folks, is why Obama will never succeed in brainwashing Harvard students, nor will any of them ever drop out to enroll in Beck U. But the narrative is ripe for the picking, and if the President continues to use the beginning of the school year as an excuse to drop in and chat with students, even virtually, he does so at his own risk.
[Photo via KGNU]
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