Tuesday, September 8, 2009

There's No "I" In Speech

Today, Barack Obama will deliver a speech to our nation's youth.

Over the past several days, the speech has been changed and the lesson plans have been changed from its original language due to an outcry from conservatives and concerned parents alike.

I'm not going to single this event out. Frankly, I'm not phased (or surprised) by the message. Barack Obama is the President of the United States. An address to our students isn't the end of the world. In fact, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush made similar speeches (and heard it from the Left as well) under similar circumstances.

However, the language of the text is interesting. The tone and subtext of the speech is questionable to say the least. In a speech that is supposed to focus on achievement and perseverance, Barack Obama spends a majority of the speech building up his massive ego. In a secretive and subtle kind of way, we see a glimpse of Barack Obama's underlying lesson: follow me...make me proud...let me inspire you...aspire to be more like me.

Look at the iterations from President Obama's speech:

  • 56 iterations of “I”
  • 19 iterations of “school”
  • 10 iterations of “education”
  • 8 iterations of “responsibility”
  • 7 iterations of “country”
  • 5 iterations each of “parents”, “teachers”
  • 3 iterations of “nation” ~Ed Morrissey
56 iterations of "I" during a motivational speech on education? Is this a promotion of education or of self?

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"If an American is to amount to anything he must rely upon himself, and not upon the State; he must take pride in his own work, instead of sitting idle to envy the luck of others. He must face life with resolute courage, win victory if he can, and accept defeat if he must, without seeking to place on his fellow man a responsibility which is not theirs." - Theodore Roosevelt