Tuesday, September 08, 2009

President Obama at my Alma Mater

So today was the day -- Our President was there, in that same gym where my band mates and I once played "Respect" for our dancing fellow students, speaking to the nation's students from Wakefield High School.

A lot is different these days at Wakefield. It's got a much smaller student body than in my day. It's also ranked in the top one half of one percent among the nation's high schools. We didn't have a ranking quite like that when I was there, but we had a lot of smarts. Our band, for example, had more National Merit semifinalists than any other rock/soul aggregation of the time, and produced two PhDs.

Today we had the spectacle of yahoos on the lawn carrying signs telling the president to go home. The students, however, were if anything exemplary of the virtues Obama was there to promote.

Speaking of which . . . . For years upon years writers on the Right from George Will to Shelby Steele have been going on about how black leaders needed to talk tough to young people and speak up for the traditional virtues of hard work and dedication to learning. Of course, in making those arguments they invariably overlooked the host of black leaders, from Sunday morning's preachers to, yes, the teachers in our schools, who were doing exactly that.

But let a black American President show up on a public high school campus to make that case and, lo and behold, it's derided as fasco-socialist agit-prop.

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