President Obama came out at the Hampton University graduation commencement to let us know EXACTLY what he thinks about this digital age.
He doesn't understand it.
He doesn't like it.
He believes that you should get your information from the mainstream media and from schooling run by, surprise, folks who believe as he does to a large extent.
This is the system that has largely made sure you don't understand how politics works, how government works, who your representatives are and what not.
How did they do that? Simple. First - as in many schools, many of the teachers that I had that taught politics, civics, history and what not were people who weren't, for lack of a better term, stellar and exciting teachers. Many were coaches who would just have you read a chapter a week in class and occasionally have quizzes.
People who get bored with things like this don't learn.
People who don't understand something either blow it off or fear it's complications.
It is really simple. True - there needs to be a personal level of responsibility to learn about this as well - but if the schools don't help teach it or play it down or gloss over it - why should citizens care? It isn't important enough to learn about in our school system - who understands it anyway? It's not that big a deal - they're all dirty anyway. Right?
Now - here we have a President who is attacking the digital generation, and in a large part it seems he is proving my point about fearing something you don't understand:
"You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank all that high on the truth meter," Obama said at Hampton University, Virginia.
"With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," Obama said.
Emancipation from what, my dear Mr. Obama? Capitalism? Liberty?
How about freedom from being spoon fed what certain groups want us to hear - from the big three media, the newspapers, the teachers unions, the unions in general, PBS and NPR?
See - that's what they don't want. People turning over rocks and learning. What is under there? What happens if we do this versus that? Does the light go off when you shut the door? How does the magician do that trick? What is the truth behind what will happen if we keep spending this much money? How are people affected by this bill? Why do you write legislation so convoluted?
They forget that they were using the internet for this before we were - but now the conservatives and Republicans and right centrists are learning more and more at a fearsome rate. The left, the true progressives, fear the questions being asked. That's the problem.
Here is another point of contention for the President:
He bemoaned the fact that "some of the craziest claims can quickly claim traction," in the clamor of certain blogs and talk radio outlets.
"All of this is not only putting new pressures on you, it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy."
The craziest claims, like detention camps and things like that? How about your truther friends trying to prove that a plane disappeared right around the time something hit the Pentagon - the radar from everywhere in the area saw it happen, but no - your friends think it was a missile fired by the military into the wall of the Pentagon to incite the country to invade Iraq for oil costs to go down that have instead gone up? All the different secret society questions? Most of these are shot down in two minutes or two days.
If you knew how to work it instead of just hearing briefings about "those crazy teabaggers" you might understand. But, as people made fun of Bush for being isolated, you're feeling it now too, aren't you?
Or crazy things like learning about your czars, your friends, political information that is questioning YOU and your views rather than being led around like sheep?
The information superhighway is just that - and the neat thing of it is - most people who are whacked are already that way and don't need the net to get their voice out. On the left or the right. There are extremists everywhere. Though, unlike the right, you choose to paint all of us trying to examine what we see as bad policy and bring facts and math to the table for explanations from you as extremists who are loons of the internet.
Some of us do our research or learn about things like health care and the facts behind the issues without just trying to pass an ideology for no better reason than political control, sir. Some of us aren't trying to ram things down the throats of the American people when polls consistently show that you didn't have the support of the people, all just to garner more support for your party and ideology by buying votes with other people's money.
What makes me chuckle was the part of the speech I appreciated, though I think you'll see the irony in two things:
1) he argues his own point down
2) I did the research and put both the good and bad in
Check out this very wise statement:
"What Jefferson recognized... that in the long run, their improbable experiment -- called America -- wouldn't work if its citizens were uninformed, if its citizens were apathetic, if its citizens checked out, and left democracy to those who didn't have the best interests of all the people at heart.
"It could only work if each of us stayed informed and engaged, if we held our government accountable, if we fulfilled the obligations of citizenship."
So staying engaged, becoming informed - that's a good thing.
I don't understand how he can take the first part and the second part of the speech and rationalize how they tie together, unless it is due to this:
"We can't stop these changes... but we can adapt to them," Obama said, adding that US workers were in a battle with well-educated foreign workers.
"Education... can fortify you, as it did earlier generations, to meet the tests of your own time," he said.
So - as I stated above, information, as long as it is spoon fed from the colleges and teachers is o.k.? Is that what you are saying Mr. President? What if, sir, they are leaving out information or tailoring it poorly to keep people in the dark?
Self examination, self exploration, self education is not a good thing?
Make up your mind Mr. President.
Originally posted at: DRScoundrels