Commentary: Reagan helped set precedent for speaking to America's schoolkids

The Charlotte ObserverSeptember 8, 2009 

I have acquired a copy of the president's speech to the nation's schoolchildren. Those of you who were worried about what he would say: You were right all along. It is nothing but politics.

"We've been working to take an economy that was in bad shape and get it moving and growing again; take our national defense and make it first-rate again after a long period of decline; and to restore reason, respect and reality to our foreign policy," the president says. "And I think it's fair to say that we've made a good deal of progress."

You were also right about him trying to indoctrinate the children of America into his cult of personality. Listen to this: "We want to make your future better, because tomorrow belongs to you. And since you're the leaders of tomorrow, I wanted to talk to all of you as a friend about the things you'll have to do to ensure a prosperous nation and a peaceful world."

So in conclusion, it's clear that President Obama — wait a second. This isn't President Obama.

It was President Ronald Reagan, back in 1986.

President Reagan's speech was intended as a commencement address of sorts for graduating seniors across the country. It was broadcast in schools nationwide on TV and radio.

You might have noticed that in the 23 years since that speech, the planet has not cracked in two, there are no bands of storm troopers marching across the land and we have not as yet been struck by a plague of locusts.

I bring this up because apparently some people think these things will happen if the current president of the United States speaks to our children Tuesday.

To read the complete column, visit www.charlotteobserver.com.

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