Fox News reports that the Obama administration has pulled back from its frankly creepy plan to ask schoolkids to, you know, "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president."
President Obama's plan to inspire the nation's schoolchildren with a video address next week erupted into controversy Wednesday, forcing the White House to pull out its eraser and rewrite a government recommendation that teachers nationwide assign students a paper on how to "help the president," the Washington Times reported.
Presidential aides acknowledged the White House helped the U.S. Education Department craft the proposal, which immediately was met by fierce criticism from Republicans and conservative organizations who accused Obama of trying to politicize the education system.
Two things to recall:
First, Candidate Obama, like Candidate McCain, made a big stink about "national service," "public service," and the like. Indeed, as senators, they pushed the Serve America Act, in which selfless volunteers would get paid by taxpayers to feel good about being paid volunteers. It's a bad idea, even in the abstract, for all the reasons listed here. If you want to serve "a cause greater than yourself," then invent the next personal computer or start a school that competes for students or run a charity that's actually a charity and not a covert middle-income household welfare program.
Second, recall this celeb-studded "I Serve" video, in which more stars than there are in heaven pledge to serve not simply the country but the particular president holding office. You don't have to be an Ayn Rand protagonist to agree it was disturbing when it came out in early 2009 and it's still disturbing now, especially as we're all asked to sacrifice some large portion of our future for goals that are from clear or far from worthy.