It's hard to say, for certain, what hidden menace lurked in the pep talk President Obama gave to young students on Tuesday.
Millions of Americans, however, imagined something sinister. Many of them chose to excuse their sons and daughters from listening to ... what? A brainwashing deluge of optimism and encouragement? Isn't that just like government-speak? (Translation: "Government-speak" is, to some, a diabolical mix of Obama campaign rhetoric and a socialist manifesto. Anyone within hearing turns into a zombie Democrat. Source: I heard it on talk radio, so I know it's true.)
For the doubters, Obama's advice to stay in school, work hard and achieve your dreams was clearly a hypnotic rant with subliminal communist (or was it Nazi?) undertones. You really have to watch out for speeches like these. Isn't this the way Hitler started?
In response to these imagined perils, I propose an imaginary speech aimed at schoolchildren that might pass muster with the whatever-Obama-says-is-evil crowd. (Caution to Obama supporters: This ain't pretty.)
Good morning, students. I'm surprised to see so many of you are in school today. Don't you know that most of you are wasting your time?
Look, many of you are going to drop out eventually. Why not save taxpayers the expense of keeping you in school when it's obvious neither you nor your parents give a damn about your future?
For those of you determined to bog down the nation's schools, wise up. You're taking classes that amount to little more than nonsense. When, for goodness sake, do you think your life will ever depend on knowing the name of the ship captained by John Paul Jones? When was the last time reciting the Gettysburg Address from memory got you a pack of cigarettes?
If you're going to show up for school, one class you might want to stay awake for is math. That's because math can help you at those games of chance at casinos. You will still lose your paycheck, but at least you'll know why.
Did I say paycheck? What kind of job future do you have? Wouldn't it be easier to apply for food stamps and live with your folks for the rest of their lives? If push comes to shove, you can always get three square meals a day in prison.
Students, hard work and perseverance are for dummies. Look around you. Your best-dressed peers with the biggest wads of cash are meth dealers. Do you think they make an A in every class they take?
Some of you may be thinking of a career in politics. Good for you. Politics could use a few more scumbags and small-time thieves. Yes, a diploma from a prestigious university is great for anyone's political resume, but you can make it up. You can do that with almost any official documents you need, even birth certificates.
Students, someday you may decide to go into business for yourself. Here's my advice: Ponzi scheme. It's virtually foolproof, and some of our country's business heroes have made billions by cheating people who trusted them. That's the America way. You deserve your share of the dream.
Let me close by stating the obvious: The Chinese are smarter than you are. So why bang your head against the bamboo curtain? There are plenty of street corners left with no one hanging around all day using foul language and smoking dope. Pick your spot. Lay claim to your future. Give up.
R. Joe Sullivan is editorial
page editor for the Southeast Missourian. You can reach him at email@example.com