That's my reaction after reading this thread. I'm shocked. Literally shocked.
For those who want to play the "Obama the Victim" card, that it's just because he's (fill in the blank - race, politics, from Chicago, married with 2 kids - whatever reason you think people "hate" him), check this out. George HW Bush's Speech to Students Drew Democratic Probe
. Huh, maybe this wasn't the first time after all.
The reason Obama's speech raised such an uproar wasn't even because of what HE had planned to say. It was because of the lesson plan that the Department of Education came up with and had published for the teachers, which included "How can you help the President?" which did lead to questions of "Help him with what? What is he going to be asking them to help with?" The questions in those lesson plans for both elementary and secondary students were quite leading. Those lesson plans were scrapped, by the way. It wasn't just because Obama was going to address the students, it was the questions raised by the lesson plans created by his Administration.
I agree with Cindy - the extremism on both sides is creating an overall climate of hostility. It's always been that way to a point, but Bush seemed to cultivate that climate moreso than at any point in modern US history. Yes, I said Bush. I'm not blaming Obama for starting it, but he is definitely continuing the cycle.
As for race, I'm sorry but I really think that issue is very much overblown. Did you realize that the man who brought the gun to the protest (blocks from where the President spoke) is black? Carolinalima - I think the reason for the difference in people's reaction to you isn't because of a black President but because of the illegal immigration issue we have, which is primarily a Latino/a issue. They don't know that you're a naturalized citizen. It's still racist and it's still ignorant and/or stupid, but it's not because of Obama. Are there racists in the US? In the world? Of course, you'd have to be an idiot to say there isn't. But the reason for the disapproval of Barack Obama as President is by and large because of his policies, not his race.
As for the whole Pledge of Allegiance and Nazi Germany...It really shocks me that history is either not being taught in schools (k-12 and university) or is so skewed now that this is even considered a valid argument.
Barack Obama used an opportunity today to reach out and touch many children's lives. Hopefully his words will resonate with them, because he's the President, and because he's the first black President. He has shown that it really is within anyone's dream to reach any precipice they strive for. And that's pretty cool, even if the "adults" of the country can't stop bickering long enough to hear the same message.