An Open Letter to United States High School Students

I am addressing this post to the citizens of the United States currently in grades nine through twelve. Today at school, you may have seen an address that President Barack Obama made to a group of students in a high school in Arlington, Virginia. You saw the President call for personal responsibility. You saw him emphasize that it is ultimately up to you whether you fail or succeed in this society. Success comes through hard work.

These are valuable lessons but unfortunately another lesson was taught to you in the days leading up to this speech. You see, there are some among you who did not get to see the President’s address. Sadly, there are adults in our government and on television and the radio who deliberately tried to scare your school district or your parents into keeping you from seeing this address. They told lies in order to make your principals and your teachers and even your parents believe that our President would say things that might be harmful to you. It is sad that at such a young age you must learn the lesson that some people care more about what they believe, true or untrue, than they care about the welfare of you and your family.

So for those of you who could not see the video at school today, I am posting it below. Whether you are a freshman or a senior looking forward to college next year, you are old enough to start making some of your own critical decisions. Watch the video and decide for yourself whether the President’s message is a good one or a bad one. I’m guessing that if you want to be an overnight success, the President’s message will disappoint you. I also imagine that you might find it a bit corny when the President tells you to wash your hands, but remember he is not just the President, he is a father too and he doesn’t want his kids or you to get the flu this season.

If you have already seen the President’s message, or after you view it here, forward the link to this article to all your friends who might not have seen it. And ask your parents to sit down and watch it with you. It is so important that you do not let anyone in government, television or radio, no matter how well meaning, prevent you from hearing ideas that might enrich your life. The America we live in is built on the notion that obstacles to enlightenment will not be thrown in your way.

I will not be accepting comments directly on this article. If you are a student who has read this article and would like to share your thoughts, use my contact page to get in touch with me. I will update this post with your comments as I receive them (and I will of course not use your full name so don’t worry about saying exactly how you feel).

We learned a lot of lessons in the past few days about personal responsibility and freedom to express ideas. I hope the debates of the past few days have made us a better nation. Thanks for reading this, and to echo our President, stay in school and work hard. You owe it to yourself, your family and your country.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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