Video: New Jersey Children Taught to Sing Obama’s Praises

This video raises an interesting question for educators and lawyers alike. These students at B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington, NJ are being taught to chant and sing praises of President Barack Obama. Is that an appropriate exercise in a public school or does it smack of the type of cult of personality that we see in other nations?

The United States has always prided itself in the fact that we select citizens to lead for limited periods with limited powers. The President does not solely exercise the power of the United States, but exercises that power with two other branches. The training of students to chant or sing his praises seems out of place in our system and threatens to mix politics with education — particularly for children so young. I doubt many liberal families would be delighted to hear their children singing about George Bush in the same way.

The same controversy arose when a middle school teacher in Missouri arranged the video below. She was later suspended:

There is a considerable difference between the two tapes.

The lyrics and chant are certainly less militant:

Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said all should lend a hand to make the country strong again
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said we must be fair today, equal work means equal pay.
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said take a stand, make sure everyone gets a chance
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said red, yellow, black and white, all are equal in his sight
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
Yeah! Barack Hussein Obama
…Hello Mr. President, We honor you today
For all your great accomplishments, we all do say hooray
Hooray, Mr. President you are No. 1
The first black American to lead this nation

This is not exactly a North Korean “Dear Leader” chant and certainly people like Michele Malkin appear to have taken this to an extreme of claiming indoctrination and fanaticism. However, I must confess that I feel uncomfortable with public school kids learning songs and chants for individual sitting presidents. It tends to reaffirm a type of cult of personality that we have seen with some prior presidents like George W. Bush and now Obama. I am also not comfortable with public school kids being taught to sing that a president is “No. 1” given the opposition of some parents to his election or his policies.

This is why I love Constitution Day. It celebrates what really makes our nation strong: not our all-powerful or all-loving leaders but a document that allows citizens to protect themselves from tyranny. I find that these type of songs send the wrong message.

What do you think?

74 thoughts on “Video: New Jersey Children Taught to Sing Obama’s Praises”

  1. This is wrong. There are messianic meanings to this song. Here is the religious lyric to “Jesus Loves the Little Children”: “Red and yellow, black and white, they’re all precious in His (God’s) sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

    From the Obama song: “He said red, yellow, black and white, all are equal in his sight”.

    Not only is the messianic, it is factually inaccurate and it puts an emphasis of what are good things as an attribute of one person instead of things we might all do.

    I believe an sound argument could be made that Obama represents any of the attributes in this song. This is a cult of personality. It’s interesting because Obama and crew have been sucessful in completely defining the terms in which he is discussed, by both the left and the right. I don’t believe I have ever seen this level of sucessful branding before. The only difference in left and right is that the right hates these supposed attributes, (socialist, peacemaker, justice bringer, cares about the poor/working/middle class) while the left approves of them. Scarily, Obama is/does absolutely none of these things. He actively works in the opposite direction of peace (check out what’s happening with Iran today), Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq–show me the peacemaking. Show me the concern for the economic welfare of anyone but the top 2 % of our population. Show me the justice of Obama’s civil liberties. Show me the equality of Obama’s war on drugs. Show me Obama’s concern for the brown people being tortured in Gitmo and Bagram.

    Education isn’t about unquestionning obediance to a leader. Talk about those ideas in the song. Have a discussion about Obama and his policies. Those are great ideas. The song is cult material and has no place in education except as a study of successful propaganda and branding of political figures.

  2. Byron:

    Geraldo is my favorite comedian. I still chuckle over the famous Capone’s Vault gag! Hannity is in second place now because he fooled us all when he “forgot” to tell us they turned the water on in the San Joaquin Valley in June. What a kidder!

  3. Buddha:

    Nina, Mika, they all look alike to me. Same on Fox news all those blonds with large “intellects”.

    I don’t much care for Joe either, but probably not for the same reason’s.

  4. Mespo:

    come on be honest, you do like Geraldo don’t you?

    Even I like him, he may be left of center but he seems honest. Hannity and Beck I wonder about, Beck because he is a Mormon and I cant put much stock in a man thinking he can become a god. A little too out there for me and worrisome if he goes nuts. Hannity does some good, he raised the issue of the San Joaquin Valley and the water. But most of the time I can count on you and Buddha to give me the straight skinny.

    And as billy said above the Fox news ladies are pretty assume. Sex does sell and it is front and center on Fox(y) News. You watch Fox news for the same reason I used to read Playboy… the superb intellectual content.

  5. Byron,

    And her first name is “Mika”. I will have to stipulate I am a bit upset by her. I am upset because I cannot figure out why an otherwise seemingly intelligent presenter who is actually capable of understanding the difference between journalism and what she does would work with a dyed in the wool douchebag like Joe S. He and his vapid nature come close to actually pissing me off. (Thanks, Starbucks! Just another reason not to give your shops business.)

  6. Byron,

    I have to agree with mespo. FOX doesn’t make me angry. It inspires something more like humorous disgust. On the other hand, I have a similar reaction to KO and MSNBC. And CNN. And the Networks. And WaPo. And HuffPo.

    Hey . . . I think I’m starting to see a pattern here.

  7. Fox news may not be the most “stellar” form of journalism, but they sure do have some pretty ladies presenting it.

  8. Byron:

    “You all get upset watching Fox News, I get upset watching Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow and Nina Brzezinski.”


    I get no upset watching Fox News. I find the shows hilarious like a Benny Hill skit – done with all seriousness but absurd to the core. The latter shows you cite (and the Daily Show, too)are the opposite – done in jest, but serious none the less.

  9. Wawhol, Herr Anonymously.

    But might I ask, what kind of name is “Anonymously” anyway? Perhaps while I am being interrogated by the SS I’ll mention that suspiciously non-German name . . .

  10. Buddha,

    You are starting to annoy me. That is my place on this list. I am deeply offended, Live to be of service and I will annoy. Then you fat green man you won’t have any problems. I’ll have to report you to the authorities. Understand?

  11. “I’ve seen films like this before. They were just harder to understand because the narration was in German.” – George Carlin

  12. I think the construct of the song the teacher chose to modify, Jesus Loves the Little Children (replace “Jesus” with “Obama” and “precious” with “equal”), speaks to where her head was and the messianic message she intended to install in the little minds she is shaping.

    I see no argument this should be considered acceptable in a public school. It is just as dangerous as the abuses of religious indoctrination that undermine critical thinking development of our children. In fact, it is even worse for implying that children should memorize their role to serve and praise the Ruler of the State! From the perspective of these young children, this activity went far beyond support of the President into outright worship. Truly revolting.

  13. Personally as a conservative, I have been worried about partisan politics in public education since I was old enough to understand. Public schools that I have been to in Missouri, including public university, have had a palpable left ward slant. To me it appears that way wherever I go. You all get upset watching Fox News, I get upset watching Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow and Nina Brzezinski.

    Personally I doubt I would like a world where all ultra conservative views were implemented and I doubt you would like a world where all progressive/left views were implemented. We both may want it, but I doubt we would like it. The tension between these 2 opposing ideologies keeps the baser natures of each in check.

  14. Michelle Malkin IS PAID well to be extremely extreme and, admittedly, is being a flawless corporate cog here. If similar had happened, and probably did, for Bush, she’d have been THE picture of cuddly sweetness and light.

    I would hope the Prof would, if he in not pulling our collective, electronic leg here, would please refrain from basing ANY serious analysis on what Ms Malkin has to say.

    I suggest reading the lyrics of every other line, skipping the “Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama” one. I thinks that’s the “wrong” message to which the negative reaction is actually being directed. Imagine ideologically defenseless children being brainwashed into accepting the notions that

    1) we should all lend a hand in America
    2) “we must be fair today, equal work means equal pay”
    3) “take a stand, make sure everyone gets a chance”
    4) “red, yellow, black and white, all are equal”
    All from “The first black American to lead this nation.”

    Totally outrageous! Put them back on the “Channel One,” beginning of the school day, hour-long indoctrination to corporate branding !!!

    (Maybe the school will have new songs praising Congress and the SCOTUS.
    Would that absolve them?)

  15. JP:

    Not sure.but you can fast forward it,At about the (25) minute mark Couric is really busting him.This is the opposite of rafflaws comment where fox doctored the tape of the kids.This is bust city for beck.

  16. To eniobob:

    Is this the interview in which Beck says that Obamab is doing a better job as president than McCain would have?

  17. Prof. Turley,
    I have to disagree with your comments on this video. First of all, it was set up by Fox News and it has been edited from its original version. I have included a link to a Raw Story posting that discusses what was cut out of the video. Fox News blew up the entire speech to the students issue way out of proportion and the use and editing of this video are just continuations of that insidious policy.

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