President Obama delivered a truly bizarre commencement speech at the traditionally all-black Hampton University on Mother’s Day. The overall speech was standard graduation day fare with a perfectly fine upbeat message. Go forth and contribute! However, the president somehow managed to insert two disturbing paragraphs, which effectively negated the speech’s positive message. They clanged jarringly in direct opposition to the main theme of the speech, revealing the paranoid thought processes of him and his inner circle. The first of these two paragraphs basically warned of the dangers of computers and the Internet. The second warned of the dangers of cable television and talk radio. He seems to believe a highly open and competitive marketplace of ideas is a new danger that, from his perspective, is an unfortunate distraction that must be overcome. These are distinctly undemocratic ideas and instincts.
The most remarkable of his comments was the following:
“And with Ipods and Ipads; and Xboxes and Playstations—-none of which I know how to work—information becomes a distraction, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than a means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it’s putting new pressure on our country and our democracy”.
I don’t think Hugo or Fidel could have said it any better.