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President Obama Includes Harry Potter Story in Education Speech

Posted by: Melissa
September 07, 2009, 10:12 PM

Tomorrow President Barack Obama will address the nation as it goes back to school; the pre-released text of his speech (which you can read here) includes remarks on the beginnings of Harry Potter as proof that not all great ideas or ventures are accepted as such to start:

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK.  Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." 
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying."

Pres. Obama will deliver the address at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va., at 10 a.m. MDT; it will be live on the C-SPAN cable channel and streamed life at

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771 Points

Wow ! It’s such an honour !!

Posted by Shivi {ROAR} !! on September 08, 2009, 12:16 AM report to moderator
1067 Points

@monicahp2009(WBM) If you were a conservative parent I’d be confused why you say this goes against CCD. Don’t you know the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops supports Healthcare reform? Do you even know the 7 principles of Catholic Social Teaching? The church teaches that every person has dignity and worth and deserves care regardless of their situation. Healthcare should not be limited privilege to the rich. The Catholic church is neither Republican or Democrat. The values transcend party boundaries. They are certain issues here and there that both parties are better at but neither one properly represents Catholics as a whole.

But anyway, that’s a whole other subject. This is just a motivational speech about education and I’m happy to see a Harry Potter reference. As an HP fan, this kind of thing always makes me giddy no matter who is the one talking.

Posted by eiVega on September 08, 2009, 12:29 AM report to moderator
243 Points

hmm 12 times…think that’s any reason for the recurrence of ‘12’ throughout the series? o.O and yay for the reference to Rowling! :) I honestly don’t see what the fuss is all about with some in such an uproar over this speech, he’s not pushing any politics. Honestly, some parents act like children themselves and need to realize there are worse things to worry about…

Posted by PaintTheSky on September 08, 2009, 12:31 AM report to moderator
372 Points

re: why some parents wouldn’t want there parents to listen to the speech.

i think it has less to do with the actual message of the speech (which, i’ve just read and agree is a great thing for kids to hear, things they need to hear. one of the biggest problems in our schools is that kids are not motivated to learn.) but more with the idea that the government might be removing the freedom to choose not to watch it if the parent’s decided. parents have the right to censor what goes into their children’s life. a parent might not let their child watch pg-13 movies, maybe even after the child is older than 13, and the parent has that right as head of the household, whether you agree with the decision. maybe a parent doesn’t want their child to watch a certain tv show (i wasn’t allowed to watch the simpsons growing up, or rugrats or other tv shows where, children were very disrespectful of their parents, didn’t obey, were rewarded for bad behavior, parents were made to look stupid, incompetent, etc. because my parents didn’t want me to think that that was okay or rewarded behavior) other families might not have had any problem with those tv shows, but maybe they didn’t want their children to watch certain shows on the discovery channel because of some graphic pictures of animals mating or something- who knows. the point is that the parents should have the authority to make those type of decisions in the lives of their children. and many people are not comfortable with the idea of having that freedom taken away from them, of having the government force themselves into the home and childraising aspect. this speech seems okay, but what if later there is another speech that is telling children to do something that the parents don’t agree with, perhaps against certain religious values or something.

the point is that it shouldn’t be something parents can’t preview beforehand and should be something they can opt out of if they have some reason they wish to. parents have to sign permissions slips for their children to go on field trips or watch movies in class. this is similar.

Posted by Rinny on September 08, 2009, 12:37 AM report to moderator
2113 Points

that’s awsome, I wish my president would do the same

Posted by selene21 (ROAR) on September 08, 2009, 12:42 AM report to moderator
1661 Points

@Kirk: Not just children hold JK Rowling in high esteem. Millions of people all over the world and of all different ages, races, and gender respect her so much.

But President Obama is right. Perserverance is one of the most important traits a person can possess. If people just gave up whenever they encountered failure then no one would succeed. We would have nothing.

Posted by cghambright on September 08, 2009, 12:48 AM report to moderator
354 Points

I love Obama and Harry too, but I don’t like it when people mix politics (unless it’s for a super-good cause) and Potter. Harry Potter is supposed to be my escape from the real world.

Posted by Hermionerules!1844 on September 08, 2009, 01:03 AM report to moderator
5047 Points

I find Obama’s lack of win disturbing.

Posted by Darth Revan on September 08, 2009, 01:08 AM report to moderator
243 Points

@Rinny I agree with you that parents have the right to choose what their children under the age of 18 can or cannot watch. I’ve just been reading quotes by some misinformed parents in news articles who think the president is pushing, in their words, his so-called ‘socialist agenda’ with this speech. I just believe people need to get all the facts before they make judgements and for this reason I’m glad the speech is being released ahead of time in text form.

Posted by PaintTheSky on September 08, 2009, 01:20 AM report to moderator
879 Points

I am so happy that President Obama is reaching out to young people and talking to them about education. I can’t fathom HOW that could possibly be a bad thing. His whole motto is about what we CAN do if we put our minds to it. And I think the Harry Potter reference in there was smart, also. Good for him.
Here’s to the President, and may he repair our Umbridge-filled school system!

Posted by deadtree ♥WBM♥ on September 08, 2009, 01:27 AM report to moderator
123 Points

Great speech.

Posted by iamnotworriedharry on September 08, 2009, 01:49 AM report to moderator
2404 Points

I remember Obama commenting that he read the HP books with his daughters.

Posted by bookishgal,OoM3,GS on September 08, 2009, 02:25 AM report to moderator
4138 Points

This is one of the many many reasons why Obama is just great!

Posted by Calum Wilson (RuneDream54) on September 08, 2009, 03:23 AM report to moderator
312 Points

Wow Obama mentioned Harry Potter that is so cool. Think it’s very ignorant of people to bring up how health care is bad and all this crap when this posting was on obama mentioning harry Potter. If it was based on health care sure but common, can i go somewhere on the internet and not have rich people tell me that health care should only be for them and not anyone else. I agree with hermionerules1844 and let’s keep political opinion away.

Posted by got2lovme on September 08, 2009, 03:38 AM report to moderator
439 Points

Don’t understand all the uproar, people just want to complain I guess. Great speech.

Posted by CandyCane2304 on September 08, 2009, 03:49 AM report to moderator
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