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Obama challenges Wisconsin to not
think and ask so many questions
Obama to Wisconsin: Forget about college; that's for me not for thee
The disheartening aspect about seeing President Obama yucking it up with Scott Walker at the Wisconsin Air National Guard 128th Air Refueling Wing, next to Billy Mitchell International Airport (Paulsen. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) is the growing realization of the lack of irony in the image.
Nothing wrong with Walker and Obama talking of course, they have many times.
What's alarming is that Scott Walker's disdain for public education seems to have worn into Obama's rhetoric, just as he postures concern about the vast wealth inequality inducing two generations of Americans backwards.
From a transcript by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel of Obama's talk given at General Electric’s gas engine facility in Waukesha comes this nugget of wisdom from the president:
But I promise you, folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree. Now, nothing wrong with an art history degree -- I love art history. (Laughter.) So I don't want to get a bunch of emails from everybody. (Laughter.) I'm just saying you can make a really good living and have a great career without getting a four-year college education as long as you get the skills and the training that you need. (Applause.)
Putting aside Obama's former chief of staff and current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel waging war on public teachers, while Obama amps up his appeasement with anti-public Republicans, Obama's remarks are ludicrous in ways we hope he doesn't imagine.
Innovation, critical thinking and inspiration are not honed at trade schools. And I'm quite sure Obama received a well-rounded education at Harvard Law School, Columbia University and Occidental College.
I know many art history students with graduate degrees, and they share more than intellectual brilliance, a keen sense of social history, professional success, and an understanding of why mass suffering and institutional misery are directly relevant to the platitudes of a 21st century president preaching unquestioning allegiance to wage slavery—a tunnel that Obama forgets he avoided with the help of reformist elements of a society intent on seeing him aim higher.
Art History is the study of beauty and creation through a realm of social and psychological insight so powerful that Hitler felt compelled to ban art in NAZI Germany.
So while Obama ponders the relevancy of Ben Shahn and Eugene Higgins on some dark night after a few fundraisers, he may consider the words of Noam Chomsky as well:
"There's, furthermore, no way to measure the human and social costs of converting schools and universities into facilities that produce commodities for the job market, abandoning the traditional ideal of the universities: fostering creative and independent thought and inquiry, challenging perceived beliefs, exploring new horizons and forgetting external constraints. That's an ideal that's no doubt been flawed in practice, but to the extent that it's realized is a good measure of the level of civilization achieved."
- Noam Chomsky. University of Toronto, Scarborough, April 6, 2011