This video--schoolkids rehearsing a song praising Barack Obama--is making the rounds:
We find ourselves amused but unconcerned.
Yes, it sounds way too much like the vapid paeans taught to the innocent children of totalitarian dictatorships. Yes, the little minds are impressionable and will take seriously whatever their teachers and other authority figures tell them.
No, we don't think it's part of a massive, conspiratorial power-grab. People who do this kind of thing are willing accomplices of politicians' lust for power, and lacking a sense of self-criticism or irony simply trust their own pure motives to be sufficient to protect them from causing unintentional harm or humor. But such nonsense is seldom effective beyond the moment. Kids grow up and rebel, public opinion changes, today's hero is tomorrow's villain, and so the effect of such "indoctrination" is marginal at worst.
On the other hand, we recall a time when the SWNIDish progeny were taught a song praising the CEO of a local grocery chain, ostensibly as thanks for his corporation having made a substantial gift for arts education. And we realize now that our children seem to be completely addicted to groceries. Perhaps all this indoctrination is effective after all.
Update: Too much buzz about this video misstates that the "tune" of the performance is "Jesus Loves the Little Children" and so concludes that the event was blasphemous as well as tasteless. Gentle readers/listeners will note that the first performance has no tune at all but is a pale, rhythmless rap the words of which quote the gospel song's racial taxonomy "red and yellow, black and white." The second performance, actually "sung" by the children, appears to be set to fragments of the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," though the quality of performance makes any judgment uncertain. Julia Ward Howe's ditty is, of course, not distinctively Christian but is part of the expression of civil religion that has pervaded American history and public life. In any case, we take the allusion to the religious song to be a tribute that the young President practices what the Christian faith preaches, certainly no blasphemy, though perhaps a generous overestimate.