Let's start by stating the obvious: There was nothing remotely inappropriate about what Barack Obama told the nation's schoolchildren Tuesday.
On the contrary, it was the kind of pep talk and kick-in-the-pants challenge most kids could use a lot more of. Key point:
"But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world — and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers, listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed."
And: "We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don't do that — if you quit on school — you're not just quitting on yourself, you're quitting on your country."
Never miss a local story.
And: "No one's written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future."
It would be tough to scare up many human beings who wouldn't want schoolchildren to take that message to heart. The reason this broadcast was controversial, of course, was the messenger, not the message.
Obama has suffered a dramatic loss in popularity in the last couple months, in part because he's had to make tough and unpopular decisions, in part because of his own stumbles, in part because he's been demonized by legions of people who apparently simply hate him.
To read the complete editorial, visit The (Tacoma) News Tribune.