“I am thrilled to be here today as we launch Let’s Move Active Schools –- this unprecedented effort to bring physical education back to America’s schools,” she began. She then explained that enough kids get enough exercise–and that she aims to change that.
“Every single one of these kids is special. They’re all special. Every child I meet has the potential to contribute something amazing; to succeed in a job, to raise a family of their own, to give back to their community and to their country. Every child has that potential. But the fact is, it’s up to us as the grown-ups in the room to help them fulfill that potential,” she said.
“It’s up to us to bring out the very best in all — do you hear me — all of our young people. That is our moral obligation to our children. That’s how we show them that we believe in them, and that’s how we teach them to believe in themselves.
“It’s also our patriotic obligation to this country. It’s how we raise the next generation of workers and innovators and leaders who will continue to make America the greatest nation on earth. That’s why these companies and organizations have stepped up to support all of you in this vitally important work.”
After wading through that drivel, it occurred to me that it reminded me of something I’d encountered prior. Behold, courtesy of George Orwell‘s prescient novel, 1984:
‘Smith!‘ screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. ‘6079 Smith W.! Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You’re not trying. Lower, please! That’s better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.’
A sudden hot sweat had broken out all over Winston’s body. His face remained completely inscrutable. Never show dismay! Never show resentment! A single flicker of the eyes could give you away. He stood watching while the instructress raised her arms above her head and — one could not say gracefully, but with remarkable neatness and efficiency — bent over and tucked the first joint of her fingers under her toes.
‘There, comrades! That’s how I want to see you doing it. Watch me again. I’m thirty-nine and I’ve had four children. Now look.’ She bent over again. ‘You see my knees aren’t bent. You can all do it if you want to,’ she added as she straightened herself up. ‘Anyone under forty-five is perfectly capable of touching his toes. We don’t all have the privilege of fighting in the front line, but at least we can all keep fit. Remember our boys on the Malabar front! And the sailors in the Floating Fortresses! Just think what they have to put up with. Now try again. That’s better, comrade, that’s much better,’ she added encouragingly as Winston, with a violent lunge, succeeded in touching his toes with knees unbent, for the first time in several years.
Big Brother is watching you. Big Sister is watching your plate.