WASHINGTON, D.C. - A firestorm erupted this week as schoolchildren blasted conservative efforts to portray President Obama's "pep talk to America's students" as a way to spread his radical ideology.
The address planned for Tuesday, said Obama, is meant to encourage students to study hard and stay in school, but many conservatives are furious, implying the speech likely would borrow heavily from speeches by people like Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, and would be used to promote the President's socialist agenda.
America's youth fired right back at conservatives.
"Vladenin who?" asked one girl, 13, from Pennsyltucky. "Is Karl Marx the guy who invented the funny glasses with a rubber nose and a moustache?"
"Yeah," chimed in her friend, 12. "And I thought being 'anti-social' was a bad thing! Somebody's obviously not telling us the whole story here."
"The goal of the speech and the lesson plans is to challenge students to work hard, stay in school and dramatically reduce the dropout rate," said a spokesman for the Obama administration.
"Well," said one young man, 17, "isn't that what conservatives want, too? An endless supply of pawns marching through the public school system to take meaningless, boring jobs kissing the asses of the kids who went to private school? Frankly, I don't see why they are having such a problem with this."
He noted the way guidance counselors keep steering certain friends of his into shop and auto-mechanics classes, countering a statement released Monday by Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer accusing President Obama of being the one using taxpayer money to "indoctrinate" children.
An initial draft of the plan recommended that students write letters discussing "what they can do to help the president," but conservatives argued America's youth should instead follow the example set by prominent Republicans, and pour all of their energy into working against the President.
The controversy is the latest example of how sharply divided America has become - ninety percent of Democrats support Obama's efforts, while 85 percent of Republicans do not, according to a recent poll, and this has led to bitter conflicts for all to see.
"What's wrong with grownups, anyway?" asked one little girl, 10, shaking her head in disbelief as she watched grown adults on television hurling insults at one another and screaming about socialism. "They always say things like 'play nice,' or 'don't forget to share.' So, what's all this about?
"Did that woman just call that man a nazi?" she asked.
Some school administrators have decided to show the president's speech, while others will not, and many are leaving the decision in the hands of individual teachers, but somewhere in America's heartland, one young man, 9, actually made a difference.
"I'm an American, too!" he had told his teacher. "Why can't I be free to choose whether or not I want to watch the President's pep talk?"
"That's an excellent idea, Tommy!" she had replied, and agreed every member of the class should indeed be allowed to choose, on an individual basis, whether or not to view the event.
The topic was put up for an immediate vote, the results of which were unanimous: One-hundred percent of the class will be enjoying extra recess time during the President's speech next Tuesday.