Good Afternoon Graduates…Bush Sucks…Have A Nice Life

I just knew one of these stories would pop up again this year. Another self-important speaker decides to treat a commencement address like a lecture series and spews a strictly partisan and divisive political rant to satify their own personal agenda . These students have just graduated from four(ish) years of studies which included world events, have attended classes discussing the pro and con of issues such as the current Iraq situation, and have encountered guest speakers who have been invited to specifically address issues of the day, such as the war. In other words, they already have, and will continue to be, engaged in meaningful dialogue about important issues affecting their lives. Commencement speeches are either boring, entertaining, or occasionally, enlightening, but are meant to focus on the actual event, by congratulating the graduates and giving some form of wisdom or advise to carry with them for the future. And as much as it is a day to symbolize the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of the graduates, it is also a day for the families of those graduates who often made sacrifices in their own lives to allow their children to obtain this accomplishment. They too should be able to bask in the reflected glow of their family members’ achievement.

Then along come the Chris Hedges’s of the world, who feel it is beneath them to give a speech that is fitting to the occasion and, instead, decide that a political lecture is in order, and effectively ignore their audience and the purpose of the day.

Some may say that they are fine with the message, and are, convieniently, in agreement with what was said. I frankly wouldn’t care if a speaker for such an event gave a strictly political speech supporting either the right-wing view or the left. Both would be insensitive and inappropriate for the occasion.

3 Responses to “Good Afternoon Graduates…Bush Sucks…Have A Nice Life”

  1. ymatt Says:

    Yeah, I’m sure what happens is these guys feel they need to take advantage of a captive audience to speak about what they feel is most important, as well go for the greater publicity they’ll get voicing it this way. But it is just kinda stupid and probably serves to reinforce the resistance of those he is (I’d hope) trying to convince. Some might say that this is too important an issue to worry about politeness, but I at least think there are less counterproductive ways of making a point.

  2. Colin Says:

    I am a non-fan of Bush myself, but I agree with you completely: It insults the intelligence of the audience, as you say, for one thing, and contributes to an atmosphere of divisiveness that is antithetical to academic culture, with its values of collegiality and rational discussion. Theoretically, at least. A pox on vicious punditocracies of all stripes.

  3. Patriot Says:

    It’s no different from what the students get in their curriculum.

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