This time each year, thousands of gleeful new college graduates gather with their classmates one final time to consummate their educational journey before being unleashed into the world, some already saddled with crippling debt and many with no viable job prospects. But before they toss their mortarboards in the air and head off in separate directions — more school, the welfare office, mom and dad’s house, unpaid internships or, maybe, a job — many of this years’ graduates get one last healthy dose of liberalism, via commencement speeches.
Last week, Young America’s Foundation published an unsurprising report indicating that a majority of America’s colleges will opt to send their students out into the world with a final word from a left-leaning speaker. According to YAF’s assessment, 62 of the Nation’s top 100 universities picked speakers who slant to the left, compared to 17 that picked speakers identified as conservatives. The remaining 21 speakers have politically benign histories, according to the report.
Here’s a look at the YAF report:
President Barack Obama has been a popular choice to speak at commencements throughout the Nation. He even made headlines weeks before a flurry of scandals plagued his Administration when he informed students at Ohio State University that they should trust their government.
Obama said: “Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”
Perhaps the President felt a wave of problems headed his way. There’s no doubt that he would like Americans to reject reports that his Administration has used the Internal Revenue Service to bully political foes, reject reports that his Justice Department spied on Associated Press reporters without warrant and reject reports that his Administration may have lied to the public on the heels of the Benghazi, Libya, scandal.
Obama supporters have, in large part, blamed widespread political rebuke of the Presidential Administration on racism — among all manner of other crazy things. During a commencement speech over the weekend at Morehouse College, the President’s message proved the real stupidity of anyone who shouts “Racist!” at his detractors.
“We’ve got no time for excuses — not because the bitter legacies of slavery and segregation have vanished entirely; they haven’t,” he said. “It’s not because racism and discrimination no longer exist; that’s still out there. It’s just that in today’s hyperconnected, hypercompetitive world, with a billion young people from China and India and Brazil entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything you haven’t earned.”
The President went on to tell graduates of the traditionally black college that “whatever hardships you may experience because of your race… pale in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured — and overcame.”
Speaking about his own legacy, Obama said: “We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices. And I have to say, growing up, I made quite a few myself. Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. I had a tendency sometimes to make excuses for me not doing the right thing.”
Unfortunately, it seems some of the President’s supporters — here’s to you, Tingles — still think any criticisms of the President are the direct result of the world trying to “keep a black man down.”
New York Nanny Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered a brief commencement speech over the weekend at Kenyon College in Ohio; he spent most of the politically driven speech talking about gun control. His address, themed “courage,” was largely based on the premise that a cowardly Congress had failed to stand up to the efforts of the “extremist” National Rifle Association and pass more gun-control laws. Because of that, Bloomberg surmised, more than 40,000 people had been killed by murderers using guns since the class of new graduates were freshmen.
“Have the courage to think for yourself and to believe in your ideas. That kind of courage lies at the heart of human invention and progress, and the lack of it lies at the heart of our political problems today,” he told the graduates.
The Mayor said later: “Too many members of Congress did not have the courage to stand up to the increasing extremist views of the NRA’s Washington lobbyists. Many of them feared that voting for a common sense policy that would lead to someone challenging them in a primary, or hurt their chances to win a party’s nomination to higher office is too big a price to pay for saving 30-odd thousand lives a year.”
But there are a few holdouts throughout the Nation where conservative commencement speakers still have a place. One of those institutions is Hillsdale College, a small university in Michigan that has been bucking Federal intrusions to its mission to educate students in a manner of pro-liberty excellence for decades. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spoke at their commencement.
“There are moments in our history when we have to make a fundamental choice,” he told students.
The choice, Cruz said, is America’s: Do we want a Nation laden with a paternal state, or do we want a Nation dependent on the people and their ability to carry the “torch of freedom” to their neighbors and children?