Oh dear, it’s the graduation season. And MOTUS herself has to attend not one butt two graduation celebrations today so I only have a little time to post before embarking on a long day of reflective glory.
In reelection campaign years, everything – including commencements - are political. For example, Big Guy’s Barnard address was considered a big “win” for telling women to take a seat at the table that Republicans were trying to get them to serve coffee at.
So like I said all commencement speeches are political. Except for when you give them that personal touch, and make it about you instead, like Lady M at Virginia Tech last month:
She also spoke about her personal experience with the healing power of helping others.
"I went through a similar process in my own life" at the age of 26, Obama said, after one of her best friends died of cancer and her father died of multiple sclerosis.
"For months, I felt like I couldn't breathe," she said, recalling memories of her father and how hard her parents worked to provide for her family and help her and her brother attend college.
"And as I grieved, I came to realize that the best way for me to honor my dad's life was by how I lived my own life," said Obama, who said she quit her job at a big Chicago law firm and ultimately started a community-based nonprofit that helped young people.
So there’s a message in there for graduates. Somewhere. Oh yes: it’s not all about landing a high paying job. There are other ways to become wealthy.
And then of course there is the special Joey B style commencement speech:
He mesmerized the graduates of Cypress Bay High School in Miami at the the new Marlins’ ballpark:
Is it just me, or does his echo chamber speech make him sound like Principal Poop at More Science High?
Raw! Raw! Raw!
Anyway, Joey told the kids how special they all were:
"What you’ve built in 10 years is amazing," the vice president said at the graduation ceremony for Cypress Bay High School, the first such event to be held at Marlins Park.
"As we’ve heard from your principal, you haven’t just distinguished yourself on the field, you’ve distinguished yourself in every field – soccer championships, tennis championships, math championships. More AP tests than I can count, and nationally ranked debaters," Biden said.
Unlike a certain Mr. McCullough Jr. whose commencement address at Wellesley High School last week provided a rather unwelcomed reality check by telling the grads how decidedly un-special they were:
Driving the point home, he added, "Think about this: even if you're one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you."
The teacher warned students that Americans have come to appreciate accolades more than genuine achievement, and will compromise standards in order to secure a higher spot on the social totem pole.
"As a consequence, we cheapen worthy endeavors, and building a Guatemalan medical clinic becomes more about the application to Bowdoin than the well-being of the Guatemalans," he said.
In the quest for accomplishment, everything gets watered down. A 'B' is the new 'C.' Midlevel courses are the new advanced placement, the teacher said.
Butt what would Mr. McCullough know, he’s just an English Teacher. And Joey B, I might just point out, is Vice President!
Of the United States!
All 57 of them!
Which reminds of a H. L. Menken quote:
The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office.
So, keep that in mind as your sons, daughters, grandkids, nieces and nephews graduate this year. Any one of them could grow up to be president someday. That’s exactly how special they are.
On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with being an accountant.
Unless, it was your understanding that there would be no math. (h/t: SNL)