Commencement: What Politicians Want the Class of 2017 to Know
Over the past few weeks, hundreds of thousands of students nationwide walked across football fields, basketball courts, and stages to receive their diplomas. They sat patiently, sporting caps and gowns in their school colors, while professors, politicians, CEOs, and celebrities imparted wisdom, jokes, and life lessons upon them. Here are the commencement speeches from politicians that will be flooding your newsfeeds for the next month.
Just over six months after losing the presidency to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton delivered a commencement speech laden with criticisms of the president to graduates of her alma mater, Wellesley College. This was not Clinton’s first appearance at the Wellesley podium–48 years ago, she was the college’s first student speaker, a role that propelled her into the national spotlight for the first time. She also spoke at the commencement 25 years ago.
In her speech, Clinton wasted no time addressing the elephant on the quad–she joked about the November election and what got her through the aftermath.
“Now, you may have heard that things didn’t exactly go the way I planned. But you know what? I’m doing OK,” she said. “Long walks in the woods, organizing my closets, right? I won’t lie. Chardonnay helped a little, too.”
Clinton not-so-subtly compared Trump’s presidency to Richard Nixon’s; criticized “fake news” like Pizzagate, the viral conspiracy theory that accused Clinton of involvement in a child sex abuse ring out of a D.C. pizza parlor; and attacked Trump’s federal budget plans.
“You are graduating at a time when there is a full-fledged assault on truth and reason,” Clinton said. “Just log onto social media for ten seconds. It will hit you right in the face.”
Clinton urged graduates to take their skills in critical thinking, their value of an open society, and their dedication to public service to stand up for themselves and what they believe is right.
“Don’t be afraid of your ambition, of your dreams, or even your anger–those are powerful forces,” she said. “But harness them to make a difference in the world. Stand up for truth and reason…Make defending truth and a free society a core value of your life every single day.”