My wonderful daughter-in-law, Siwei, earned her second LLM (Master of Laws- this time in taxation), and we celebrated her hard work and accomplishments last night and today. I listened in awe as the dean of Boston University’s School of Law gave her moving commencement speech this morning. Dean Maureen O’Rourke spoke with passion and eloquence. She spoke about the state of our political mess. Some might say she spoke in code. I don’t have a problem with code. You don’t need a law degree to read between the lines of her speech. You don’t need a law degree to feel moved by the words from Declaration of Independence. Referring to the rich diversity of the student body, the inclusive nature of the community, the importance of standing up to the nonsense and dangerous people who want to change the very fabric of our nation–her words gave me hope. I wish I had a copy of her speech. I imagine she’s not the only commencement speaker in this country praising knowledge and reason, compassion and action over ignorance, complacency, and fear mongering. I can’t imagine any commencement speaker inspiring graduates with this “advice”: Go out there and build a wall-the taller the better-and get someone else to pay for it. Go forth and discriminate against people who dress differently, practice a religion you don’t know much about–and you don’t really want to know about because you shouldn’t care. Never worry about those who suffer every day in this country from the indignities of poverty, and the millions of people in other places in this world who must leave their war ravaged homes just to survive. They’re not your problem. The environment? Why should you care about the planet? There are other planets out there. You worked hard, you earned your degrees–so enjoy the fruits of your labor, graduates. Congratulations!
No, you won’t hear that commencement speech, thank goodness. And yet, this year you just might hear something like it from a Republican presidential candidate (code for Trump). Go figure.