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Letters to the Editor

Graduation merry-go-round

I have been amazed at the college graduation speakers merry-go-round this year.

Major colleges and universities have traditionally invited outstanding people to give the graduation speech. I don’t know if anyone remembers the speakers, but it is an honor to hear great people speak.

The merry-go-round started with Brandeis University inviting Ayaan Hirsi Ali from American Enterprise Institute.

She was raised in Islam religion, but has denounced Islam. She has been outspoken against Islam, calling it a “backward religion” and stating “violence is inherent in Islam religion.”

Professors and students protested her being invited for these statements against Islam religion.

Condoleezza Rice joined the merry-go-round being invited to speak at Rutgers University.

There, again, the professors and students protested her role as secretary of state with President Bush and the Iraq War.

Though Rice was the first African American to become Secretary of State, she is also an accomplished pianist who started performing at 15, a university professor at Stanford University and has a strong sports background.

Rice was selected as one of 13 members of College Football Playoff committee for the NCAA this year.

Though Forbes ranked Christine Lagarde the eighth most powerful woman in the world, that was not enough for the professors and students at Smith College.

Christine Legarde was the first woman to head the IMF and the protest was centered on the loaning of money to countries that support oppression and abuse of women.

In Topeka, Kan., First Lady Michelle Obama was invited to give the graduation speech for Topeka high schools on the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision that outlawed segregation of schools.

However, there was protest that her appearance would distract from the accomplishments of the seniors. A compromise was reached with First Lady Michelle Obama speaking at a senior recognition program on Friday night before graduation.

Graduation time has shown our strong political divisions in America. I remember in the 1950s, young people were criticized for having too much conformity.

Now, America has become polarized by many hot button issues. The hot button issues range from abortion to gay marriage, with many issues in between. Seemingly, the court system has become the place to settle these issues.

However, in many cases the people have voted by large majority, or large majorities have passed laws in the states that are often overturned by the courts. This raises serious questions that the rule of the majority is being put down by the actions of the minority.

Recently, I have read some articles about how “revolutions” can arise in nations when the majorities are not being heard.

We will have to wait another year to see if graduations will be less of a merry-go-round and speakers will again bring more substance to the students, families and friends on graduation day.

It may turn out that some of this year’s graduates will pay to hear some of these speakers in the future. It is the opinion of this writer that colleges and universities are places of learning where all views should be heard. America is a nation where all ideas are to be heard and discussed.

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