May 29, 2018

It’s that time of year when colleges are holding their graduation ceremonies and commencement speakers are doling out pearls of wisdom to try to send them out on the path of life on the right foot.

Or maybe I should say the left foot: a new study by the Young America’s Foundation revealed that this year, liberal commencement speakers outnumbered conservative speakers by 12 to 1. At the top 100 colleges nationwide, there were a total of three – count ‘em, three – conservative speakers. But that’s understandable: after four years of college, you’d hate for the graduates to hear a conservative thought and get so triggered they’d have to run to their safe spaces and hide before they got their diplomas.

That’s why if you read just one commencement speech this year, then don’t let it be the cookie-cooker liberal boilerplate ladled out like Pablum at most universities. Instead, check out this speech, given to the graduates of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs by a genuine grown-up who knows what it means to lead others and to choose the hard path over the easy path but still accomplish great things. The speaker was Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis.

His speech not only should be heard by all members of the US military, it should – perhaps especially – be heard by civilians who don’t fully appreciate what the military does and the sacrifices its members make to safeguard the freedoms of all of us back home. Bonus points: the speech also contains more real, important American history than most liberal arts college grads heard in all four years. Plus, it’s a better lesson in creative writing than they likely got from their English Lit professors (could they have come up with a turn of phrase like saying America needs its military people to be “harder than petrified woodpecker lips”?)


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