The commencement
speech never given

Editor of the Reformer:

Graduates of the Class of 2014, today is a proud and wonderful day for you and your parents. I am a member of the Class of 1967. Many of your grandparents and some of your parents are members of my generation who graduated in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

On behalf of that generation I apologize to you. Years ago we sat where you are sitting being told and believing we would make the world a better place. Clearly, we have failed. We were the sons and daughters of The Greatest Generation; we had the greatest advantages and expectations: peace, prosperity and social justice. An economy where the standard of living improved for most Americans with more wealth in more hands. Now there is a French economist,Thomas Piketty, who say those 30 years of prosperity and social justice were an "anomaly": the America Dream a fluke!

Somewhere along the line we got lost. Yes, we stopped Vietnam, but now we have given you Afghanistan and God knows where next -- Ukraine and WW III?

There has not been more disparity of income and wealth since the 19th century. For the first time in history, we decided it was a good idea to cut taxes while fighting a war. MBAs, doctors, lawyers and other educated people, who received their education at 1/10 of what it will cost you, brought us the "Masters of the Universe" who turned the economy from a rising star into a comet. The standard of living for everyone had risen on a high tide that floats all boats.


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Then that view brought us the policies, starting with deregulation that would crash the economy on the rocks of greed and corruption when the tide fell.

I regret that we are the first generation to not make things better for our children. I regret that you are dying overseas making the world safe for democracy when you live in a republic where the Congress, our royalty, seems to say "let them eat cake" and just don’t get it. I fear that your graduation present what that French economist calls "the natural state" which the rich get richer and richer because they have destroyed the unions and don’t raise the minimum wage and taxes. Leaving you a regressive America which they will soon strip of Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare or other social safety nets for food, drugs etc is not what we wanted for you.

Is it true you do not read Orwell’s 1984 in high school because it is no longer considered fiction in a world where "War is Peace, Love is Hate" and "... law is the handmaiden of economic power ...."?

I am sorry; I am so very sorry; we are all so very sorry.

Graduates of 2014, good luck, you’ll need it!

As the speaker leaves the podium the silence is broken by an old folk song:

"... If living were a thing money could buy, you know the rich would live and the poor would die ...."

Dean Lynch,

Westminster West, May 19

Equality?

Editor of the Reformer:

It’s hard to believe that in 2014 people are still discriminating against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. I believe that it’s time for all people to be treated equally. Someone in my family is gay, and I think it’s fine for them to be gay. I feel like LGBT people are being treated harshly by other people. It’s obvious that LGBT people don’t get treated equally. In the United States only six states let LGBT people get married. According to the National Organization for Women, "Marriage equality is a reality in the District of Columbia and six other states, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont."

Gay and lesbian teens are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than other youth. According to Gay and Transgender Homelessness by the Numbers, "About 30 percent of all completed suicides have been related to sexual identity crisis." This means that gay teens are kids who get bullied more and are more likely to commit suicide. I believe that gay kids, and teens suffer with depression because they don’t think that their friends will understand, and they don’t feel like they would be treated normally anymore. I believe that they should be supported.

According to the National Organization for Women, "Many lesbian and gay parents, however, are unable to assume full legal parenting rights, and responsibilities." This is because in most states, gay and lesbians cannot get married, therefore, they don’t have the same rights as far as children are concerned. Children suffer unfairly because their parents are discriminated against. You may think that children with gay parents don’t have a mother, or a father, but children benefit from legal marriage. One thing that both sides of the marriage issue can agree on is that marriage strengthens families. It doesn’t matter if a kid has parents of the same sex. What matters is that they love them and they benefit from having two parents.

Same-sex people can’t get married in most states. According to Eleven Facts About Gay Marriage," 38 states have banned gay marriage through law, constitutional amendments, or both." There are people out there who think gay people should not get married because they are the same sex. I think that straight couples get mad and threatened because they think of them as "different."

By writing this letter, I am hoping to educate people about the fact that no matter what gender you are or who you love has no bearing on what kind of person you are. As humans we are all entitled to the same rights. It all comes down to the "Golden Rule." Treat others as we ourselves would want to be treated.

Cassidy Deedman,

Academy School, April 21