Today, Condoleezza Rice ended the controversy over her upcoming commencement address at Rutgers University; she turned down the invitation.
According to Fox News, in an announcement earlier today, she said, “Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for graduates and their families. Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time. I am honored to have served my country. I have defended America’s belief in free speech and the exchange of ideas. These values are essential to the health of our democracy. But that is not what is at issue here. As a professor for thirty years at Stanford University and as its former Provost and Chief Academic Officer, I understand and embrace the purpose of the commencement ceremony, and I am unwilling to detract from it in any way.”
Wise and gracious words from the former Secretary of State, and I’m sure she’s probably disappointed at feeling it necessary to decline the invitation. I’m also sure that Rutgers President Robert Barchi is equally disappointed, because he refused to buckle when pressured to withdraw Rice’s invitation.
So a few radically liberal students and professors won, only they didn’t. Not really. They raised their shrill voices in protest of the university having invited Dr. Rice to speak, and as of today, she granted them their wish. Meanwhile, by the way, shaming them with her words, although I doubt any of them will see it that way. Yes, she extended thoughtfulness toward them so as not to ruin their special day – after all, it’s much more important that they hear from someone who’s going to tickle their ears with what they want to hear rather than listen to an accomplished scholar and statesman who’s political views are abhorrent to them only by virtue of being different from the views they hold. Those who protested her have my pity because of their tunnel vision and narrow-mindedness, not to mention their complete lack of manners in welcoming an ideological opponent. Their years at Rutgers have been wasted, because they’re not looking for honest and open enquiry; only validation. They’ve proven themselves insignificant and not worth further comment.
Although I’ve always admired Condoleezza Rice, my admiration of her grew today. And so did my admiration for President Robert Barchi for his comments when he refused to withdraw her invitation. God bless both of them.