Although this is my third consecutive piece about the situation between former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the brouhaha surrounding her invitation to speak at the commencement exercises at Rutgers University, it will be my last. I don’t like returning to the same topic too soon, and I particularly don’t like posting about it twice in a row, much less three times, but this time I feel it’s called for.
It should be no secret now that I like Condi Rice, so anyone who thinks this article is biased in favor of her – you’re probably right. If you think it’s because she’s conservative, though, you’re wrong – dead wrong. It’s also not because she’s a woman, nor because she’s black, nor any of the other usual push-button labels that most of us are so quick to latch onto. It’s because I know a railroad job when I see one, and Dr. Rice has been run out of town on a rail, all because of the utter intolerance of a few loudly vocal people who couldn’t tolerate the thought of her delivering their commencement address.
According to Fox News, in an open letter to university president Robert Barchi, Donald P. Coughlan of the Eagleton Undergraduate Associates wrote, “The decision surprised many and evoked a wide range of responses on the Rutgers University Campus, social media, and in the national media. An overwhelming number of students were disappointed in Condoleezza Rice no longer being the commencement speaker after a small minority of the student body and intolerant faculty members at Rutgers University protested loudly over the past month… a university should be a place where free ideas are exchanged and a diversity of opinions are encouraged.”
Indeed, Mr. Coughlan. A university should be a place where free ideas are exchanged and a diversity of opinions are encouraged. But this begs the question… where were the majority of students that were looking forward to welcoming Dr. Rice as their commencement speaker? Why weren’t they equally as vocal until Dr. Rice declined the invitation to speak? My guess, and this is only a guess, is that they were attending their lectures, doing their research, writing papers, exchanging ideas with others, and sharing and listening to a diversity of opinions. In other words, they were getting their education and preparing themselves for life instead of whining and moaning that the university was about to honor someone they personally disagreed with. They didn’t have time for sit-ins or protests. On top of that, people who are serious about getting on with life and carving out a future for themselves don’t express themselves by participating in shrill, grating protests, demonstrations, or sit-ins. One thing serious people do well from time to time, though, is speak up when an injustice has been done, even if it seems a little late to be doing so. And this is why I’m glad Mr. Coughlan and others are speaking up now.
My hope is that through their speaking up, even now at this late date, a letter of apology and a second invitation will be sent to Condoleezza Rice explaining that the majority of the graduating students would like to hear her speak.
And if those leftist malcontents are still unhappy with that, let them have their own commencement speaker. I would recommend Homer Simpson…