A Graduation Speech

My wife’s kindergarten class is graduating this week, and she’s been asked to make a brief statement. I suggested she read this.

Mothers, fathers, colleagues, friends, and students,
We stand here in the twilight of a great time. For more than 200 years, we have lived the greatest moments of all human history. Every man and woman has been born knowing that their life would be better than their parents. Not just could be better, but would be better. There would be more money, more rights, more goodness. Literacy has brought words into every mind. Capitalism has filled our wallets and our homes. Democracy has given us the power to shape our destiny.

But all that has ended. The poets among us say that it ended with the New Millennium on September 11, 2001. This is Sophistry. The roots of our darkness were sown decades ago in the greed and selfishness began even in the 1960’s: The Manson Family and the SLA, Michael Milken and his billion dollar bonus, a World Bank and Free Trade disguised as prosperity for all but really a source of protection for the rich.

It is twilight now and soon all around us will be darkness. But I ask you, have you ever stood alone in the wilderness without even a single candle and looked about you? Even in the nightfall, there is so much to see. In the blackness of the darkest night, there are a thousand points of brightness that light up the sky. There is never a time without light, without hope.

I look across this world, across our country – Taiwan – across this room and I see 31 points of light. I see Steve and Mary. I see Robert, Virginia, and Amy. And I know that with their brightness, their talent, the gift that each of their lives has brought to everyone around them; I know there will be hope for our future.


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