for a Rural Central PA High School
Ladies and Gentlemen of the graduating class,
If I were invited to give your commencement address, which is as likely as having Bugs Bunny, I would like to share the following.
You live in a rural, conservative, somewhat homogeneous part of the USA where people are the salt of the earth. I've lived here my entire life, and would not want to be elsewhere. But even here, we can be connected to a wondrous, massive world of thought, understanding, and wonder through further education, books, newspapers, and the internet. You need only to keep an open mind.
I frequently hear your one-sided comments about politics that you've heard from those you look up to. I have shocking news! Parents, teachers, ministers, attornies, reporters, and politicians are not always right. If you keep your ears and hearts open, you will learn there are many sides to any issue. You will probably change your mind about things several times throughout your lifetime as you learn and gain more experience.
Science is good; the world really is warming. Education is good as long as it is not filtered to fit a particular view. For instance, the Civil War really was about slavery despite some textbooks in southern states. Pay attention to those who have devoted their lives to learning. I sometimes feel that we are living in a world like China during the communist revolution when college professors were maligned, humiliated, and thrown into jail.
We are living in a time when income disparity is greater than at any other time in our history. Stop calling the rich "job creators." There is no evidence that income disparity does any good for us at the bottom of the heap. The only power we have is to vote. DO IT!
The US healthcare system performs abysmally compared to other industrialized societies. We need universal health care. The only reason you think this is bad, is because the insurance companies are fighting it tooth and nail. Don't believe them.