With graduation season upon us, I’d like to say congrats to all of the members of the class of 2017. I hope you all find success in your future endeavors and learn from the many mistakes you’ll make on your respective journeys. In keeping with this theme of graduating, I’d like to bring everyone’s attention to what happened at Notre Dame’s commencement ceremony this past weekend. As I’m sure you’re all aware, Vice President Mike Pence was asked to give the commencement speech to the graduating seniors and shortly after his speech began, a decent sized group of students decided that they would walk out on their own graduation ceremony. Of course, your typical left-leaning media outlets made sure to get video and portrayed them as true patriots. I made the mistake of looking at the Facebook comments attached to one of the circulating videos and of course the majority response was that these students were so brave for protesting the monster that the media knows as Mike Pence. It’s too bad that after all the years spent at school studying and socializing, these kids still haven’t learned a damn thing about the real world.
I remember the commencement speaker at my college graduation. He wasn’t some hotshot celebrity or world leader. He was a successful businessman who started his own network security company. I wasn’t blown away by the speech. To tell you the truth, I thought it was a little long-winded, but I still listened. Why? Because this guy created something great from his own mind and ingenuity. He had the drive to take a risk, make mistakes, learn from said mistakes, and create something better than he had originally envisioned. Isn’t that the type of guy you would want to hear from when you’re about to set foot into the real working world? Even if you’re only half-listening to that kind of speech, your ears will have to hear at least one line that will stop and make you think about your own future. When you’re a graduating senior leaving the safety net that is school, you need all the inspirational lines you can get. So Notre Dame steps up to the plate and gets the freaking Vice President to deliver that note of inspiration. Mike Pence holds the second highest office in the land, so I would assume he has a few stories of triumphs and failures that could be used to impart wisdom on young minds. As opposed to setting aside their political views for one minute to perhaps gain a nugget of knowledge they didn’t posses yet, some students made the selfish decision to leave and demonstrate their own terrible ignorance and arrogance.
I’m not criticizing the action of walking out. As I’ve stated in my previous posts, I believe wholeheartedly in the first amendment. However, an action like this is so dumb that I have to question if these students learned anything at all. College is supposed to be a place of higher learning. This is the place where people and ideas of all varying backgrounds and convictions interact with one another. Old ideas are challenged. New insights are obtained. Perhaps a new world view is born. Perhaps an old one is better justified. And yet, colleges are no longer encouraging this kind of behavior. They are saying that only certain ideas are allowed. If someone challenges your view, you are no longer expected to defend it. Now you can just claim the opposing viewpoint as hate speech and retreat to one of many convenient “safe spaces” that your campus has set up. This kind of action is not helping these students grow. It’s merely demonstrating to them that it’s perfectly okay to block out any viewpoints you don’t like. If you don’t believe me, look at what happened at UC Berkeley when Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter tried coming to town. The students rioted and used the visits as an excuse to damage property and attack Trump supporters. They committed felonies simply because they didn’t like what these polarizing conservative speakers had to say. But here’s the catch. Neither person even got to speak! How can you protest (riot) against a viewpoint that you haven’t even heard yet? With behavior like this, it is obvious that some of the students leaving colleges today are simply overgrown children. They are ignorant to the viewpoints that go against their own philosophies and when one of these opposing viewpoints directly confronts them, they choose to throw hissy fits in the form of riots, protests, and labeling certain views as hate speech.
Mike Pence spoke for one minute before some Notre Dame students started to file out. I watched the film and unless I saw a doctored copy, it seems that in that first minute, Pence only did the typical introduction stuff. What did he say that was so horrible that some students couldn’t bear to listen to the rest of the speech? Oh, CNN’s telling me he’s just a monster. Now I understand. These students should be ashamed of themselves. They are so caught up in their own philosophies and have never been told that some of their philosophies are wrong. They’ve only been coddled when they’ve been challenged on their beliefs. The real world doesn’t care about feelings. It cares about your contributions. My fear for this group of students is that they are so out of touch with opposition that when they face it for the first time, they will not be able to cope. Colleges are not doing any favors by encouraging comfort when debate is a better option. If we truly want a great nation, we need input from everybody. Viewpoints must be debated. Negotiations must be made. That is how we make progress. Silencing the opposition is not productive.
To those students who sat through Mike Pence’s address, I thank you. Thank you for actually trying to learn one last lesson from a successful American before you venture out on your own. To those students of the liberal variety who stuck around, I thank you even more. Thank you for not trying to be cool and edgy by walking out of your own commencement ceremony simply because you didn’t like who was talking. Thank you for listening to another viewpoint that may have clashed with yours. You are the type of students that still make me hopeful for the next generation. To the students who chose to walk out, it seems you have learned nothing at all. When opposition comes calling, you choose to walk away as opposed to putting your own philosophies to the test. Ignorance to conservative viewpoints may be cool in college, but probably won’t get you too far in the working world. I have one last suggestion to these students. If you’re planning to go out to eat to celebrate your graduation, make sure to ask for a kid’s menu. You’re not mature enough for the adult one yet.