Former President Barack Obama’s virtual commencement address told college graduates that the handling of the coronavirus pandemic is a mess, without mentioning Trump by name.
“This pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing. A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.
If the world is going to get better, it’s going to be up to you.”
Last night, during the Graduate Together special hosted by LeBron James, Obama said,
“You know, all those adults that you used to think were in charge and knew what they were doing, turns out they don’t have all the answers.
A lot of them aren’t even asking the right questions…”
Obama criticized the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis during a phone call earlier this month with former staffers calling it,
“An absolute chaotic disaster”
During his message Obama also spoke of how the pandemic has disproportionately affected black communities,
“A disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country. We see it in the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on our communities.”
Obama said, referring to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man in Georgia,
“Just as we see it when a black man goes for a jog and some folks feel like they can stop and question and shoot him if he doesn’t submit to their questioning. Injustice like this isn’t new.”
Obama gave three pieces of advice for the graduating class to “create change.”
“No generation has been better positioned to be warriors for justice and remake the world… you’re all role models now, whether you like it or not.
Your participation in this democracy, your courage to stand up for what’s right, your willingness to forge coalitions, these actions will speak volumes. And if you’re inactive, that will also speak volumes.”
America’s gone through tough times before … and each time we came out stronger, usually because of a new generation, young people like you, learned from past mistakes and figured out how to make things better.
I hope that … you decide to ground yourself in values that last, like honesty, hard work, responsibility, fairness, generosity, respect for others. You won’t get it right every time, you’ll make mistakes like we all do.
But if you listen to the truth that’s inside yourself, even when it’s hard, even when it’s inconvenient, people will notice. They’ll gravitate towards you. And you’ll be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
No one does big things by themselves. … if we’re going to save the environment and defeat future pandemics, then we’re going to have to do it together. Stand up for one another’s rights. Leave behind all the old ways of thinking that divide us — sexism, racial prejudice, status, greed — and set the world on a different path.
“Congratulations, Class of 2020.
Keep making us proud.”
Andy Borowitz nailed why the commencement was seen as so scathing…