The news that Condi Rice has bowed out of her planned speaking engagement at Rutgers University's graduation ceremony is disturbing. Of course, I am secretly glad that somebody other than a Catholic school is having this kind of discussion. But, Rice is not just a person of stature and intellect, the kind of person you would want giving a graduation speech, she is a remarkable person. I was not a fan of the foreign policy decisions of which she was a part, but I admire anyone with the guts to perform piano and cello duets with Yo-Yo Ma when offered the opportunity. (I declined the offer to do organ and cello duets, not for performance, just for fun because I feared I would be sweating so much I would damage the organ!) There is something screwy in our culture when someone like Rice is deemed unfit for a speaking slot at a graduation ceremony. The name Cotton Mather comes to mind. It is one of the dark sides of the American psyche. It should be resisted.
Looking for comments?
We've suspended comments on NCRonline.org for a while. If you missed that announcement, learn more about our decision here.