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.
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by Melissa Musick Nussbaum My Table Is Spread