John Kerry’s confused — and confusing — message to college graduates

John Kerry’s confused — and confusing — message to college graduates
Here is Kerry brokering a lasting peace.

To say it’s silly season on college campuses across America right now is to ignore the sad travesty that higher education has become in recent years. Nevertheless, it’s commencement time, and last Friday Barack Obama addressed the class of ’16 at Howard University, where he celebrated the “new guard of black civil rights leaders.”

While Obama was reinforcing the specter of white privilege, the man who is five heartbeats away from him shared his own bogeymen with the graduating class at Northeastern University in Boston. Secretary of State John Kerry counseled against “accept [ing] advice from soundbite salesmen and carnival barkers.” He was referring to Donald Trump but the comment sounded a lot like a dig at his boss.

Referring to the “tough lesson of 9/11,” he explained:

There are no walls big enough to stop people from anywhere, tens of thousands of miles away, who are determined to take their own lives while they target others.

That may well be true, but defending a vulnerable national border by fortifying it is hardly a pointless or antiquated idea. In 2011, a mere five years ago, Kerry’s  boss was boasting that his administration had enhanced security along the southern border. Earlier this year it was determined that ISIS has already established an encampment in Mexico two miles from the U.S. border, obviously with an eye toward future incursions.

But what difference does that make to Kerry, who went on to allow as how he doesn’t believe in borders at all. “You’re about to graduate into a complex and borderless world,” he told the graduating class.

Border insecurity was not the only hot button issue Kerry touched on. He also went on to talk about the weather: “Ladies and gentlemen, last March was the hottest March in recorded history,” he said, going on to observe, “Just the other day in Houston they had 17 inches of rain in 24 hours.”

The punchline of course came in the exhortation “Don’t believe the doubters who claim that we have to make a choice between protecting the environment or growing the economy.”

But if Americans have learned anything after eight years of Barack Obama it is that everything comes down to a choice. Name one issue in the headlines that isn’t a point of bitter division between the rights of competing factions in this country right now. I’ll bet you anything Kerry can’t either.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.


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