I’m puzzled by all the complaints and fuss being made over first lady Michelle Obama’s acceptance of an invitation to speak at a high school graduation ceremony in Topeka, Kan. Instead of having absolutely no recollection of who their high school commencement speaker was, someday the kids in Topeka will not only remember who spoke but perhaps can even embellish a story about how they were the first lady’s personal escort when she came to their graduation.
I have no memory of who was charged with inspiring the class of 1976 at good ol’ Berry High School in Jefferson County, Ala. But I think if first lady Betty Ford had been there, I would remember it to this day. And I might even recall something she said. After all, how cool is it to have the first lady of The United States acknowledge your lame graduation from high school?
And spare me the whining about the quality time needed among family at a high school graduation ceremony. Seriously, there will be no difference if there are 40 attendees or 4,000. The graduates will run off to be with their friends, and everybody else will stand around telling each other how the kids sure have it easy these days.
Who knows, the first lady’s presence and words may combine to break through and actually be useful to the graduating teenagers. Having Ms. Obama address the class — especially in connection with the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision — will be completely unlike the mind-numbing pablum they undoubtedly would hear from a classmate or an uptight school board member. In case you feel like you will miss something by depriving these totally forgettable speakers their 45 minutes (each), they would say something like, “the sky’s the limit, your future is bright, blah blah blah.” The Topeka students and their families should pipe down, welcome the first lady, be thankful and pay attention!
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