Yesterday my social media feed was dominated by this photo:
Why? Some people mentioned possible costs, in light of the current budget crisis, but overall the reaction was not to money but to message: how does this look? What does it say to the community? On a day which should be about young people graduating and beginning new lives we are dumbstruck by another moment of institutional disconnect.
But let's move on. As parents we know that these days should be about the kids, and about the families who have supported them in their educational journey. Four years ago Tom Coale wrote this post about commencement speeches on HoCo Rising. It's especially relevant to me today. He quotes a speech by writer David Simon:
So for God's sake, fight. And get angry if you need to get angry. A little anger is a good thing if it isn't on your own behalf, if it's for others deserving of your anger, your empathy. And if you see the wrong around you getting bigger and uglier, then speak up, and call that wrong by its true name. Learn to refuse, to dissent. And in demanding something more from yourself and from your society, you may be surprised to find that you are not entirely alone. That other voices are saying the same things, that others want the same things.
That's a good message for everyone, not just for graduates. The title of his piece, "Yesterday Was About You, Tomorrow Is About Us" feels particularly apropos. When the new journey begins, it's a journey we take together.
I hear that by later in the day the specially-printed sign had been removed from the Superintendent's private trailer. Someone must have gotten the message that when it comes to commencement, it's not about you, it's about us.