This past Friday was Northwestern University's (my alma mater) Commencement for the Class of 2006. When my friend Elaine told me that Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) was slated to deliver the commencement address, I was really bummed that I wouldn't be able to attend. I'm even more disappointed that I missed it b/c apparently, Obama's speech was a direct response to an article Elaine had written in the Daily Northwestern, calling on him to not just inspire but to challenge the Class of '06 [Challenge us, Sen. Obama - FORUM].
I appreciated Obama's emphasis of Commencement as a rite of passage into adulthood and the concomitant responsbility to interact and respond to the world in an empathic, mature manner. Obama recounted some lessons he has learned throughout his life that can guide us in becoming adults. I found Obama's speech, which included personal experiences and more largely addressed our self-absorbed consumer culture, the current national leadership, and the U.S.'s role in the world today, inspiring without gagging and challenging without proselytizing. I feel like we can change the world! Read the speech here:
Not only did Obama deliver, but his speech was a pretty awesome shoutouts to my friend. Hey Elaine, perhaps you and Barack can start one of those pen-pal correspondances friendships like back in the day.