Finally, we can stop paying attention to Trump destroying the American political system and instead turn to a truly profound threat to our democracy: college students being mean to right-wing extremists.
Betsy DeVos went to Bethune-Cookman University on Wednesday, knowing her first commencement address as secretary of education could get ugly at the historically black institute of higher education.
It did — fast. Over sporadic heckling, and at some points to the backs of gown-clad graduates refusing to face her, Ms. DeVos implored: “One of the hallmarks of higher education, and of democracy, is the ability to converse with and learn from those with whom we disagree. And while we will undoubtedly disagree at times, I hope we can do so respectfully. Let’s choose to hear each other out.”
The school’s president, Edison O. Jackson, had to pause the ceremony about one minute into Ms. DeVos’s address to tell the crowd of students, “If this behavior continues, your degrees will be mailed to you.”
Above the jeers, Ms. DeVos delivered the standard exhortation to graduates to live a life of service, with courage and grace in the spirit of their school’s namesake.
It was a message that thousands believed Ms. DeVos — who many contend represents an administration that has shown only superficial knowledge of and support for historically black colleges and universities — was in no position to deliver to the 380 graduates of the school, which was founded by the educator and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune.
I await the inevitable New Yorker article about how college students unwilling to tolerate extremists on their campus is an existential threat to the republic. Could this be worse than the true terror of Oberlin students angry about the ethnic food in their cafeteria? Only several 8000 word articles in major publications can help us find out!