i have a few things to say about Obama’s commencement address at ASU this week.
First, i think the address itself was really good. I like how he keep’s it real. Even though he now officially part of “The System” he can still talk about short-term election-winning activities and doing what’s good for the country. That makes me happy. He says:
In the face of these challenges, it may be tempting to fall back on the formulas for success that have dominated these recent years. Many of you have been taught to chase after the usual brass rings: being on this “who’s who” list or that top 100 list; how much money you make and how big your corner office is; whether you have a fancy enough title or a nice enough car.
You can take that road – and it may work for some of you. But at this difficult time, let me suggest that such an approach won’t get you where you want to go; that in fact, the elevation of appearance over substance, celebrity over character, short-term gain over lasting achievement is precisely what your generation needs to help end.
I also thought it was cool how he was able to relate Winston Churchill to Kurt Warner:
Just look to history. Thomas Paine was a failed corset maker, a failed teacher, and a failed tax collector before he made his mark on history with a little book called Common Sense that helped ignite a revolution. Julia Child didn’t publish her first cookbook until she was almost fifty, and Colonel Sanders didn’t open up his first Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was in his sixties. Winston Churchill was dismissed as little more than a has-been, who enjoyed scotch just a bit too much, before he took over as Prime Minister and saw Great Britain through its finest hour. And no one thought a former football player stocking shelves at the local supermarket would return to the game he loved, become a Super Bowl MVP, and then come here to Arizona and lead your Cardinals to their first Super Bowl.
Each of them, at one point in their life, didn’t have any title or much status to speak of. But they had a passion, a commitment to following that passion wherever it would lead, and to working hard every step along the way.
But by far my favorite thing about him going to ASU and not getting an honorary degree is The Daily Show skit about it. They just take ASU apart. Click to watch: