Went to two graduations on Thursday – middle school and high school.
Listened to graduates called up for diplomas – familiar town names over the years, Italian, African-American, Polish.
Meantime, mischief was being made in Washington, D.C, and Great Britain.
The Supreme Court was showing its contempt for the new wave of immigrants and British voters were choosing to leave the European Union, mainly because of immigration. (That's the thanks they show for the grand gift of curry and roti; they were eating bangers and mash before they let in the new people.)
The student speaker at one graduation had a Hispanic name, spoke perfect English in a witty talk.
The next generation. The Jordans and the Jennifers. America.
I heard names being called that came from India and Pakistan. Central America. Korea and China and Japan. Several young women bowed their heads, Asian-style, to their teachers on the stage,
I eavesdropped as three mothers greeted each other, one with a thick Hispanic accent. Their familiarity spoke of parent-teacher conferences, art shows, sidelines at soccer matches on nippy afternoons.
In Washington and Britain, people were building walls, you might say.
The same week a great moral leader, an American treasure named John Lewis, reminded some of us how to demonstrate for fairness. The sourpuss speaker of the house labelled it a stunt. Guess he never studied civics in Wisconsin.
The middle school graduates lined up in alphabetical order, with four years of order ahead of them.
In the late afternoon, the high-school graduates swarmed in no order whatsoever, clusters of friends, glimpses of cutoffs and shorts under billowing robes – all energy and brashness, more than ready to move on.
Taxes are brutal in this part of the world, but the school district has done its job. We heard these graduates had earned $2.2-million in scholarships.
In this one corner of the world, the system seemed to be working.
At one family gathering, both graduates brought friends with recent roots overseas. Nice kids. Bright eyes. On their way.
In Scotland, the presumptuous Republican candidate – who, by the way, looks puffy, pasty-faced, not well, about to explode – congratulated the Scots for the Brexit vote.
He somehow missed the point that the Scots had voted to remain in the E.U. The Scots are mocking him, big-time.
Guess Wharton didn’t teach civics. Or else Trump simply cannot assimilate facts.
Late that night, money people around the world panicked. That’s the way the lemmings leap.
Happy graduation. Happy world.
6/25/2016 06:33:31 am
Congratulations to the grads and may they repeat the process a few more times and without crippling debt!
6/25/2016 10:31:39 pm
Brian, thanks. From what I read, there is a huge gap -- parents voting for Leave, their children wanting Remain.
6/26/2016 09:21:40 am
Your late NYT colleague, Bill Cunningham, has been quoted as saying, "Money is the cheapest thing -- Liberty and freedom is the most expensive." Maybe that's part of the equation. Hard stuff with real consequences. Agreed.
6/26/2016 10:20:31 am
Brian, he was one of the most free people I ever encountered. Marianne asked how old he was. My quickie response was, "Nine -- or 129." I only knew him via colleagues, observing him, shrugging off the latest robbery of his bike. A true artist. I could care less about fashion, or society but I looked at his photos in Style every Sunday, thinking of it as his world.
6/26/2016 07:24:19 pm
Peggy just said "He is so often on the same page with us." We just attended two college graduations for our two grandchildren, Alec at U. Colorado in Boulder, and Gwen at "The Johns Hopkins University." (They, the administration, not the kids, are a bit pedantic about the "The.").
6/27/2016 10:45:30 am
Ed, yes, we are on the same pathway. I didn't go into it, but as far as I can see, the bulk of science/math honors in that system are won by Asian/South Asian kids.
6/27/2016 10:15:36 am
I enjoyed the piece. Our daughter is a year away from HS graduation and we have been visiting colleges, so we are a year away from our next graduation but the future that our daughter and her generation inherits and then makes is very much on my mind. Two thoughts:
6/27/2016 10:50:10 am
Josh, thanks. Scarier yet is the certainty that Trump does not understand what he is talking about -- he just has an inchoate need to criticize and break. He cannot take in facts; I know, from having talked to him about football...and boxing...over the years. He cannot learn.
6/28/2016 03:54:39 pm
I remember all those years ago (23) when my family and I just emigrated from Europe to the USA and I sent you a letter..and you replied! Your very own father wasn't it, who was adopted by immigrant Hungarians...Maybe some distant relatives of mine even.
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“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.