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.
Welcome to World Cup 2022, the most absurd thing that the routinely absurd world of sports has ever produced.
Those extreme descriptions were what virtually the entire world, save for those who had walked off with bags of cash from Qatar, called the awarding of soccer’s greatest event to the incredibly tiny, incredibly wealthy country back in 2010.
Twelve years ago, many were convinced this event couldn’t possibly happen: staging the world’s biggest sporting event in a country the size of Connecticut, one with zero soccer culture and even less soccer infrastructure? The tournament couldn’t possibly take place in 120-degree heat, and FIFA, the governing body of soccer, most certainly wouldn’t upend football leagues around the world to change the traditional summer schedule, could it?
And, for God’s sake, what about the beer?
Those were just the logistical concerns. The moral concerns are far more distressing. FIFA, so busy paying lip service to equality, couldn’t possibly expect the world to embrace a country where you could go to prison for being gay, where women’s rights are severely curtailed and female victims of sexual assault could go to prison, charged with engaging in extramarital sex. And all those questions came before the global realization that the World Cup was being built on the backs of migrant labor: modern-day slaves held in Qatar with virtually no rights, low wages and no ability to leave. Migrants make up 90% of Qatar’s stated population of 3 million. The country’s native-born equal about 300,000, or roughly the size of Anaheim.
---Ann Killion, columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.