Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Jean Rohe: You Go Girl!

Jean Rohe, graduate of the New School University, is far from the "idiot" that Mark Salter, John McCain top aide, said in a response to Rohe's blog entry on The Huffington Post.
In her graduation speech, she spoke out against Senator John McCain's invitation to speak at New School University's graduation ceremony.
Rohe's speech included:
" Right now, I'm going to be who I am and digress from my previously prepared remarks. I am dissapointed that I have to abandon the things I had wanted to speak about, but I feel that it is absolutely necessary to acknowledge the fact that this ceremony has become something other than the celebratory gathering that it was intended to be due to all the media attention surrounding John McCain's presence here today, and the student and faculty outrage generated by his invitation to speak here. The Senator does not reflect the ideals upon which this university was founded. Not only this, but his invitation was a top-down decision that did not take into account the desires and interests of the student body on an occassion that is supposed to honor us above all, and to commemorate our achievements.
What is interesting and bizarre about this whole situation is that Senator McCain has stated that he will be giving the same speech at all three universities where he has been invited to speak recently, of which ours is the last; those being Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, Columbia University, and finally here at the New School. For this reason I have unusual foresight concerning the themes of his address today. Based on the speech he gave at the other institutions, McCain will tell us today that dissent and disagreement are our "civic and moral obligation" in times of crisis. I consider this a time of crisis and I feel obligated to speak. Senator McCain will also tell us about his cocky self-assurdness in his youth, which prevented him from hearing the ideas of others. In so doing, he will imply that those of us who are young are too naive to have valid opinions and open ears. I am young, and although I dont profess to possess the wisdom that time affords us, I do know that preemptive war is dangerous and wrong, that George Bush's agenda in Iraq is not worth the many lives lost. And I know that despite all the havoc that my country has wrought overseas in my name, Osama bin-Laden still has not been found, nor have those weapons of mass destruction.
Finally, Senator McCain will tell us that we, those of us who are Americans, "have nothing to fear from each other". I agree strongly with this, but I take it one step further. We have nothing to fear from anyone on this living planet. Fear is the greatest impediment to the achievement of peace. We have nothing to fear from people who are different from us, from people who live in other countries, even from the people who run our goverment--and this we should have learned from our educations here. We can speak truth to power, we can allow our humanity always to come before our nationality, we can refuse to let fear invade our lives and to goad us on to destroy the lives of others. These words I speak do not reflect the arrogance of a young, strong-headed woman, but belong to a line of great progressive thought, a history in which the founders of this institution play an important part. I speak today, even through my nervousness, out of a need to honor those voices that came before me, and I hope that we graduates can all strive to do the same."
This all coming moments before John McCain was to speak.
Many fellow New School graduate's carried signs denouncing the Bush administration & the Iraq invasion, & also wore armbands.
In response to Jean Rohe's blog entry on The Huffington Post, describing here reasons for her speech, an aide to McCain wrote, " Ms.Rohe and those of her fellow graduate's hailed their school's President as a war criminal and who greeted the Senator's reference to a friend's death with laughter proved only one thing, one sad thing, that they could learn a thing or two from the students of Liberty University."
" It took no courage to do what you did, Ms. Rohe. It was an act of vanity and nothing more."
" What, pray tell, have you risked? The only person you have succeeded in making look like an idiot is yourself."
" Should you grow up and ever get down to the hard business of making a living and finding a purpose for your lives beyond self-indulgance, some of you might then know a happiness far more sublime than the fleeting pleasure of living in an echo chamber. And if you are that fortunate, you might look back on the day of your graduation and your discourtesy to a good and honest man with a little shame and the certain knowledge that it very unlikely any of you will ever possess the one small fraction of the character of John Mc Cain."
Oh, gag! What an ass!
Jean Rohe, you should be proud of your speech & all it stood for; saying what so many of us felt.
Vanity had nothing to do with it. This brave, intelligent woman will have no problems "finding a purpose" or knowing "happiness".
And I highly doubt she will look back on her graduation with "shame" & the so-called knowledge that is "very unlikely" she or her fellow graduates will "ever possess the one small fraction of the character of John McCain."
Remember: Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.