Joe Biden Tells Cornell Seniors: 'Go Out and Wake Us Up'
Joe Biden Tells Cornell Seniors: 'Go Out and Wake Us Up'
Former VP Joe Biden is unsettled by the state of the nation — but he hasn't lost his trademark optimism
29 May, 2017, 04:54
Speaking at a graduation commencement ceremony at Cornell University on Saturday, former Vice President Joe Biden touched on the decline in political discourse in the USA and offered some advice to the young graduates who are still trying to make sense of the world.
"Speaking at Cornell University's Convocation ceremony, Biden conceded that "globalization has cost some" people their livelihoods" and that is why the last election proved that "playing to their fears rather than their hopes and better angels" can still be a "powerful political tool".
"I thought we had passed the days where it was acceptable for political leaders at local and national levels to bestow legitimacy on hate speech and fringe ideologies", he said.
People who hold views antithetical to one's own are "not flattened versions of humanity ... they're a whole person", Biden said. "To make it in the world, just like you". "He wasn't just talking about those born in the United States - not just the wealthy - he was talking about any person with the desire, the drive and the capacity to excel". Like Biden, Clinton used her speech as a thinly veiled attack on Trump's policies - even drawing comparisons between Trump and former president Richard M. Nixon.
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Beyond his condemnations of the current administration, Biden urged the graduating class not to "disengage" from politics.
"But I assure you that this is a temporary state of affairs", he said.
But he had some reassurances for the graduates: "your reaction, you graduates in particular, is understandable", Biden said. "The American people will not sustain this attitude for long - I promise you", said Biden.
"I remember my colleagues and I looking at each other when we graduated, and thinking, how could this be happening?" he said.
The former Vice President has also given the commencement speech at two other universities this spring. "What happens in your country, your community, your neighborhood affects you". "Graduating class of 2017, go out there and wake us up".
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