We the class of 2019 recognize the fact that our principals, our superintendents, our board members, and many of our teachers are here tonight. Only time will tell if we need to thank them. I'm not saying this to be mean or disrespectful, and I recognize that many here tonight will consider it a serious breach of decorum to begin a speech this way. I'm not trying to be rude either. I am just stating a fact.
Too often, the citizens of this great country just accept without question what the establishment places before them as being good and needed. Yet, many times and ever more increasingly this is simply not the case. Sometimes it is just a matter of being too lazy to check things out, and just as often it is matter of not wanting to bring attention to yourself as someone who questions authority.
And I'm not one who is particularly big on questioning authority. In a perfect world, I would have it said that our authorities never needed to be questioned, that everything they did was always right and true. But, unfortunately, I am just not seeing that; but I do see that the world we live is not perfect nor has never been perfect.
The people who have the authority to grant my right to speak tonight, I would be safe to guess, would rather have me up here gushing about our prospects and our futures. They would smile happily if all I did was talk about about how bravely my classmates and I will sally forth to face a world full of oppression and bad intentions, and how by being of good heart ourselves and armed with the great intelligence and creativity that we have gathered from our 12 years in our local school system, we will one day overcome and rout the forces of evil.
And everybody in the stands would clap and cheer, if all I did was christen us all, the entire graduating class of 2019, as fledging social justice warriors determined to rid the world of all vice and dissenting opinion.
And I can't do that. And the reason is because it is a bullshit idea.
We are going forth into a world that now pushes the idea that there is only one way to think, and if you don't happen to think that way, you are unworthy of existence, and no one should talk to you ever again, and all your previous actions and words should be stricken from the annals of history.
Free thought is being strangled by a corporate method of thinking where everything and everybody needs to be at all times liked and desired, and all dissent and free thinking is not only discouraged, but is equated with racism, fascism, and the spreading of hatred. Wherein a normal world, it would only be considered a different way of thinking, and contrary view points and ideas understood to be as important to sustaining a free society as air is to drowning man.
We do not need safe spaces and trigger words. We need to be challenged and made uncomfortable, we need to leave the womb of our mothers, the warmth of our parent's house, the boundaries of our small town, in order to go forth and search out our destinies, and to come back changed for the better. We do not need to become perfect; we need only to be changed for the better.
We need to explore our attic spaces and our darker natures and learn to wrestle with our own demons and learn to defeat the monsters that we will encounter along the way. We need to climb trees, to scrape our elbows and our knees, get our feelings hurt, and to be made sad. We need to learn how to fall and how to get back up. We need to learn how failure usually waters the roots of success.
For if we always hide beneath our blankets and in safe rooms while letting others protect us and our parents and our teachers define both are fears and our responses, how will we ever learn to become fully functioning human beings.
We need to become the prodigal children, the one's who leave home with a pocketful of dreams and a rebellious nature to make our mark upon the world. We need to see the world as it really is and people as they really are, and not view it as a fake progressive paradise inhabited by hordes of narcissistic, virtuous zombies afraid of speaking their own truth.
We need to be the children who come back home ragged, aged, and scarred, and more than a little bit disillusioned, but a hell of a lot wiser and more determined than ever to become the individuals who we are meant to be.
Otherwise, what's the point?