The season for the famous and influential to convey their wisdom to graduating college graduates is almost over. Your columnists waited patiently by the phone (Webb even took it to bed) for a prestigious university to invite us to deliver the commencement address. Alas, the call never came. We’re still sad, but slowly recovering.
Nevertheless, the snub doesn’t prevent us from retaliating by revealing snippets of the insights prospective commencement speakers SHOULD have imparted to the proud Class of 2015:
U.S. Sen. Mike Lee: "Yes, you have achieved a great deal in your cocoon here on campus. But the moment you set foot in the real world, the NSA and the Feds will be monitoring all your activities — if they don’t already. So run. Hide. Become a hermit. Do not use your iPhone, and be sure to delete your Facebook account. Big Brother is watching."
Utah GOP Chairman James Evans: "Always follow your dreams and passions — no matter how futile and annoying they are. Don't let others prevent you from following the direction of the most extreme and eccentric people in any organization you join. Keep pursuing pointless causes even if it alienates half the people around you.”
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch: “Now is the time to live your dreams. I advise you to outlive all your opponents and most of your friends. Nothing is more invigorating than staying in power while everyone else retires, or goes gently into that good night. You, too, could live long enough to be third in line for the presidency (and I’m gonna outlive those other guys!)."
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams: “As you go out into the world, trust in the goodness of your fellow human beings. Challenge yourself to be accepting of everyone around you. And remember to carry a voice-activated recording device when you confront a ‘good human being’ who absconded with your hard-earned resources."
Gov. Gary Herbert: “Congratulations! You and your fellow graduates are about to enter the noble world of work. Unfortunately, many of you will no longer qualify for your parents’ health insurance. And entry-level employment won’t offer insurance. And you might contract a severe disease. And without treatment you might die an ignominious (wow, did I really pronounce that?) death. So contact your legislators right now and tell them to support Healthy Utah!"
Utah House Minority Leader Brian King: "The world is waiting for you out there. So please do everything you can to support a healthy, vibrant, balanced, diverse, democracy in our state and country. Therefore, please, please do not vote in the next election, since most of you are Republicans."
House Speaker Greg Hughes: "Never, never forget where you came from. Use the experiences of your childhood, no matter how difficult, to motivate you. The tougher the neighborhood you came from, the better — even the mean streets of Pittsburgh. And for sure learn boxing, judo, karate, back-stabbing, street fighting and break dancing to impress and intimidate your work colleagues. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Democratic Party Chairman Peter Corroon: "When you leave this campus today and make the first step toward the rest of your life, please remember to take care of those in need, those who are helpless, those who can't defend themselves, those who are bereft, poor and in dire straits. In other words, remember to help a Utah Democrat.”
President Obama: You are the hope of the world. Never let setbacks make you frown. After all, I started with a Democratic Congress. Now it’s all Republican. I got Obamacare passed. Now it’s still unpopular and faces judicial challenges. I have ignored Congress and issued executive orders on many issues. Now the courts are reversing my orders. I have tried to be friendly to the world. Now the globe is in disarray and falling apart. But I’m still smiling.”
Mitt Romney: "As you go forth, always be genuine. Stick to the positions you really believe in. Don’t flip-flop. In other words, use my 2012 presidential campaign as a case study of what not to do.”
Former Congressman Jim Matheson: "Strive to be a productive member of society. There is an axiom in politics that nothing is more useless than a liberal out of office. Well I'm living proof that one can be a Democrat, who is not a liberal, who's out of office and is useful — at least to my new clients."
Congressman Jason Chaffetz: "I impart two important lessons to you today. First, there is no such thing as overexposure in the media. Second, never underestimate the ability of your enemies to be stupid. No matter how smart they are, they usually end up hiding emails, unlawfully targeting political opponents and always providing fodder for investigations."
Senate President Wayne Neiderhauser: "Be patient with the weak, foolish and slow-witted. Yes, however backward, the House of Representatives does have a role in our state."
Congressman Chris Stewart: "Always remember our Founding Fathers, the bravery of our veterans and the miracles that saved this country — and be sure to read my books about these great things.”
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox: "Work hard and do your best to get ahead. Rarely do silver bullets and jackpots occur in life. But when lightning does strike, it’s pretty sweet."
Former President George W. Bush (actual quote): “To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say, you too may one day be president of the United States.”