Senator Ben Sasse gave a high school commencement speech Saturday at his alma mater Freemont High School. Sasse delivered the speech remotely, and honestly it seemed more like a stand-up comedy routine. Wildly entertaining, it ranged from Joe Exotic to murder hornets and black holes. If you want to laugh, feel free to watch it in its entirety. It is about eight minutes long and if you don’t smile once, you just might be a communist:
However, according to the Associated Press, this was a very problematic speech:
U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse’s attempt at humor during a speech at a Nebraska high school’s online commencement — which included jokes about students’ fitness and psychologists and also blamed China for the coronavirus outbreak — drew strong criticism.
The criticism came from one school board member and his Democratic opponent in November. Shocker there. I am pretty sure Democrat Chris Janicek’s entire job between now and November is to criticize pretty much everything Senator Sasse does and says. I’ll bet the school board member is a helicopter parent.
The school board member found Sasse’s comments about psychologists despicable according to a Facebook post. Sasse joked about them being the profession that stays employed by helping people forget what happened in high school:
Fremont school board member Michael Petersen called on Sasse to apologize. On his public Facebook page, Petersen said, “You deserved better than the graduation remarks from Senator Ben Sasse. The racism, implying that our graduates are fat and lazy, disparaging teachers, and attacking the mental health profession are despicable.”
Ummm, sir, China is a country not a race. We have many allies that are Asian. It is actually the Chinese Communist Party’s least interesting attribute.
Honestly, it seemed like the senator was trying to make a joke to relate high school seniors who were cheated out milestones like the entire baseball season and prom. I know the ones in my life feel cheated. I am sure the ones in Nebraska do too.
However, the most ridiculous criticism came regarding Sasse’s comments about the pandemic. Apparently you aren’t supposed to tell high school seniors the truth. After assuring the students most people don’t remember high school graduation, he said this class would certainly remember theirs in 2020 at future high school reunions:
“Remember that time when China started a big global pandemic that created the worst public health crisis in over a century and brought the economy to its knees and we had to stay home and everybody was hoarding toilet paper.”
I fail to see anything inaccurate in that statement or anything will likely not be seared in these graduates’ memories. He also said one of the challenges in the next few years would be figuring out how to deal with the “thugs” in the Chinese Communist Party.
This was very, very bad according to his opponent:
“It’s hard for me to believe that a U.S. senator would make remarks like he did in that speech,” said Janicek. “Ridiculing mental health care specialists, suggesting that the graduates are lazy slackers and using the platform to blame China for the pandemic we have now is beyond reprehensible.”
I do not know a single high school student who would deny going full slob during the last few months. Learning over video frees them up from all kinds of primping. And who does Janicek suggest we attribute the pandemic to?
Also, Sasse closed by telling the students they were going to be an integral part of determining how we bring our economy back. And because they are Americans and Nebraskans, they are tough enough to weather this crisis and prosper.
Moreover, Janicek is on the wrong side of the China issue. A full 91% of Americans would rather see America as a world leader and nearly 70% have an unfavorable view of China according to a recent Pew Research poll. I can only imagine by November that number will go up. In fact, Trump economic advisor Peter Navarro put it perfectly: There will be two issues in November, our policy towards China and the economy.
.@PeterNavarro45: “Yeah, well Joe Biden has got 40 years of sucking up to the Chinese, including the eight years as Vice President and we know about the billion dollars that his son took from the Chinese.” pic.twitter.com/uHtVsYrcbK
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) May 17, 2020
Senator Sasse hit both of them with pitch-perfect humor inviting the new graduates along for the ride.