To borrow a phrase Sen. Sasse likes to use, "Let's be clear": This speech was NOT for the graduating seniors of Fremont High School. It was for their parents. Not only are they much more likely to vote, but they're also much more likely to watch the entire speech. I can't imagine these 18-yr-olds were thinking, "Ooh, I have about seven minutes to kill, I'll choose to watch this speech from a guy wearing a tie." (Would you have watched this as a teen if you didn't have to?)
What are people upset about in this speech?
- Racism: He repeatedly blames China for causing all of this, or at least making it worse by not being more transparent early in the spread. (Well? Is he wrong?)
- Psychology-ism: He takes some generous shots at this profession, and suggests the students not pursue this career field. (If I'm a psychologist, I don't want the competition! I don't want these kids coming up and taking my job!)
- Fat-ism: He makes a crack about this younger generation not being very fit. (The truth never tastes as good as a gallon of ice cream.)
- Jeremy-ism: This reference is directly for the students' parents, who grew up listening to this Pearl Jam song about a school shooter named "Jeremy." If you're not in your 40s with an old flannel shirt in the closet, you were probably wondering what he was talking about there. (The song definitely had an impact. In the '70s through the early '90s, Jeremy was about the 40th most popular baby name. After the song came out, it immediately dropped to the 80s, and is no longer in the top 100.)
I thought the speech was vintage Ben Sasse: Maybe a little rambly in parts, but always interesting and often funny. I'd be curious to know how many of those who are complaining about this speech on social media didn't like the Senator before they saw the speech. I'd also be curious to know how many of those complainers remember who gave the commencement address at THEIR high school graduation. (I don't.)