As if dealing with the milestone of high school graduation being ripped away from them wasn’t bad enough, graduates of Fremont High School had to suffer through a taped commencement speech that has been called “the worst graduation speech of all time.”
Instead of providing the high school seniors with uplifting words of encouragement for their future in these uncertain times, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse used his speaking engagement to further the agenda of blaming China for how the United States is handling the coronavirus outbreak.
“[COVID-19] has hit our state hard. It’s probably hit your family. It’s hit our whole country and nobody knows exactly how we’re going to be a this thing. But you know what? We’re Americans. We’re Nebraskans. We’ve got grit and we’re gonna beat this thing,” he said. “We’re going to have to have a serious reckoning with the thugs in China who let this mess spiral out of control by lying about it.”
It wasn’t the only time Sasse took aim at China during his speech, nor was the remainder of his address to graduates any better.
Many of his comments actually seemed to come at the expense of the students, downplaying their accomplishments, comparing them negatively to his own generation, and joking about the “sacrifice” they were making by finally getting out of sweats to attend online graduation — an undoubtedly sore spot for many teenagers right now.
Sasse also took the time to rag on parents for presumably not being amazing teachers to their now stay-at-home students, and lashed out at psychology and anyone thinking of majoring in the field.
“Ninety-five percent of all gainfully employed psychologists — and I’m serious, there are dozens of them that are gainfully employed — their job is really just to help people forget high school and the other 5%, they just research hamsters who get lost in mazes, which come to think of it is a lot like high school and that’s why we want to forget it,” he said.
People were livid on behalf of the students who had to have Sasse’s speech as one of their final memories.
The nicest thing anyone can say about Sasse is that it seems as though he was trying to be funny. But his jokes fell flat over and over and over again, largely because they just seemed so mean-spirited and degrading towards the teens he was supposed to be celebrating.
His speech was even denounced by a member of the school board.
Michael Petersen immediately demanded an apology from Sasse on behalf of the graduating class, and noted that he was trying to find out which administrator at the school had approved the recording before allowing it to be played for the class.
“To me, somebody should have raised a red flag somewhere,” Petersen said. “The fact that nobody did raises a red flag.”
The school district itself has attempted to distance itself from Sasse’s speech, insisting that “the words spoken belong to the individual that said them, not the school district.”
Hopefully this is the last time Sasse ever gets asked to deliver a commencement speech for any graduating class. Nobody needs to find out if he can sink even lower.