U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez is the commencement speaker at the community college where I teach. In case David Horowitz is concerned about leftist professors on campuses taking over (h)academe ( a word coined by Gore Vidal ) our community college is doing her part to stand alone against the liberal invasion and destruction of American college students' minds.
Many members of our faculty are offended and many of course are not. Some are rather proud to have a man of General Gonzalez's position speak at our college. Some believe that well, say what you will, at least someone of stature is coming to speak. Someone who won't be boring.
Yes, yes, he is the attorney general of these United States. So was Robert Kennedy. So was John Mitchell. So was Ed Meese. And Ramsey Clark and A. Mitchell Palmer. General Gonzalez is Hispanic and our college has a significant Hispanic enrollment, administration and faculty. He is from Texas. And this is the president's daddy's home town.
I would rather not have a speaker who wrote memos suggesting that the United States did not have to follow the Geneva Convention. Even though we signed it and ratified it and made it part of our laws. Even if it is in our self interests to follow it so that our soldiers are treated according to the agreement when they are held captive. Or if they are not, we at least have grounds on which to complain. Now we don't have grounds.
Ken Starr once spoke at my law school's graduation. One of our Deans taught Judge Starr the rules of evidence when Starr was in law school. Fortunately, he didn't speak at my class' graduation. I would not have attended. I am not going to my employer's graduation ceremonies,either.
I wonder if General Gonzalez will talk about torture? Would the phrases he used in that memo to justify torturing detainees inspire our graduates? Might he be President Bush's first appointment to the Supreme Court? Might his advocacy of execution for convicted murders--who probably included the mentally retarded and those under the age of majority when they offended--be a significant part of his speech before the gathered grandparents, parents, and friends of graduates?
I doubt it. He will no doubt discuss the value of loyalty to the boss and working for law and order through a conservative interpretation of the Constitution. He will discuss the virtues of the Patriot Act and how President Bush has no doubt used law to protect us from another terror attack. He might mention how those activist judges are ruining the efforts of law enforcement and the will of the people. He might address how education is a good thing, but is a better thing if it is obtained without federal aid since the Bush administration is cutting student loans and federal funding. He might talk about the Texas Legislature's attempts to take children away from gay/lesbian foster parents and ban same sex marriage. Will he talk about the high public school drop out rate for Hispanic Texans? Will he talk about immigration? Will he talk about how affirmative action helped him get into law school?
Will anyone listen? Is what we have to say as a nation meaningful after we sanction torture?