John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Condi’s Protest

Posted on May 5, 2014
Condoleezza Rice cropped

“My only plan is to continue fighting for freedom of speech and marginalized narratives in our country.”

That’s what Amani Al-Khatahtbeh wrote in the Huffington Post earlier this year in a piece where she described how she was forced to publish pro-Israel opinion pieces in the student newspaper at Rutgers University.

I only note this because Al-Khatabtbeh, who blogs at Muslim Girl and likes to think of herself as a leader in trying to bring the different faiths together, led the protest against Condi Rice.

It seems that she believes in freedom of speech only when it is her freedom to say anything she wants.

It is probably no surprise that Michael Adas, a professor of neo-colonial history at Rutgers, signed the resolution demanding the Rice not speak .  He graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1968.  My guess is that he was knee-deep in radicalism at Madison at the height of the Viet Nam War, and he has taken that radicalism to Rutgers.

Another professor, who headed the petition drive to drive Condi Rice out of Rutgers, Robert Boikess, was described as “mean” and an “arrogant SOB” according to student ratings of the professor, and he was accused by a fellow professor violating his academic freedom by making him use textbooks that he didn’t want to use.  That professor left Rutgers.

When Condi Rice initially accepted the invitation from Rutgers to speak at their commencement address, she probably didn’t know she was running into these types of characters.

There weren’t many folks who protested against the Rice Commencement Address, but what they lacked in numbers (because, really, who in their right mind would protest against Condi Rice), they made up in ideological passion.

Most people who are lucky enough to graduate from college don’t remember their Commencement Speakers.  I don’t remember my undergraduate speaker, but I do remember who spoke at the ceremony when I got my graduate degree.

It was Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and his speech wasn’t about politics.  It was about time, and how time is fleeting and how we shouldn’t waste too much of it on trivial matters.

Good advice.

Listening to Condi Rice wouldn’t have been wasted time.   But this protest against her sure was.

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