Tuesday, June 3, 2014
It’s Secretary of State John Kerry’s address to Yale’s graduating class. Here are some excerpts:
Don’t fall prey to the cynicism and apathy that are “the enemies of progress,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ’66 urged graduating Yale College seniors during the 2014 Class Day ceremony held May 18 on Old Campus.
“None of our problems are without solutions — none of them. But neither will they solve themselves,” he said, adding, “You have to reject the notion that the problems are too big and too complicated so don’t wade in. You don’t have the luxury of just checking out.”
One of Kerry’s Yale professors, John Morton Blum, told his students that “All politics is a reaction to felt needs” — a phrase, the alumnus said, that has become “indelibly stamped into my consciousness.”
“Right or wrong, and like it or not — and certainly some people didn’t like it — back then institutions were hard pressed to avoid addressing the felt needs of our country,” Kerry told the audience
“Today, the felt needs are growing at a faster pace than ever before, piling up on top of each other, while the response in legislatures and foreign capitols seems non-existent or frozen,” he said. “It’s not that the needs aren’t felt; it’s that people around the world have grown used to seeing systems or institutions failing to respond. … Right before our eyes difficult decisions are deferred or avoided altogether. Some people even give up before they try because they just don’t believe that they can make a difference. And the sum total of all this inaction is stealing the future from all of us.”
Kerry added: “For all of us, it’s really a question of will power, not capacity. It is a matter of refusing to fall prey to a cynicism and apathy that have always been the mortal enemies of progress.”
Here is an article about Secretary Kerry’s speech. It includes a link to the speech’s text.