by Jonathan Reisman

May brings black flies, college commencements, Mother’s Day, and optimism as daffodils pop and woodpecker drumming loudly welcomes the morning.  The black flies always make me wonder about the wisdom of living in the woods as opposed to the coast, but it was commencements and Mother’s Day that threw me off my column writing routine. The deadline for editor sanity is Saturday afternoon, but I usually turn in my column by Thursday.  Column topics usually ferment in my head over the weekend and drip out of the column still on Monday and Tuesday, but something was clearly distracting me and preventing column production and completion. I think it was the memories of commencements and Mother’s Days past and questions about the future that disrupted my column production habits.

This May’s commencement marked two years from my retirement and one year since I was granted emeritus status. It is also the first Mother’s Day since Ernie, blessed be her memory, passed. I always enjoyed commencement exercises for the happy families, pomp and circumstance, and occasionally pompous speakers. Commencement is primarily about celebrating graduate accomplishments, but it is also about the road ahead, confidence, and optimism. Given the personal and political perils this May has brought me, Maine, and the country, a future-oriented confidence and optimism is desperately needed. Freedom Studies is my usual vehicle for discovering and sharing that confidence and optimism, but the familiar commencement and Mother’s Day rituals only left me more unsettled. I did not recognize an obvious, or even substantially camouflaged, column topic or theme. I finally recognized that while commencement can recognize accomplishments, without a sense of direction, it becomes a hollow and frustrating exercise. Why celebrate accomplishments when you have little or no idea of how to harness those accomplishments for both moral and material gain?

Columbia, USC, and other elite DEI indoctrination centers canceled commencement because of anti-Semitic protests. It is funny how anti-white Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 had no similar effect, but it is pure naiveté to believe the left cares about standards, equal protection, and basic fairness, which used to be called equity before the cultural Marxists got their oppression narrative installed as a state religion in higher education. The anti-Israel, pro-Hamas protests and encampments are likely to be a recurring feature on college campuses this summer and fall. The 2024 effort to steal the election will apparently rely on anti-Semitism instead of Black Lives Matter, although there is plenty of overlap between the two. 

Meanwhile, Democratic lawfare and legacy media malpractice continue to push the country toward full-fledged banana republic status. Five months till the election means plenty of time for dirty tricks, surprises, and emergencies requiring all kinds of electoral stunts to protect “democracy.” Let the games and emergencies commence.

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