commencement speeches

Bill Clinton Talks Privilege and Genetics at Nephew’s High-School Graduation

Among the people filling the bleachers at yesterday’s Redondo Union High School graduation ceremony were Bill and Hillary Clinton, who were there to watch nephew Tyler Clinton bid good-bye to his youth (or the first part of it, anyway.) Never one to be upstaged, the former president eventually took to the podium to address the assembled graduates.

He opened with a bit of that signature Bubba optimism:

No matter what anybody tells you, in spite of the difficulties America and California are facing at the moment, economic difficulties that have probably found their way into more than half the homes represented in this graduating class, it is a good time to be young and it is a good time to be an American. And our future is going to be fine if you do the right thing.

Then, he waxed on about how the kids have it so good these days:

The great thing about being alive and young today is that a higher percentage of people than ever before get to decide what they do for a living. Most of the people who have ever lived on Earth and about half of the people alive today on Earth had no choice about what they are going to do when they grow up.

And finally, he reminded the assembled parents of how he spent several billion dollars of their taxes to fund the Human Genome Project:

Don’t you think it’s interesting that … we spend 99 percent of our time obsessing on the half of a percent of us that’s different, and almost no time thinking about the 99 percent-and-a-half of us that we share in common.

Graduates of the Redondo Beach High School Class of 2012, be thankful for the fabulous educations you have received, but most of all, be thankful that you had Tyler Clinton as a classmate.

Bill Clinton Talks Privilege and Genetics at HS