Speaking at a graduation commencement ceremony at Cornell University on Saturday, former Vice President Joe Biden touched on the decline in political discourse in the US and offered some advice to the young graduates who are still trying to make sense of the world.
In the address to the Big Red Class of 2017, Biden spoke of troubling times over the last few months.
"I thought we had passed the days where it was acceptable for political leaders at local and national levels to bestow legitimacy on hate speech and fringe ideologies", Biden said.
"When people in power invent their own facts and attack those who question them, it can mark the beginning of the end of a free society", Clinton said. "It's an bad lot harder to dislike someone when you know their dad is dying of prostate cancer, or they have a brother with a drug problem, or they just lost their job". Keep Muslims from coming into the United States. He also scolded Democrats for not speaking to the fears and aspirations of the middle-class, something he said President Donald Trump exploited in the 2016 election.
Biden, who graduated from the University of DE and Syracuse University College of Law, said he would have been a Cornellian were it not for one barrier.
"No one has to tell you about the daily indignities of discrimination", Biden said, telling the graduates that he knew they lived it in "subtle ways".
"The people I've known who are successful and happy are the people who treat others with the same dignity that they demand for themselves", Biden said.
"Don't fool yourself into thinking that disengaging from the system that you believe is broken is going to hold you harmless from its failures", he said. They're a whole person: Flawed, struggling to make the world better, just like you. "But I assure you that this is a temporary state of affairs".
"I remember my colleagues and I looking at each other when we graduated, and thinking, how could this be happening?" he said.
Less than five years later, at 30, Biden was sworn in as a US senator in DE, a position he would hold for 36 years until being selected as President Barack Obama's vice president. I mean this sincerely.
And then, with a single line about five minutes into the speech - "No graduating class gets to choose the world into which they graduate".
After taking a bite, Biden exclaimed: "It's really good".
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