The Bill Clinton commencement speech at this year's Hobart and William Smith Colleges graduation has one overarching theme – we are better off cooperating and using our diversity to our advantage, rather than letting homogeneous groups or "individual geniuses" make all our decisions for us.
In his speech, the former U.S. President makes sure to emphasize that immigration and diversity does not have to be, and fundamentally isn't, a partisan issue. He encourages the recent graduates to figure out their place in the world, and whether they want their primary objective to be that they and their "crowd" dominate, or whether they want to create a world where every individual has a shot. He states that we should relish our differences, and reminds the crowd that we can't nourish diversity without the same bedrock acceptance in our common humanity. He cites evidence that we make better decisions when cooperating in diverse groups, rather than in homogeneous ones. Clinton also cites former Republican President George Bush's stance on immigration, saying that they disagree on almost everything but that neither are afraid of immigration, and instead see the immense value and contribution of immigrants – proving that this is not a partisan issue. He also cites much of the rhetoric that has been centered around immigration in recent years, which paints Muslims in a negative light. He reveals that Muslims commit murder at one tenth of the average national murder rate, and yet are falsely framed as being some of the biggest perpetrators of violence in the U.S.
Clinton reminds the crowd that there are no permanent victories, no permanent defeats – but a life of permanent possibility. He ends by encouraging the recent graduates to expand their definition of "us," and shrink their definition of "them."
Finding Common Humanity
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The Rewards of Immigration
Inclusive Views of Globalization
Telling Your Story
The Value of Immigration
Working Towards Progress