Yesterday afternoon, I had the great occasion to listen to Dr. Anthony Fauci speak. The University of Michigan held a Comeback Commencement for the Class of 2020. Two of my loved ones finally got that chance to have a commencement ceremony. Dr. Fauci received an honorary doctorate from the University of Michigan, and he was the commencement speaker. I’ve included a video of his speech below.
Two portions of his speech really stood out to me, and I appreciate these dual callings he issued to us. 1) We must challenge what he calls, ‘the normalization of untruths,’ and 2) it’s important not to let the difficulties of our age steal all our joy. From this second place, we realize we can shape life differently.
“What troubles me is that differences of opinion or ideology have in certain circumstances been reflected by egregious distortions of reality. Sadly, elements of our society have grown increasingly unfazed by a cacophony of falsehood and lies that often stand largely unchallenged, ominously leading to an insidious acceptance of what I call ‘the normalization of untruths.’ We see this happen daily, propagated through a range of information platforms, social medias, so-called news organizations, and sad to say, certain elected officials in positions of power. Yet the outrage and dissent against this alarming trend has mostly been muted and mild. If you remember nothing else from what I say today, I truly appeal to you, please remember this: It is our collective responsibility not to sink to a tacit acceptance of the normalization of untruths, because if we do, we bring danger to ourselves, our families, and our communities. This is how a society devolves into a way of life where veracity becomes subservient to propaganda, rather than upheld by a guiding principal for creating and sustaining a just social order.”
— And —
“In closing, I’ve been speaking to you over the last few minutes about the serious issues we are facing in our current world, and so putting the serious business aside for a moment, I want to close with a reminder about the joyousness of your life to come and what a bright future you have. Allow yourselves to cultivate this joy as much as you do your professional accomplishments. Find your source of joy and happiness and fully embrace it. And think upon your future as that stated by the political theorist John Homer Shaw, and I quote, ‘The future is not some place we are going to but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.'”
Thank you, Dr. Fauci.