Graduates at Tennessee State University received a political speech instead of a commencement address Sunday, as Vice President Kamala Harris used the occasion to rant about the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade and other Democrat agenda items.
According to the Tennesseean, there was some actual commencement-speech material squeezed in there.
“Along with praising graduates for their accomplishments, she acknowledged the long-standing struggles that many of those who attend historically Black colleges and universities and their families have faced,” the Tennessean reported.
However, they noted she “also talked politics,” which is putting it mildly — particularly given the charged atmosphere with the Supreme Court leak on abortion earlier in the week.
Saying that grads were entering an “unsettled” world, she said Americans needed to defend “fundamental principles” — including the fundamental principle that one has a constitutional right to abort a baby.
“Here in the United States, we are once again forced to defend fundamental principles that we hoped were long settled; principles like the freedom to vote, the rights of women to make decisions about their own body, what constitutes the truth,” she told the crowd.
“Harris rebuked Republican lawmakers and conservative justices earlier this week, when she argued access to abortion would be severely limited in almost half the country if Roe v. Wade gets overturned,” the Tennessean reported.
Harris’ speech came less than a week after Politico leaked a draft opinion in a Supreme Court case which would overturn Roe v. Wade.
As for the “freedom to vote,” Harris was referencing the Democrats’ failed national voting overhaul, which would have weakened voter integrity measures and enshrined vote-by-mail and ballot-harvesting rights into federal law.
And, as for “what constitutes the truth,” this was likely a reference to what the adminstration calls “disinformation” — a problem the White House purports to address with the dystopian-sounding “Disinformation Governance Board” at the Department of Homeland Security.
Other remarks could be constituted as a preemptive jab at Elon Musk, should he purchase Twitter and follow through on his promise to make free speech a priority.
“What constitutes the truth, especially in an era when anyone can post anything online and say it is a fact?” she said.
Harris also touched on income inequality, as if the speech weren’t already political enough.
“The gaps between the rich and the poor, men and women, the global North and global South, have existed throughout our history. And through this pandemic, the gaps have become much larger. Globally, extreme poverty is on the rise as is extreme wealth,” she said.
One thing she notably didn’t touch on, especially given the crowd: student loan debt.
While the Biden administration is reportedly readying some form of student loan forgiveness, last week Politico reported “the vice president has been increasingly wary of becoming part of the public face of the administration’s response.”