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Our graduation message: It's a different world now

June 10, 2002|by BOB MAGINNIS

To the graduates of the Class of 2002:

By now you are probably tired of hearing that your world changed forever on Sept. 11 of last year. Excuse us for repeating that again, during what should be a time of celebration and anticipation of new beginnings.

Your country is no longer isolated from the strange struggles of the Third World, where a difference of religious doctrine is not just a reason to worship in a different way, but sometimes a reason to attack or kill your neighbors. It is also a world where the United States' attempt to do something good - helping to create a homeland for the persecuted Jews of Europe - is considered a crime by many.

Before Sept. 11, many Americans ignored what went on overseas. Those were other folks' troubles, worth a mention on the evening news, perhaps, but of no real consequence to citizens here.

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Now you will have to deal with a world in which people hold the average American responsible for what the government does. That makes it all the more important to pay attention the political process and vote for the people best able to lead the nation, not only in war, but also toward peace.

That should include keeping the U.S. promise to rebuild Afghanistan, not as some garish Middle Eastern version of Las Vegas, but as a country where all have the opportunity to be educated and where disputes are settled in the legislature and not on the battlefield.

And to make it even more difficult, you must also guard against those who would restrict citizens' rights in the name of security, questioning the patriotism of anyone who objects.

It's not all bleak, however. Technology has the ability to make you healthier, wealthier and your life easier. We ask you to use these tools not just to grab the good life for yourself, but to secure it for everybody else.

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