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. . .

June 20, 2007, 2:35 P.M.

I have now read two letters to the editor regarding Ruth Stuart’s commencement address to the Laconia High School Class of 2007. Both derided Ruth’s commencement address as “inappropriate.” I disagree.

The message of Ruth’s speech was significant and important. True, Ruth used her own experience as an advocate for peace to convey that message, but that’s what commencement speakers do. Disagreeing with the message doesn’t make it “inappropriate.” In my view, it is never inappropriate to suggest that, as they move along on their way in life, graduates should pay attention to what is going on in the world around them, and, if so moved, to take a stand.

In no small part due to his war, President Bush’s approval rating is in the 28% range, yet he and others in his administration have used their opportunities as graduation speakers to tout their policies and push their agendas, even though over 60% of us don’t agree with them. Does that make their addresses equally inappropriate?

Peace is always a noble goal. Ask the soldiers who have fought and you will find them to be advocates of peace who see war as a last resort. Encouraging young people to think on their own, to pay attention to what is going on around them, and to act when they are inclined is a strong and positive message, and it is about time that it is expressed out loud. Peace.

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