Ignorance is not a virtue. Barack Obama’s lesson to Rutgers University graduates

Barack Obama delivered the commencement speech at Rutgers University. He pointed out what the real values in life and politics are. And ignorance isn’t one of them.

“Let me be as clear as I can be. In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue,” US President Barack Obama said during his commencement address to the graduates of 2016 of the Rutgers University, New Jersey. The university this year marks its 250th anniversary. “It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about. That’s not keeping it real or telling it like it is. That’s not challenging political correctness. That’s just not knowing what you’re talking about”.


Obama mentre parla alla Rutgers per la consegna dei dlplomi di laurea © Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images
Barack Obama speaks at Rutgers University’s commencement ceremony © Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images


This seems to be a clear reference to the electoral campaign of the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. Indeed, Hillary Clinton, who is likely to become the Democratic candidate, quoted and supported part of Obama’s speech.


These words are very telling about the political situation the United States is witnessing. However, they could be inserted in many western country’s social and political contexts. Politicians have been taking the political language to the extreme for months, due to the current communication, which has become quick and characterised by images, doesn’t allowing further considerations. It is a politics that is rediscovering populism and demagogy.

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