Opinion by Dean Obeidallah – Sun May 17, 2020 – CNN
(CNN)Former President Barack Obama delivered two online commencement addresses on Saturday that did more than offer words of inspiration for the graduates — he reminded us of what a US President should sound like. In these two speeches — one to those graduating from high schools and the otherto those graduating from historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) — he urged people to be selfless, to work together to help those in need and to reject divisiveness. What a contrast to Donald Trump’s almost daily message of pitting Americans against each other, his lack of empathy and his trademark philosophy of “It’s all about me.”
Dean ObeidallahComparing Obama and Trump, though, is unfair on some level. Obama is everything Trump will never be: Compassionate, thoughtful, intellectually curious, honest and highly intelligent. Obama’s commencement speeches simply reminded of us that very fact.
For starters, Obama didn’t make his addresses about himself or his own grievances; his focus was on those graduating. What a contrast to Trump’s 2017 commencement address to the US Coast Guard Academy where he told the graduates, “Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or more unfairly.” To Trump, every day — even your graduation day — is about Trump. Beyond that, various statements from Obama’s two speeches — while not mentioning Trump by name — were in my view a plea to reject Trumpism, which I define as a celebration of selfishness, bigotry, cruelty and divisiveness.