THE BLOG
05/16/2013 02:25 pm ET | Updated Jul 16, 2013

Commencement 2013 -- The Apology Tour

We are in the season of graduations.

And the ubiquitous commencement address.

This year, Harvard has Oprah and Ohio State already had Obama.

The rest of the pack reads like a Who's Who among the rich, famous and otherwise accomplished.

There are actors and actresses (Julie Andrews at the University of Colorado, Martin Sheen at LaRoche College, Bill Cosby at the University of Baltimore); athletes (Cal Ripken at the University of Maryland, Terry Bradshaw at the New England Institute of Technology); authors (Liz Murray of From Homeless to Harvard fame, at the University of Utah, the poet Rita Dove at Emory, Judith Viorst at Goucher); and, of course, politicians (President Clinton at Howard, Vice President Biden at U. Penn., Newark Mayor Corey Booker at Yale).

There are CEOs, singers and songwriters (Avon's Sheri McCoy at U. Mass., Annie Lenox at the Berkeley College of Music, Hootie & the Blowfish's Darius Rucker at the University of South Carolina); anchors, entrepreneurs and economists (Tom Brokaw at Loyola, Brian Williams at Elon, AOL's Steve Case at UNC, Jeffrey Sachs at Fieldston); and pundits and pranksters (David Brooks of the New York Times at Sewanee, Steven Colbert at U. Va.).

There are the anomalously appropriate (Haley Scott DeMaria at Seton Hall, the only "Motivational Speaker" on the list, which strikes me as odd given the task the occasion calls for).

This is a long and varied list, a sort of covering of the waterfront that begs the obvious question. Which is ...

What should all these people say?

How about this:

"We're sorry.

We apologize for giving you an economy without sufficient jobs and a politics that cannot pass what 90 percent of you want.

We're sorry for calling you special during all those years you were growing up. We apologize for giving all of you a trophy when the soccer or little league season came to a close.

We really didn't mean it.

In the real world, the one you are about to enter, there are winners and losers. And many more of the latter than the former.

So, the sad fact is that many of you will lose. And we never told you that.

We're sorry.

We apologize for creating all those bubbles -- in the Internet and in the housing market. We apologize for creating a culture where the cheaters got ahead on Wall Street, where they invented products like mortgage backed securities, lied to you about their safety, and then left you holding the bag after they had walked away with billions.

You won't be able to buy a home as easily as we could. And for that we are sorry.

We apologize for how badly we handled things after the meltdown, the lesser Depression, of 2008. We knew what to do to resurrect the economy.

Which was to stimulate and spend and ignore the deficit.

But we didn't do it. Or at least not enough of it here in the United States, and none of it in Europe, where unemployment is over 10 percent on the continent as a whole and north of 20 percent in some countries.

We listened to the false prophets who told us the deficit would kill us right away. All those old guys, like Simpson and Bowles, and the protectors of the creditor class in the Senate, where the average age is 60 and the mean wealth is in the multi- millions. None of them were right. Austerity is killing the world.

Your world.

We apologize for all those Senators and elites who didn't know what they were doing. Or knew but did it anyway. Our parents gave us giants -- Dirksen and Hart and Javits and Church. Our grandparents gave us even greater men -- Keynes and Roosevelt and Marshall -- who taught us all we have seen fit to ignore. We -- unfortunately -- gave you mostly midgets.

And we are sorry for that.

We apologize for all the whining we are now doing.

For pretending that this is your fault, that you are a coddled generation that never knew adversity, that on day one you can can walk into the CEO's office -- or better yet, text him or her -- with your ideas, that you are entitled to succeed.

You were and are all of these things. We know. Because we made you this way.

It's our fault.

Most of all, we're sorry for being so selfish.

Especially now.

Because we need you not to be."

OK. Not all of this year's commencement speakers have to apologize.

The Dalai Lama is speaking this Saturday.

At Tulane.

He can say whatever he wants.

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