Topic: "Commencement (2)"
The microphone was properly lowered and Frodo stepped up onto the stool conveniently hidden behind the lectern. He gazed about the audience and noticed the tassel swinging in front of his eyelids. He had never imagined that anything could be so distracting.
"Members of the 2006 Graduating Class of the College of the Shire, my name is Frodo Baggins. How do you do." With perfect inflection in that sentence, Frodo saw the attendees loosen to this speaker dressed in black. It was as if Johnny Cash had entered the room followed by the inmates of Folsom Prison.
"You are the generation who inherits the largest debt in the history of Middle Earth. On top of that you will be expected to support and care for the remnant of the largest population explosion in all history. It should also be noted that your college loans are now due and payable."
There was some snickering from the parents and guests. The students were not laughing.
"To the South there is a growing tide of socialist governments spawning class resentment against you, the wealthiest of all peoples. Across the sea there are those who control vast resources on which the indistries you are about to lead depend. They are uninhibited in their desire to drain your wealth and threaten your strandard of living. Scattered all about this planet are those who feel that you have disrespected their faith, and dishonored their societies. They are willing to die to cause you anguish."
The silence was deep. All attention was riveted on Frodo.
"You enter into a future that faces planetary limits on natural resources, sustenance, and space. The capacity to destroy nearly all of life rests in the hands of many, nearly all of whom are emotionally unreliable."
Frodo removed the mortar board from his head, and wiped his brow with the sleeve of his gown. He peered across the lectern just as he had seen Martin Luther King do so many times.
"Until this day, you have hidden behind your IPod and ignored the cries around you. You have yellow stickers on the trunks of the cars your daddies gave you, just to show that you 'support our troops'. Less than 1 of every thousand of you will join them. Some of you will leave this place and go to the City of Orleans to help people re-build their lives. Most of you are on you way to Cancun."
The College President and the faculty members were nervously avoiding eye contact with Frodo, and beads of sweat were on every forehead.
"You are no different in your disingenuous approach to the challenges you face than was Frodo when he walked through those doors behind you. The difference between us is that no one said that to Frodo. Somehow Frodo avoided the rice paddies, the violence in the streets, the resentment of those who wished him ill. Frodo has lived much longer than he ever figured he would, and for that he is grateful. He is happiest that it was in his time, and not in yours."
Frodo turned to the President of the College of the Shire, and smiled as he said, "And I am sure that the distinguished faculty is pleased that as I conclude my remarks," and he offered a long and pregnant pause, "I simply want you to know that despite the inventions, the discoveries, and yes, the creations of your generation, you will not offer even a dime's worth of difference as if you had merely walked out of these doors and just kept walking a la Forrest Gump."
"Sauron has the ring. For all his effort Frodo failed to keep you safe. You have no chance if you fail to destroy the evil about you. Frodo will continue to do all he can, but the task, fellow Hobbits is one you must complete."
Frodo stepped off the stool and shook the hand of Gandalf. The Fellowship was all about, and Frodo knew that the journey to Mount Doom was far from over.