You should be ashamed of yourself.
Not because of the foundation upon which you base your political beliefs, and not because of the work you’ve done for the state of Massachusetts or the United States of America.
You should be ashamed of yourself because of your actions on May 13 of this year. As a member of the graduating class of 2012 at Lasell College, I anticipated your commencement address. I hoped that it would contain words of wisdom and optimism as my fellow classmates and I enter into an uncertain world.
Instead, your speech was a rambling, politically charged rant that was of little relevance, and contained little consideration of the audience to which it was being delivered. Given your impending retirement, this was particularly disappointing.
You took what should have been a once in a lifetime moment of celebration for the class of 2012, and turned into an opportunity to spew partisan vitriol.
You directed criticism at the federal government for exhausting its shrinking resources in an effort to police the world. You acknowledged that the terrorist threat does not compare to the Nazi or Soviet threats that America has confronted in the past. You discussed the constantly draining resources of the social security and medicare systems. You capitalized on the opportunity to remind everyone that you did not vote to send troops to Iraq and you celebrated the courage it took for you to vote in favor of deploying troops to Afghanistan.
I tend to agree with many of your views. What I disagree with, however, was your belief that a college commencement was the appropriate time and place to expound upon these beliefs. You acknowledged in your address that the event was not about you, and that nobody was there to see you.
Regardless, you capitalized on the moment in the spotlight to make it all about you and your beliefs. Then you left.
The life of a congressman is one I am unfamiliar with. The rigors and obligations that you endure are not something I envy, and I admire that you’ve taken on the task of being a public servant for the amount of time that you have. But, with the honor of being named the commencement speaker, you owed the class of 2012 the courtesy of staying through the conclusion of the ceremony. You also owed the class of 2012 the courtesy of dedicating time and energy into crafting a speech that would be both impactful and memorable.
With all due respect, your speech on Sunday was a half-hearted attempt at best. That you chose to deliver what amounted to a campaign speech instead of a commencement address is a testament to your selfishness and was a disservice to the class of 2012.
Lasell College Class of 2012
Above is the text of an e-mail sent to Barney Frank following his commencement address at Lasell College on May 13. It has been re-printed by The 1851 Chronicle and the Newton TAB and was printed in part online by CBS Boston.