U.S. Sen. McConnell encourages college grads to express opinions after students 'protested' his speech

05/13/2013 11:57 AM

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell encouraged Murray State University students to value other people’s opinions as a group of students at the university protested the Senate Republican leader being the keynote speaker at Saturday’s commencement.

A group of graduates turned their backs to McConnell when he was introduced. Some students opposed the choice to have McConnell as their speaker because of what they say is lack of support for educational issues by the senator. And a few recorded a song opposing the speech in the days before Saturday’s graduation.

In his speech, McConnell told students there will always be individuals with differing opinions and encouraged the graduates to learn to respect those other opinions.

“Some [opinions] will make you want to stand up and clap, others will make you want to hold a sign in protest. If you take one thing away from what I say today let it be this, respect all of those opinions,” McConnell said. “The great American way to express ideas and engage in public discourse is to add your voice, not subtract others.”

McConnell acknowledged in his address that Washington is not doing all it could do to help the younger generation of America and warned the graduates that politicians will try to say otherwise but that the promises that have been made in Washington are no longer guaranteed.

“You don’t need a degree from Murray State to understand that Washington is not ‘just fine’. It is elementary school math, we don’t have the money to pay for the promises that politicians have made,” McConnell said.

However, McConnell said that despite all the problems in Washington, he believes America’s best days are still ahead.

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