The message from the nation’s second in charge to University of South Carolina graduates: “the world is changing and there is nothing you can do about it.”
In his commencement address at the University of South Carolina Friday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the class of 2014 is graduating in “one of those inflection points in U.S. history.”
Biden quoted from Irish poet W.B. Yeats: “All’s changed, changed utterly. A terrible beauty has been born” in referencing the changes and dangers of today’s world.
“All that means is that the old answers and the old politics of the previous generation that had served the country well for a long time no longer had much applicability to the world you are graduating into,” Biden said.
But his message was positive, foreshadowing a possible campaign theme if he decides move forward with a run for president.
“I’m confident that you will write a new and better chapter in American history, just like every generation has when faced with one of these inflection points.”
Biden referenced the military throughout his speech. He began by honoring those graduating into the military, and frequently returned to the idea of America’s military power– seeming to assure the audience in a state facing millions of dollars in cuts to military bases and personnel under this presidential administration.
“And we are better positioned than any nation in the world to lead the 21st century. Our security is guaranteed by a military that is … larger than the next 10 nations in the world combined,” Biden said
“Do not buy the orthodoxy,” Biden urged. “Great change only comes when orthodoxy is challenged. You are equipped to challenge it. Embrace it. Change it.”
AUDIO: Biden commencement speech (30:13)
In a lighter part of the speech, Biden referred to his frequent vacation and official visits to the Palmetto State: “I have lots of friends here.”
The South Carolina Twitter audience noted that he cleverly gave props to NFL first-round draft pick Jadeveon Clowney, but misspoke the name of hall of fame women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley (Stanley).