The Colorado Springs Gazette’s O’Dell Isaac reports from Colorado College’s commencement ceremony Sunday, where commencement speaker former GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming was met with a protest by a large percentage of graduating students who turned their backs to Cheney during her address:
When Cheney was introduced — mostly to applause — about half the graduates turned their chairs 180 degrees and sat with their backs to the former Wyoming congresswoman for the entirety of her speech…
After Cheney’s speech, the graduates returned their chairs to their original positions and applauded as honorary degrees were granted to former acting co-President Mike Edmonds, retiring administrator Robert Moore, and mathematician and historian Robin Wilson. Hilaree Janet Nelson, a CC graduate who died skiing in the Himalayas in September, was posthumously honored.
Graduates who turned their backs to Cheney said they did so because of her conservative positions on abortion, LGBTQ+ issues and voting rights.
The first thing to clarify about this incident is that by all accounts the students who protested were not MAGA Republicans upset with Rep. Cheney’s opposition to former President Donald Trump. Cheney’s turn against Trump after the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol endeared Cheney despite her staunch conservative record with many Democrats as well as plenty of “Never Trump” Republicans who were initially horrified enough by January 6th to condemn Trump publicly. Unfortunately for Cheney, Trump immediately began to reconsolidate his support in the GOP after leaving office, and within just weeks Cheney had gone from a trusted member of House GOP leadership to a political dead person walking.
“After the 2020 election, and the attack of Jan. 6, my fellow Republicans wanted me to lie,” Cheney said. “They wanted me to say that the 2020 election was stolen, that the attack of Jan. 6 wasn’t a big deal, and that Donald Trump wasn’t dangerous. I had to choose between lying and losing my position in House leadership.”
Cheney’s stand against Trump has ensured that history will judge her better than either the MAGA dead-enders or liberal college students who can’t see past their policy disagreements with Cheney to recognize her commitment to protecting American democracy at the most essential level. At the end of the day, we can’t have political debates about any of the issues that divide us without a functioning democratic process to ensure representatives are fairly and deservedly elected.
If no common ground is possible on any other issue, protecting democracy is enough to count.