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Some Ronan citizens are demanding answers. “I’m pissed off,” said school volunteer Chuck Lewis. “Why would a school dishonor a man who served his country?” Lewis, a former Marine like Molen, said, “They should have never censored him like that.” Molen wrote:
I served three years in the Marine Corps so that others might stand before their peers or even a group of students, but never did I think my voice would be stilled by some mysterious caller(s) on the notion that I might say something they “thought” would not be in the students’ best interests…
My intent was to inspire and motivate those looking for an encouraging word and message of hope beyond the walls of the institution they were leaving to the next chapter in their young lives. It spoke to the contributions and greatness of their teachers, administrators, parents and peers… But I guess I was wrong about teachers and/or school administrators.
He certainly was. And though his personal story is one of more overt censorship, there is a clear scarcity of conservative speakers for student bodies. A recent study by the Young America’s Foundation noted that the overwhelming majority of college commencement speeches were given by liberals – by a ratio of better than seven-to-one. Of the top 100 universities in the latest U.S. News rankings, 71 featured speakers from the left while only ten hosted conservatives. And of the top 35 schools, only one featured a conservative speaker. While no comparable study apparently exists for the political orientation of speakers at high school commencements, it’s difficult to imagine that the numbers are very different.
Still incensed about the cancellation, Molen asserted that in America, people have the right to listen to differing points of view. “I mistakenly thought that was part of an education. Evidently not in certain jurisdictions”:
Instead [the Ronan students] were indoctrinated with a sense of fear and mistrust that a fellow Montanan just might stand before them and say something some official school administrator deemed “possibly harmful.”
He closed his Daily Inter Lake piece by asking, “In America today, are our children taught or indoctrinated? Is there censorship? I’ll let the reader decide. Me? I now have the answer.” In an interview at Big Hollywood, Molen said, “This is not something that should be allowed to happen. I hope whatever notoriety comes out of this, that it will wake people up.”
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