Historical documentary filmmaker Ken Burns used his whole commencement speech at Stanford University to implore people to stop Donald Trump from becoming president.
Filmmaker Ken Burns, better known for documentaries on American history, gave a rousing speech to Stanford University’s graduating class on Sunday in which he took the opportunity to go after Donald Trump.
The beginning of the speech is particularly well written and delivered. Depending on whose side you’re on, Clinton or Trump, it could apply to either one. It’s not clear if that’s the way Burns meant it to sound or whether he was intentionally vague in his build up. You’re left wondering whose side he’s on, but it quickly becomes obvious that he’s referring to Trump – though he never mentions “The Donald” by name.
He called Trump “an insult to our history” and said that Trump had “dictatorial tendencies” and was “glaringly not qualified” for the office of president.
Burns went on to say that the GOP candidate spouts “terrifying Orwellian statements” and “easily lies, creating an environment where the truth doesn’t seem to matter.” Trump’s actions and characteristics, Burns said, are “all virulent strains that have at times infected us in the past.”
The Stanford graduation and Burns’ address took place hours after the shooting in Orlando in which 49 people were gunned down in a gay nightclub. Burns urged the graduating classes and all those in attendance to stop Trump from taking office. “You must do everything you can to defeat the retrograde forces that have invaded our democratic process,” he said.
It was an important speech, considering the role Burns has played in documenting history and his deep knowledge of events from the past. He, of all people, knows what a man like Trump can do the country.
Burns also took a swipe at the media for giving Trump the coverage and air time he’s been able to garner, saying that famed journalist and reporter Edward R. Murrow would have exposed Trump for the fraud that he is long ago.
While Burns did not mention Trump by name, it was clear to everyone in the crowd – who either clapped, booed, or whistled – who the filmmaker was talking about.
Burns later added, “We no longer have the luxury of neutrality or ‘balance,’ or even of bemused disdain.”
Watch the full address below.
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