Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Friday urged college graduates to get involved in government, warning that “it’s no longer possible to assume that democracy will work” if most Americans vote and “otherwise ignore what’s going on.”
“I am here to ask you to get engaged — not engaged like I did back at 19 — but engaged with some issues,” she said. “Expand your post-graduate to-do list to include engagement and advocacy for an issue that you really care about.”
Warren — giving the University of Massachusetts, Amherst commencement address — listed a range of policy issues for graduates to care about, including college affordability, free speech and criminal justice reform.
“I’m trying to keep this apolitical, but I can’t help myself, and I have one more: The principle that no one, no one, in this country is above the law. And we need a Justice Department, not an Obstruction-of-Justice Department,” she said.
Warren has voiced concern that President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey this week could negatively affect the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. She has called for an independent prosecutor to investigate Russian meddling.
“Don’t just pick whatever cause that Emma Watson or Taylor Swift are supporting this week — no matter how much you want to be in their squad,” she said. “You’ve got to figure out what makes you heart flutter and your stomach clench. What makes you wake up ready to go, and what makes you wish you didn’t have to move?”
During a lighter moment, Warren mentioned a drinking game she had discovered that was created for her commencement speech.
“If you learn nothing else from this speech, please know this,” she said. “Fireball is a nickname that Donald Trump uses on Twitter, not a beverage to be consumed by distinguished college graduates.”