Bruce Fleming in the Baltimore Sun:
Naval Academy graduation is a festive event. I usually love it, and I've been going for the 30 years I've been a professor of English. The students look their best, the weather usually cooperates, the Blue Angels fly overhead in a roaring rush, and the midshipmen are deliriously happy. I'm particularly proud of the students I've taught and mentored, and I wish them all well.
However this year it wasn't fun. Every single speaker — from Vice Adm. Ted Carter, the superintendent of the Naval Academy, to Acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley, to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson, to the main speaker, Vice President Mike Pence — portrayed a vision of the Navy as a self-serving, closed entity at odds with the rest of American society, and the midshipmen, whose education came on the back of the taxpayers, as superior to those people they are supposed to defend.
Vice President Pence nailed this attitude when he assured the graduates that they were the best America had to offer — after Messrs. Carter, Richardson and Stackley (all of whom had graduated from Annapolis) did the same. But if they are the best, why should they defend the worst?