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Tillerson Decries ‘Alternative Realities,’ Leaders Who ‘Conceal the Truth’ in Loaded Commencement Speech

The latest commencement speaker to make veiled references warning of threats to established norms of American society is… Rex Tillerson?

Tillerson delivered the Virginia Military Institute commencement today and made some interesting remarks about leadership and the truth, less than two months after leaving the Trump White House.

The former Secretary of State spoke of global challenges before expressing his concern about “the state of our American democracy,” particularly a “growing crisis of ethics and integrity.”

He went on to emphasize the importance of the truth:

If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no long grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom. This is the life of non-democratic societies…

A responsibility of every American citizen to each other is to preserve and protect our freedom by recognizing what truth is and is not, what a fact is and is not, and begin by holding ourselves accountable to truthfulness and demand our pursuit of America’s future be fact-based––not based on wishful thinking, not hoped-for outcomes made in shallow promises––but with a clear-eyed view of the facts as they are, and guided by the truth that will set us free to seek solutions to our most daunting challenges.

“When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth,” Tillerson added, “even on what may seem the most trivial of matters, we go wobbly on America.”

You can watch a clip from his remarks above, via MSNBC.

[image via screengrab]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac