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May 16, 2014

In Our Opinion: Graduates: What do you do now?

We have few illusions about any of you soon-to-be college graduates actually heeding advice from the local newspaper, but since it become custom to offer it, anyway, we’ll give it a shot.

The usual stuff is to have you look to the future with courage, fortitude and wonder, to make the world better than how you found it All that is just fine.

But we are going to ask you to take a look back, all the way to 1972, before virtually all of you — and perhaps even some of your parents — were born.

Richard Nixon was president, and we’re reasonably confident that being college graduates you have heard all about him. But notable in that year in which incumbent Nixon trounced Democrat George McGovern in the national election, was a wonderful political movie called “The Candidate.”

It starred Robert Redford, whose good looks and acting talent made him a big star. You probably know him as a craggy-faced villain in the latest “Captain America” movie.

In “The Candidate,” young Redford plays Bill McKay, an idealistic scion (look it up) of a powerful political family who is recruited to run for the Senate against a career politician. McKay figures he will most certainly lose, but he will be able to get his reformist message out by saying what he wants on the campaign trail.

But the race becomes tighter, and McKay finds himself mouthing the same hackneyed political blather as other candidates, promising voters the world if they will send him to the Senate.

Well, don’t you know McKay wins, and what helped the movie win an Academy Award for writing may have been its last line of dialogue.

While his supporters celebrate rapturously at McKay’s victory party and the press throngs for his attention, he pulls his campaign manager, Marvin Lucas, into a room.

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