Harvard invited, and then uninvited, Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) to speak at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a Visiting Fellow last week. I do not want to go into the question of whether it was appropriate to invite Ms. Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, to be a Visiting Fellow. I don’t think it was, but that is not the point of this post. Rather, what is most interesting to me is that Douglas Elmendorf, the dean of the Kennedy School, invited Ms. Manning in the first place.
Mr. Elmendorf’s, and the Kennedy School’s, invitation was incredibly tone deaf. It was as if they were living in an isolated little community up in the hills somewhere where TV reception was spotty and the Internet didn’t reach. Except they are in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Though, perhaps, they are just as isolated, in their own way.