Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Should Notre Dame Have Invited President Obama To Speak At Graduation?

Of course it's an honor, a coup even, to get the President to speak at commencement. However, sometimes it's just not appropriate.

For Catholics, no issue plays bigger in the media than abortion (that doesn't explain why Catholics vote in large part for Democrats, but that's not the subject of this post). So to have the President give the commencement address at a Catholic university seems odd to me. It's not hypocritical, as some suggest, but one wonders why Notre Dame would choose a graduation speaker that stands in stark contrast to one of their most cherished values.

Yes, it's an honor to have the President speak at your school, but in a case like this, it also grants a certainly legitimacy to the President. I completely understand why some, like the ones in this video, would think this is a bad idea.

Some students may boycott their own graduation over this. That strikes me as silly and overreacting. A tasteful show of disapproval would be warranted, perhaps wearing black armbands or something. Not clapping when the President speaks would also be appropriate. Booing, standing up and turning their backs as the President speaks, disrupting the speech--in other words, actions we've learned from lefties--would be highly inappropriate. The selfish, immature, "look at me" nature of such acts precludes their use in polite company, and a university graduation certainly qualifies as "polite company".

I hope everyone involved acts accordingly. The head of Notre Dame has already screwed up his end of the bargain by inviting the President to speak; the students don't have to screw up their end.


mazenko said...

The values/politics issue is a bit out of place in this situation. Considering Obama did quite well among Catholic voters, perhaps it's extreme to make a case about a graduation speech.

Considering the Pope has condemned the War on Terror and the Iraq War, I wonder where the Catholics protesting Obama stand on their membership in the Republican Party.

If I'm not mistaken, Condi Rice is pro-choice, and she spoke at a ND commencement. On the other hand, she was protested vigorously by the students at Jesuit Boston College over the Iraq War.

This sort of thing is just sad.

Ellen K said...

All you have to do is follow the money. Notre Dame relies on a high image to generate donations and applications. They don't bother much about the underpinnings of Catholic thought that are supposed to be running the university. As I said today on my blog-follow the money-
Notre Dame>Student loans>President Obama as speaker.

Academics are cheaply bought.

Anonymous said...

Why must you assume the worst about someone you have never met? Maybe the president of ND just meant what he said. Not everyone is craven scum.


Darren said...

If it walks like a duck and quacks....