All is well, damnit

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Some of you may have heard that President Obama came to give a little speech in South Bend last weekend. And despite my earlier predictions, there was no rioting, murdering, rapturing, or brimstone-based precipitation of any kind.

I didn't get the chance to see the speech live, but I watched it later that day. And as the President got to the part about the "controversy about my being here", I assumed he would dance around it, the way most politicians would ("I will keep an open mind, and thank you for your heartfelt thoughts").

Nope. He came right out and used the words "abortion" and "choice". He talked about his faith. He acnowledged that he holds a position that pisses off Catholics (and Notre Dame). He pointed to common ground held by both sides, and enouraged continued debate (even from those with whom he disagrees). He didn't brush it aside; he embraced it.

This, in a nutshell, is why this President is so hard for his opponents to deal with; he has the ability to address issues directly. He's Ali-like. He can stick-and-move, and avoid issues when he wants to... but if his opponent comes inside, he hits as hard as anyone. Conservatives and the GOP don't know when to challenge him, because every now and then he'll call their bluff, take the initiative, and hit back.

We saw it with the Reverend Wright stuff during the primary, and we saw it again this weekend. Just at the peak of what seems to be an organized push to make Obama seem extreme, he steps very publicly to claim the moderate ground. And because he sounds so good doing it, the average American says to himself, "THIS is the guy who's supposed to be so extreme?" And in winning the I'm-Less-Extreme-Than-You game, he wins the day.

For their part, the students handled themselves beautifully. Most were vocally supportive of the President's willingness to speak to them. Some participated in silent, symbolic protests (such as mortarboard drawings), but were nonetheless respectful. Even those who chose to boycott and protest outside were, by most accounts, peaceful.

The real trouble-makers were the non-students. They were the followers of a guy named Randall Terry who used this commencement as a chance to try to "shock teh conscience". They flew airplane banners of aborted fetuses. They drove truck-sized advertisements of aborted fetuses. They carried posters of (you guessed it) aborted fetuses. They pushed strollers with dolls covered in fake blood. Only three people made trouble during the actual speech, and NONE of them were students. Moreover, those protesters were shouted down with chants of "We Are ND" and "We Love ND".

For a better summary, I encourage you to check out Mr. Stewart:

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Bravo, ND...

6 comments:

Smitty 2:59 PM  

That i always the case. The bulk of the people arrested at Michigan State riots are NOT students.

ND students seemed willing to listen and debate, like any college kid should. The most dogmatic, angry protesters are the same people who think college misleads people into liberalism.

steves 6:49 AM  

I remember when Clinton came to MSU and spoke at graduation back in 1995. I was never a fan of Clinton and did not like many of positions. Despite this, I thought it was an honor that he speak there and thought he did a mostly good job. It never would have dawned on me to disrupt his speech or try to get him removed as a speaker.

I suppose it is hard for me to really understand the motivation of the ND protests. Abortion isn't the easiest issue to discuss, but it has never been a deal-breaker for me. I have voted for people on both sides of this debate.

Bob 7:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob 7:57 AM  

The real trouble-makers were the non-students. They were the followers of a guy named Randall Terry who used this commencement as a chance to try to "shock teh conscience". They flew airplane banners of aborted fetuses.So basically it was a Randall Terry Cult. Isn’t that often the case, as when the crazy fools from the Kansas church protest at soldier’s funerals?

As far as the pictures of "aborted fetuses", some question the legitimacy and origin of those types of photos, so I wouldn’t assume they are real.

B Mac 3:55 PM  

as when the crazy fools from the Kansas church protest at soldier’s funerals?At least these guys have a legitimate message (abortion is bad), though they go about spreading their message in ridiculous ways.

The Westboro Baptist freaks' message of "gayness kills soldiers" is just plain loony. And bizzare. And disgusting. It would almost be macabre-ly amusing if they didn't cause such trouble for grieving families.

Rickey Henderson 6:28 AM  

Ah yes, another manufactued non-issue from the conservative underground. Rickey is thankful we've got a Pres who can deliver a thoughtful response to bullshit like this.

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