Friday, April 10, 2009

Pissed about POTUS?

A few years ago, one William Jefferson Clinton was invited to give the commencement speech at our alma mater.

Never mind that the University traditionally didn't even have a commencement speaker. The University was appropriately grateful for the presence of the duly elected President of the United States, the leader of the free world, the commander-in-chief, and the primary perjurer. They changed their schedule to accommodate him. It was the right thing to do.

Our personal distaste for President Clampett notwithstanding, we defended his presence and his receipt of an honorary doctorate (presumably of gynecology) vehemently. He won the election fair and square, and our dislike of the man and his policies notwithstanding, he was the major domo and consequently had earned and deserved our respect.

We digress to remind the crowd that just because you disagreed with W didn't make him dumb or you smart. He, too, was the twice duly elected POTUS, and while he lacked humility and intellectual curiosity, we suggest that his Yale undergrad and Harvard Business School degrees, along with his business success (admittedly catalyzed by grandpa's oil dough) acquit him of the allegations of stupidity. Please people.

In fact, we refer you to F. Scott Fitzgerald's thoughs on intelligence, to wit: "The test of a first rate intellect is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in one's mind and still retain the ability to function."

Can it really be that The University of Notre Dame -- whose mission statement represents it as "a place of teaching and research, of scholarship and publication, of service and community," is having second thoughts about having the celebrity President speak at their commencement because of his views on abortion rights?

Is the University community really so small minded that, his academic and political qualifications notwithstanding, it will object so vehemently to one of his thoughts that it would consider telling him "no thank you?"

It's not like he's going to give a speech to try to change people's minds on that topic. He's more likely to offer platitudes on growing up and making the world a better place -- platitudes, incidentally, that the undergrads and grads might benefit from hearing.

Isn't censorship supposed to be the practice of the closed minded conservatives? Can it really be consistent with the values of an institution committed to academic inquiry?

We live in the midwest, so we know that ND is more than the lunkheads who play for Charlie Weis on the gridiron.

Isn't it?

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