Monday, May 18, 2009

Give it Up for the Fighting Irish

President Barack Obama strode head-on Sunday into the stormy abortion debate and told graduates at America's leading Roman Catholic university that both sides must stop demonizing one another.

Obama acknowledged that "no matter how much we want to fudge it ... the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable." But he still implored the University of Notre Dame's graduating class and all in the U.S. to stop "reducing those with differing views to caricature. Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words. It's a way of life that always has been the Notre Dame tradition."

One of the noisiest controversies of his young presidency flared after Obama, who supports abortion rights but says the procedure should be rare, was invited to speak at the school and receive an honorary degree. "I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away," the president said.


I finally have a reason to like Notre Dame. I know it's a fantastic academic institution, but I have always hated its football team. Notre Dame's football program carries a sense of entitlement and arrogance that practically begs you to hate it. Thankfully, the ND administration offered President Obama an honorary degree. I guess the fat man's alma mater has some redeemable qualities. A good number of the ND faithful did not want Obama to receive an honorary degree because of his stance on abortion. I disagree with the protesters, but I'm glad they stood up for their beliefs. Unfortunately, there were a few opportunists who watered down the legitimacy of the protests. Overall, the protesters got their point across without being ignorant or inciting any riots.

I know the Notre Dame administration got a lot of heat for awarding an honorary degree to Obama. There are probably some affluent ND alums who will no longer donate money to the school. I applaud the ND administration for standing by its convictions. Unlike Arizona State, ND understands that President Obama's "body of work" is superb and worthy of an honorary degree. Des'ree released a song in 1994 called "You Gotta Be." This song captures the message our President was trying to covey as he spoke to the ND graduating class.

Listen as your day unfolds
Challenge what the future holds
Try and keep your head up to the sky
Lovers, they may cause you tears
Go ahead release your fears
Stand up and be counted
Don't be ashamed to cry