I grew up in a Notre Dame family. My father, brother and cousin went there, and I spent a good many football weekends of my childhood sleeping in the dorms on campus and observing student life in South Bend. As an adult, I’ve returned to campus several times and partied with students on and off-campus.
So having been around ND students and alumni for countless years, I feel pretty well qualified to comment on a MSNBC report out this week that describes an “uproar” at Notre Dame over Barack Obama delivering the commencement address there in June.
The point of contention is Obama’s liberal view of abortion and stem cell research. That view led to attacks on the President in the student newspaper and protest from alumni.
Funny thing though, Obama easily defeated John McCain in Notre Dame’s presidential election poll, Obama was victorious among American Catholics in the country-wide election and Obama was the first Democrat to win Indiana in a presidential election since 1964.
Not to mention the Notre Dame administration, led by priests, made the invitation.
ND President Father John Jenkins, said, “We are not ignoring the critical issue of the protection of life. On the contrary, we invited him, because we care so much about those issues, and we hope … for this to be the basis of an engagement with him.”
Call me a cynic, but I think a lot of the criticism coming from ND-types has nothing to do with abortion. It could be instead a case of ND’s College Republicans howling that a member of their “team” wasn’t invited to speak.
Our current culture of vicious political partisanship was certainly not around when I was growing up. Yes, D.C. has always been uber-competitive between the parties, but all you have to do now is turn on talk radio, Fox News and MSNBC to see that times have drastically changed. No one is on the same team anymore. And I think this protest is most likely an extension of that.
On the bright side, at least the students dodged the Reege bullet for another year.