Barack Obama and Notre Dame

President Barack Obama recently spoke at Notre Dame.

The substance of his remarks will not be covered, because, in keeping with most of his speeches, there was virtually none.

However, his visit has sparked considerable outrage, putting me in the uncomfortable position of partially defending him.

First I will begin with what he did wrong. As usual, the President was his arrogant gasbag self. He spoke about a controversial issue, abortion. He went out of his way to acknowledge the other side, before eventually dismissing the alternative point of view.

He is very polite, and speaks in a high-minded manner. However, the idea that he is anything but a left-wing partisan is fallacious. Inviting Republicans to a Super Bowl Party is not the sme as respecting them. Meeting with conservative journalists and lecturing them is not the same as listening to what they have to say.

He spoke at Catholic Notre Dame, and challenged the pro-life people in the crowd to be more respectful of the pro-choice point of view. However, he did not ask the same of the pro-choice people.

I personally stay far away from cultural battlegrounds such as abortion, but I recognize disrespect when I see it. In his typical professorial tone, he lectured those that disagreed with him to reach out. At no time does he ask the same of his supporters.

Again, he is very polite about the words he chooses, but that does not change the disdainful deeds and attitudes behind those words.

Right now he has the votes to ram his agenda down the other side’s throats. However, he may wish to treat his political opponents with dignity. Bill and Hillary Clinton took the same arrogant approach in 1992, and once Republicans seized Congress it was payback time. Mr. Obama may well wish to keep that in mind as 2009 turns into 2010.

Yet while there was plenty to find fault with regarding the speech itself, I have absolute support for his speaking there. Those at Notre Dame who tried to block the speech were wrong.

For the sake of full disclosure, I have never liked Notre Dame. To be more specific, I can’t stand their football team. I have disliked the Fighting Irish since the days of Ross Perot’s twin brother Lou Holtz. Every year I wish for the Irish to go 0-11, at which point they will still demand a bowl game. They actually think the Pope cares whether or not they win.

Yet casting aside football (not an easy thing for me to do), I believe that all speakers not engaging in true hate speech or terrorism, such as David Duke, Louis Farrakhan, Armageddonijad, or Jesse Jackson, should be allowed their platform.

If the vile people just mentioned are somehow given a platform by some idiotic Poison Ivy League university, they still must be allowed to speak. I detest the words of Armageddonijad. Lee Bollinger was an imbecile for inviting him. Yet he was a bigger imbecile for then insulting the man. The man was a guest…a horrible, vile guest, but a guest nonetheless.

Barack Obama is not a man that fits into the category of evil. He is a democratically elected President who I have substantial disagreements with. He should be treated with respect wherever he speaks.

When he speaks at a commencement ceremony for graduating students, I am absolutely opposed to people disrupting his speech. Democracy does not give people the right to shout down speakers.

For those who want to engage in silent protest, stay home. If you are a valedictorian or other notable, then you show up and fake a smile. You shake the man’s hand if he offers it to you. You absolutely do not stand backwards so he sees the back of your head. That is just rude. Holding up signs at events like this is totally inappropriate.

I will be the first to admit that those on the left are far more vicious. Ann Coulter and David Horowitz have both had pies thrown at them. This is assault. People who throw objects should be arrested. The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes was given one year in jail, and I totally support this. Liberals will bend over backwards to find this funny, but the President of the United States cannot have his life put in danger. Suppose the shoes had an explosive device attached to them, like shoe bomber RIchard Reid tried to ignite. Would liberals still be laughing? Actually, most of them would, but most decent people would not.

President Obama must be allowed to speak in peace.

As for Notre Dame inviting him, it was totally appropriate. For one, again, he is the President. For another, most universities preach diversity, but refuse to allow ideological diversity. I am constantly excoriating liberals for refusing to allow ROTC and other military institutions on campus. Most of this bigotry comes from the left, but on the rare occasions it occurs on the right, I will call it out.

Where Barack Obama went wrong is by bringing up abortion in the way he did. He could have avoided it altogether, and spoke about issues that he had in common with the university, such as Christianity. He could have borught it up by being respectful towards the pro-life side, and left it alone. Where he crossed the line was by deliberately poking a stick at those on the other side.

I bring all of this up because I am currently on a speaking tour.

I usually speak in front of friendly audiences. I have not been in front of hostile crowds yet. Selling books makes it sensible to be in front of audiences pre-disposed to like what I have to say.

Yet I speak differently in front of College Republicans than I would in front of the Republican Women’s Federated. My language will be saltier in front of the college kids. I will be partisan in front of the Republican women, but there will be nothing even coming close to cuss words.

If I am speaking to a Jewish group that covers the entire ideological spectrum, I will tone down the partisanship. Otherwise they willnot listen to my pro-Jewish message. I will not pretend to be what I am not, but I will treat my audience with respect.

Also, if people try to turn their questions into statements or manifestos, I will cut them off. If they want to give a speech, they can develop some talent and get invited to speak, like I have been.

People who have disagreements with President Obama can and should ask tough questions. However, they should not go on a rambling diatribe. That is what blogs are for. I should know.

The left in this country were a bunch of frothing, rabid savages when President George W. Bush was speaking. I feared for his safety and prayed for his life, the abuse was so bad. The abuse was totally and completely undeserved. For eight years, too many liberals were incapable of disagreeing with the man in a civilized manner. Ironically enough, despite controlling the White House and Congress, the left is still acting like a bunch of disgusting animals. Just ask Churches that have been destroyed in California by violent peace activists in the name of tolerance.

Speakers deserve to speak, and listeners should listen. Discussion should take place when the program calls for discussion. If one is not directly involved with the event, and dislikes the event, boycott the event. If you show up, you owe the speaker civilized conduct. The speaker should keep in mind that speaking comes with responsibilities. Otherwise, there will be blame to go around when riots break out.

If riots should break out, the police should absolutely use force. If protesters don’t like it, then don’t start riots.

Freedom of speech is not absolute. I hope that speakers and attendees remember that everywhere.

I do, and look forward to speaking in a way that leads to quality events with pleased audiences.


2 Responses to “Barack Obama and Notre Dame”

  1. Micky 2 says:

    I had no problem with the folks protesting outside.
    Even though his position (and history) on the matter is one of the most radical I’ve ever seen in any president everyone in a structured decorum should be allowed their say without freaks screaming and interupting them.
    I still find it hypocritical of Notre Dame to let him speak but then again the way I see it Catholicism is a religion of convenience where they figure no matter what they do a confession and a few hail Marys will resolve everything

  2. I don’t think Obama really wants to bring up abortion. It’s really just an annoying subject. But he was tuck with it. So, he did what moderates have been doing for years – suggested ways in which the two sides could work togeter to reduce abortion numbers, a laudible goal, but not something tat’s going to add up to much. Take adoption. There are maybe 40,000 adoptions a year. There are almost a million abortions a year these days. Lots more people would like to adopt, but the rules and regs in the name of the “proper family” stand in theuir way. Take birth control. There are a steaming pile of moronic states out there spreading lies about contraception in the name of the absurdly naive “abstinence only” programs. At every turn, the rightwing shoots itself in the foot and assures the numbers of abortions will remain high.


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