Today my son graduated first in his class from the Notre Dame Law School.
I’ve been on campus for the last four days.
Call it the eye of the storm.
(Photo credit: Reuters)
President Obama was the commencement speaker at a Catholic, no, at the premier Catholic university in the United States.
You’ve been reading the news, you’ve read about it on blogs, you’ve heard about it on talk shows. It was everywhere.
But here, on the campus of Notre Dame, despite what you have been seeing on the news, things were relatively peaceful.
Here, on the campus of Notre Dame, discussions and debates took place in a respectful and dignified manner. Over dinner. Over wine. On the quads. In the bookstore. With family, friends and people never before met whose only connection was the fact that they, too, were celebrating with their families.
My son had three tickets to the Joyce Center for the commencement; there were 15 family members present. I knew my oldest daughter and her husband were avid Obama supporters and would appreciate being in the Center while he spoke.
My husband and I gave them our tickets. We watched from a conference room on a large screen TV.
Let me tell you, the excitement was palpable. The crowd went nuts.
And that was just in our conference room.
And then the most amazing thing happened.
The President of Notre Dame, Fr. John Jenkins, stood up and spoke. Eloquently, passionately and clearly. He did not dodge the issue. He stated very clearly the Catholic views on abortion and he did not apologize.
I don’t think I took a breath the entire time.
His first point: while much was made of the decision to invite the President to Notre Dame, little was said about what it meant that he accepted the invitation.
That is very true.
Read his words here.
It is necessary to read his words before you read President Obama’s speech.
Now (and good lord, I’m linking to the Huffington Post!), here is the full text of the Obama speech, only this time, you can see it for yourself in the embedded video.
If you really want to see what happens when two men of character and courage take on a controversy without mincing words, you will want to read/see both those speeches.
Go beyond the pictures and the sound bytes and read for yourself what was said on this campus today.
It’s no secret that I am not a huge fan of President Obama, a stance that has nothing to do with the Notre Dame controversy.
I disagree with him on many issues.
But not the ones he spoke of today. The need for open minds, open hearts, fair-minded words and the need to not demonize those who stand on the opposite side of an issue.
(Can I hear an AMEN on that?)
I’ve never felt Obama was all that and a bag of chips.
But today, on this campus, at this commencement and with this speech…
And for the first time since November, I see a President.
He did a hell of a job and deserves respect and recognition for it.
As does Father Jenkins.
“And our hearts forever, praise thee Notre Dame!”