During President George W. Bush‘s time in office, those protesting the man and his agenda often did so loudly and at unfitting times and places. Dissent and the right to protest are sacrosanct in America, and we should all honor and protect those liberties. However, I often disagreed with the way the Left protested our previous president. Respect is owed to the office of the president.
Now, President Barack Obama is getting a taste of the same. A small taste, to be sure, but enough to know the flavor. During his speech today at Notre Dame, a few protesters interrupted the president’s remarks from inside the building. Outside, more than three hundred protesters gathered, lead by Catholic leaders and pro-life student groups.
I have to admit a certain part of me admired those individuals who stood up and objected to the president, and another part of me was tempted to revel in the rebuke and in the disruption caused for the president. However, even though I passionately disagree with the president, I believe there are other ways to respectfully yet boldly demonstrate in opposition to his agenda.
Here’s what got me, though, about the event and protests surrounding it:
For one, it is severely disappointing to see Notre Dame host Barack Obama. The University holds itself up as a shining example of “Roman Catholic” (an oxymoronic term, but you know what I mean) values, high among which is the belief in the right to life. President Obama is deeply committed in opposition to that right. It’s also disappointing to see ND honor a social democrat like Obama – although let’s be honest, there was never much danger of ND rejecting him grounds of his collectivist stances alone.
That brings me to the next point, which is that I wish some of the larger protests (those outside the event, etc.) would have been in opposition to other aspects of Obama’s agenda, and not merely his pro-choice policies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the ND pro-life community spoke up – it just would have been nice to also seem some ND folks protest against his massive, unprecedented expansion of the State.
Thirdly, I was disappointed to hear the crowd boo loudly against the (indoor) protesters. Or rather, it is unsettling to hear a crowd boo against impolite interruptions of Obama, when the same commitment to honor and protect the speaking rights of President Bush did not occur (if I recall correctly). Somehow it was okay to interrupt Bush, I guess, but not Obama.
According to the AP, upon at least one interruption, the graduates loudly chanted “Yes We Can,” the Obama campaign slogan, to drown out the protester. It appears Notre Dame has produced a graduating class of Utopian-believers, of Obama-Democrats. Which gets to another, larger point: If a University like Notre Dame is teaching its students liberalism, why should anybody be surprised or upset when they applaud and defend a liberal?
Abortion is just one single issue. And although it may be an important issue to many Catholics, it’s still just one issue. These students are by and large going to embrace a liberal like Obama, even if he does not agree with ND and the Roman Church on the single issue of abortion.
Here’s a video of the event from a Fox affiliate.