Sunday, May 17, 2009

Breathing a sigh of relief

Touchdown Jesus After months of buzz, discussion, and unfortunately, controversy, my fellow South Bend residents and I can finally relax.

Or maybe not. I'm hearing on the local news now that some of the out-of-town protesters plan on sticking around for a while. Well, isn't that special?

But at least for the remainder of the day, we can rest easy knowing that everything went off without any major hitches, and that our President received a very warm welcome from our city and from the Notre Dame community. There were more arrests yesterday and today. Alan Keyes got out on bond yesterday, because a judge was available to hear his case. The first arrest today was Norma McCorvey, the woman also known as Jane Roe, the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade. Protesters were not arrested unless they entered campus, and a few hundred lined the streets approaching campus. Apparently the President's motorcade took the back way, depriving all those protesters of their chance to yell at the limousine. Early reports indicate (and I'll try to confirm this) that of everyone arrested, only one was from our community. The rest came in from out of town. I think that speaks volumes.

The valedictorian was a remarkable young woman who is going on to Harvard to attend medical school. She has been to Cambodia and Haiti and I believe embodies President Obama's call to service. I wrote to my friend Dan that I envisioned the President sitting there listening to her speech, thinking, "Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!"

Father Jenkins gave a great opening speech and a great introduction for the President, speaking of his efforts and philosophies concerning community organization and service, all things that are part of the Catholic faith and part of Notre Dame. I think he made a great case for why he invited the President, and I think his decision will prove to have been a good one. Of course, "dialogue" wouldn't happen during the speeches given today, but this has certainly brought to the forefront the need for civil discussion about issues, rather than mindless and inflammatory protesting.

The President started his speech with humor, talking about how it's not all that easy to come by honorary degrees, and that as President, he's one for two. Great line! He addressed the controversy head on, and spoke of the need to find common ground and create the opportunity for mutually respectful discussion. He also honored Father Theodore Hesburgh, someone who is legendary in Notre Dame history, by speaking of his efforts in the civil rights movement of the sixties. I'm sure it was gratifying for Father Hesburgh to see Obama's election, and to see him speak at his beloved Notre Dame, despite all the calls for the invitation to be rescinded, or for Obama to decline. (Father Hesburgh supported Obama's invitation, by the way.)

Notre Dame logo I think the true star of today's commencement was the class of 2009, who handled themselves with class and dignity, whether they supported the President's visit or not. Those who protested did so respectfully and they conducted themselves with honor. When protesters (not from our area and not students) began to shout during the beginning of the President's speech, the graduates shouted them down with chants of "We are ND!" And ultimately, this was about their achievement in graduating from one of the premier universities in the country. Shame on those who would try to take that away from these graduates in order to further their own agenda. I say congratulations to these graduates (and all graduates...good job!), congratulations to President Obama on a great speech, and congratulations to Father John Jenkins for having the guts to stick by his invitation and for taking all the heat that he has.

We could hear Air Force One when it took off from our airport, but didn't get a glimpse. We thought it might fly close enough by that we could see it. I told Ken, "They must have the Cloaking Device on." Haha!

One more thing, and then I think--I hope--that this will be done with. I got a comment from a guy named Steve, and Steve, I salute you for providing your name and not being Anonymous! Not everyone has the balls to do that, so good for you. I do need to address a couple of things, though. I see from your profile and your blog that you voted for Alan Keyes in the 2008 presidential election, and it looks as though you were his VP candidate at some point, if I understand you correctly.

You know, I really don't think I need to say anything else about that.

You also write:

Notre Dame didn't have to call in the civil authorities. Alan Keyes is a Catholic and he came to witness in accordance with his faith. Norma McCorvey is a Catholic, and she too could not take the kind of "I don't care" attitude you explicitly adopt regarding disingenious [sic] judicial reasoning.

Well, Steve, I think that's where a lot of people and protesters such as we saw the past few weeks get into trouble. You see, as private property, the University of Notre Dame has every right to deny people access to their campus. If protesters stayed outside campus, they were not bothered by either the university or the city police. However, they were told clearly that they were not to trespass on university property, and when they did so, they were arrested. It's the same concept of our private property here at Nutwood. I don't care if you're Catholic, Calvinist, Hindu, Zoroastrian, or a Satanist, if you come marching onto our property with a sign, I have the right to tell you to get out. If you do not do so, or if you come back, I have the right to call the police and have them remove you by any means necessary from our property. Your religion doesn't matter. Get it? You could be the Grand High Poobah of Bumfuck, Egypt, and I could still have your ass hauled away for trespassing on our private property. A person's religion does not confer a right to trespass. There is no ambiguity whatsoever there.


  1. I'm glad it's over & didn't too far out of hand!

  2. Father Jenkins and President Obama definitely rocked the house.

    I am not sure what you have against Egypt, but I respect your thoughts regarding privacy.

  3. Sing it, Sister!

    By Steve's logic, I should be able to barge into gay bars after they've closed - just because I'm a dirty homersextical.

    Actually, I kinda like that idea...


  4. I rarely comment on your blog any more Beth but follow it from time to time. I'm so glad Obama's speech went the way it did for those that had to have it go the way it did

    I wonder how God felt about it? I wonder how he will approach Omaba when Omaba stands before him when he dies? If Omaba is happy with it and feels he did his best with it, so be it

    but a baby is still a baby, no matter where it is in its conception or development or birth process. That I know for sure how the Lord feels about the sancity of life. if Obama can sleep peacefully with his choices, then so be it

    unfortunately I can't nor won't


  5. Must.... Keep...... Shitty..... Comments..... To.... Myself. Just bite tongue and count to ten. The religious people can't come through the interwebs and eat you. Calm thoughts. ;). I had a friend graduate today from nd. I hope these fucktards didn't tarnish her day or anyone else's. She worked hard for this honor and people should've held that in a higher regard despite their differences in opinion. And when it comes to your commenter.... People watch the news and believe they are seeing the entire picture. Well I saw it on CNN so I know EVERYTHING now. In all actuality, you don't know shot unless you're smack dab in the middle of it all. Sry I'm pissy today and want to kick everyone I see. ;). No regular net access for a while so you don't think I've abadoned you. Bumfuck Egypt.... I knew I loved you for some reason. Lmao

  6. Hi Beth,
    Lordy, Lordy, Lordy ... I skimmed through the comments on your post and it's such a delight to know that some people can see the "bigger picture" and are able to flash forward us all to that day when our President comes face-to-face with God. And RIGHT they are, it's not about encouraging young people to be the best they can be, to strive to better themselves through higher education at fine institutions like Notre Dame ... it's really all about whether or not President Obama -- or anyone else for that matter -- agrees with their views on unrelated issues. Oh well, perhaps when these people, too, come face-to-face with God, he'll forgive them their ignorance. Whether or not He'll forgive them for all their typos, however, is another question ...

  7. Whew, maybe this volatile subject will wrap up now that "the big event" is over, and South Bend can go back to being the neat little town it really is. I was thrilled with Obama's take on the issue, but I admit to being quite firmly in the pro-choice camp. If all of those wonderful graduates got their due at the ceremony and if the outsiders finally folded their tents and went home, then all can again be well in northern Indiana.

  8. thank GOD for the RIGHT to say how we feel.....PRO CHOICE all the way....because without the right to an abortion millions of females will die.
    i have followed this closely because of always keep my interest with your thoughts....damn shame that Keyes was released when he so so so so so glad Notre Dame had Obama there and as always, his speech was spot on.

  9. That last paragraph says it all.
    Well done, Beth. And thanks for being our reporter "on the ground" in South Bend.

    Now, this:

    "Maybe we won't agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions.
    So let's work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term. Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women." why i think Obama is a great President.

  10. Sunday was another instance where Obama faced the opposition head on and came out looking good. This kind of willingness seems to be an excellent characteristic of this president and should serve him well.

  11. I'm glad all went well at ND. It was a great speech. I'm sure Alan Keyes, loon of now birther fame, was thrilled to be arrested...twice.

  12. What if a gang of Druids wanted to overtake your property and build another stonehenge?

  13. Beth, I know your mom anbd dad raised you right!!! You are such a bright talented person and I truly believe your mom and dad gave you just the right nudge to run with it and I would saY YOU HAVE MADE THEM PROUD. Obama is going to be ok. You know the old saying, "I feel it in my bones" and that is how I feel. The more people that buck him the more determined he is to show them he will succeed.

  14. Eric, you know the druids didn't build the original Stonehenge, doncha? :)

    Obama's obvious intelligence, his pleasant demeanour, his ability to finish a sentence - coupled with the ability to pronounce the word "nuclear" correctly - are indeed a refreshing change. It's nice to have a world leader, rather than a horrifying slow train wreck, assuming the role of World Leader for once. We could do with a few more like him, I feel! :)

  15. Thanks as always Beth for writing in such a positive way. we actually did hear a bit of the presidents speach over here..albeit it was in the middle of the night,...I just happened to wake up just as he was comming on ! how cute was that...I also heard the noise in the background and just prayed that things did not get out of hand.
    Love Sybil xx

  16. I forgot all about the speech, but read your running commentary on it on Facebook later in the day, and I appreciate reading this entry. I wonder if someone has it up on Youtube. I wish I hadn't missed it. I think it's great that the graduating class ALL behaved with dignity and solmnity. It was their day, after all. I have never understood why people outside of a university or college think they should have the right to decide who the college and its graduating class should or should not choose as a graduation speaker. As for Steve, I REALLY appreciated that you made sure, by inserting "sic" that no one thought you had spelled "disingenuous" wrong, but that he had. Steve, when you come up against Beth, make SURE your words are spelled correctly and you are using proper grammar and sentence structure!


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?