Sunday, May 17, 2009

Is a Commencement Speech the Appropriate Time to Get Political?

The President gave the commencement speech at Notre Dame this weekend, and it's apparently very controversial because he chose this time to give a speech about abortion. When I was trying to figure out what to write about, (Pelosi's fiasco...everyone knows she's a nut-job liar, budget cuts...can you really brag about your cuts if the overall budget increases?) I was very hesitant to even discuss this as one of the two discussions to have about this story involves abortion, which I generally planned to stay away from. However, I decided to buck it up and have the two discussions. The first will be about the topic of abortion and what he said, and the second will be about the title of this post as that's what really drove me to discuss this, even though it's the shorter of the two discussions.

So the title of the referenced CNN article is "Obama calls for common ground on abortion at Notre Dame," and while I may agree with the sentiment, it's as idealistic as banning or outlawing abortion. This is because I think people are very passionate about this issue,which it's very black and white to most people; right or wrong. I am of the opinion that there are people that are so passionately for abortion rights that they get come across pro eugenics more than pro-choice. If you don't know what eugenics is, click on the link I've provided for a more in depth discussion on it. Basically it's the belief that the human species can or should be improved though the elimination of inferior members. I take great offense to this. I don't believe that all pro-choice people hold this belief, but I think it's a fine line some walk when they discuss reasons to have an abortion with someone who has simply proclaimed she wouldn't choose it for herself. Pro-choice should be as much about choosing not to have one as it is about choosing to have one.

Here are the comments Obama made in the speech that I agree with taken from the CNN article:

"He urged supporters and opponents of abortion rights to '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.'"

"He also endorsed the drafting of a 'sensible conscience clause' to 'honor the conscience' of doctors and other medical workers opposed to abortion."

I think we need to focus on working to reduce the number of people that make the choice by encouraging, perhaps even incentivizing adoptions. I'm sure private citizens that are looking to adopt would be willing take part in some incentive program for girls trying to make up their mind. And while I believe that health care workers shouldn't be forced to participate in abortions if they don't agree with it, they also shouldn't got seeking employment in abortion clinics and then refuse to do the job based on their beliefs. They should be made aware of the situation surrounding the impending abortion, whether it is essentially "elective" or "medically necessary" for the life of the mother and make their decision from there, and appropriate staff should be available.

I also believe there should be intensive counseling for elective abortions that lasts longer than 20 minutes where alternative options are discussed as well as the reasons for the decision. There should be at the very least a 48 hr waiting period that involve 2 8 hour days of counseling. I abhor abortion as a form a birth control and eugenics, but people will use it for these two purposes and the decision shouldn't be made lightly. They need to understand in both cases, there are people that want to adopt. There are people that will adopt special needs kids and these parents need to be made aware of this. I think the ultimate decision is between them and God. Our job is to encourage the right decision, not demonize the wrong one. (this does not include abortions that happen to save the life of the mother, there is no right decision there as a baby will either die or grow up without a mother. Anyone self-righteous enough to condemn either decision made in a case like this will also have to answer to God...We all have to answer to God in the end for our actions and words)

Now onto the point that really riled me up to write about this story, which is discussing a political agenda during a graduation ceremony. Isn't that a downer? Isn't the commencement speech supposed to be about the graduates' futures as they are about to step into the "real world?" How is bringing politics into the day accomplishing this? Not to mention it's offensive to some people whether they agree with his views or not. I would feel robbed of what should be a perfectly joyous moment in my life.

What do you think? Should politics be a "hands off" topic for giving a commencement speech?


Jay said...

I've been in graduations and gone to see others graduate...and you know something? Nobody cares about the speaker; at least nobody either getting a diploma or watching a loved one get theirs. It's the graduate's day. Not a bully pulpit for some egotistical politician.

Slapinions said...

Obama obviously jumped on all the news coverage of the protests and carried the politics over to his speech. I think, quite aside from my political beliefs, that it was a selfish move on his part. There's plenty to say at a commencement, and abortion is pretty much the last thing that comes to mind.

Good post - oh, and we should invest in NASA. Hell, we should double their budget.


Laurie said...

If the anti-abortion fanatics had not made the invitation to speak a major issue, I doubt he would have been inclined to address abortion at a commencement. Once it was on the table, it would have been stupid to pretend otherwise.

I take exception to your concept of forced counseling for this one life-decision. Given the gravity of parenthood, perhaps similar counseling should be mandated when couples marry -- since we see how great a mess so many make of parenting.

If the decision is between the woman and God, why not trust God to handle it?

Lola said...

Absolutely I agree that people rush into marriage and parenthood. I would love to solve the problem of terrible parenting that screws up the lives of innocent children. I do think couples should have counciling before they marry. Many churches require it...unfortunately I'm not convinced that all councilors (religious and secular) call couples out and suggest they wait or work through this or that before they marry. I wasn't discussing any other life decisions in this I'm not sure why you take execption to counseling for this particular life decision. From my view one can still make the choice to abort if they still think that's the best choice to make...
There are plenty of loving parents that want to adopt babies, even special needs babies, and they should know these things.

I take exception to your "anti-abortion fanatics" comment. Not everyone there is or was. In fact many or most might be pro-life but that doesn't make them an anit-abortion fanatic. It just means that they are advocating life for the child since the child can't do that for him/herself. Most everyone still showed up. They weren't all out protesting. It was a graduation not a political speech. It was absolutely inappropriate to discuss this issue at a graduation. Regardless of the "official" political views of the school.

Thanks for stopping by! Always enjoy a good discussion!! I'm honestly surprised more people haven't taken exception to my opinion on abortion...either way...

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