Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Smile On Your Brother: The Obama Speech, Pt. 2

When we last left the president, he had just introduced the topic of abortion and made the rather asinine point that, only through recognizing common ground, could we think about abortion as a decision with moral and spiritual dimensions. We'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he actually believes that even though his actions say otherwise. As do his words for that matter:

Babies. STDs. What's the difference, really?

Anyways, we join the president here, speech in progress, as he lays out his vision for common ground on this issue:

So let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions, let's reduce unintended pregnancies.

“And if a few million babies get killed along the way, I can still plead ignorance. After all, such questions are above my pay grade. If they are persons, oh well, my bad.”

Seriously, though, how do you think Pres. Obama plans to accomplish that goal? What are we going to say when he pushes for greater access to contraception (which includes chemically-induced abortions) and sterilization? Are we going to be blown off so that we can find common ground on that one, too?

Let's make adoption more available. Let's provide care and support for women who do carry their children to term.

Hold the hell on. Read that second sentence again. “Their children.” Having already acknowledged the president’s oratorical skills, I can only conclude one of two things from his use of the term “children” here, rather than, say, “fetuses.” I cannot believe that such a speaker as Obama would have something like this accidentally pop up.

Either he believes the consensus that the unborn are children and simply doesn’t care, or he is attempting to rhetorically sweep in pro-lifers by engaging them with their own vocabulary.

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 not only in sound science, but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women." Those are things we can do.

This is actually new. While it would be a positive, it’s difficult to weigh such a benefit on a scale balanced with dead babies. Of course, there’s also an issue with the president’s sincerity, since he’s already reversed himself on more than a couple of stated commitments.

Now, understand, understand, Class of 2009, I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away. Because no matter how much we may want to fudge it _ indeed, while we know that the views of most Americans on the subject are complex and even contradictory _ the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable. Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature.

Irreconcilable? As Bishop Finn has pointed out, this is an admission that there can be no dialogue and essentially acts as a complete refutation of Jenkins’s whole stated purpose for inviting Obama to campus in the first place. I’d like to praise the president here for actually agreeing with what we’ve been saying here all along. There can be no dialogue in the Jenkinsonian sense of the word. There can only be dispute and refutation.

I must say, though, the ability to move words in this speech is quite astonishing. Fr. Jenkins greased the rails for the president very well. We have moved from secular common good, to dialogue, to common ground, to anti-dialogue, and I can almost guarantee that nobody has even noticed how the progression of these topics has been set up so that the listener gradually accepts each one as a good thing.

Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words. It's a way of life that has always been the Notre Dame tradition. Father Hesburgh has long spoken of this institution as both a lighthouse and a crossroads. A lighthouse that stands apart, shining with the wisdom of the Catholic tradition, while the crossroads is where "differences of culture and religion and conviction can coexist with friendship, civility, hospitality, and especially love."

“And if a few million babies get killed along the way, at least we can all still be friends.”

Again, we see stuff like morality, good, and evil, placed on the same level as “differences of culture and religion,” with the idea that we should be willing to “coexist” with people promoting evil. I bring up the segregation comparison again. If a group of students wanted to start a campus chapter of the Klan, should ND be ok with that?

Or what about on the religious end? Should the Freemasons be allowed to have a lodge in South Dining Hall? I’m almost afraid to know what the administration’s response to that question would be.

This tradition of cooperation and understanding is one that I learned in my own life many years ago, also with the help of the Catholic Church.

To condense the next bit, Obama mentions that his family wasn’t particularly religious, but he did have a “sense of service” that led him to being a community oraganizer. He worked with a lot of different people, including some Catholic churches. Everybody acted together to make the neighborhood better. Working with all these churches, he was “brought to Christ.”

Of interest is that he says he was “drawn to be in the church.” Clearly, this is another verbal bait-and-switch. At first, he’s talking about Catholic churches, but the church he’s drawn to be in isn’t Catholic, as we know from his comments regarding Jeremiah Wright’s influence on him.

And at the time, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin was the Archbishop of Chicago. For those of you too young to have known him or known of him, he was a kind and good and wise man. A saintly man. I can still remember him speaking at one of the first organizing meetings I attended on the South Side. He stood as both a lighthouse and a crossroads _ unafraid to speak his mind on moral issues ranging from poverty and AIDS and abortion to the death penalty and nuclear war. And yet, he was congenial and gentle in his persuasion, always trying to bring people together, always trying to find common ground. Just before he died, a reporter asked Cardinal Bernardin about this approach to his ministry. And he said, "You can't really get on with preaching the Gospel until you've touched hearts and minds."

Now the president is going to expand on his earlier identification of himself and those others seeking open hearts/minds as the good guys. I’m not going to pass any judgments on Cardinal Bernardin here. I’m just drawing out the Obama characterization of who is on the right side of the fence here.

And again, notice that who the good guys are isn’t really the result of actually being right about something. If Obama was wanting to illustrate this, he would have mentioned what Cardinal Bernardin’s positions really were. But no. What made His Eminence a good guy, as presented in context here, was his open heart/mind and the quest for the holiest of holies, the “common ground.”

My heart and mind were touched by him. They were touched by the words and deeds of the men and women I worked alongside in parishes across Chicago. And Id like to think that we touched the hearts and minds of the neighborhood families whose lives we helped change. For this, I believe, is our highest calling.

Funny. I thought it was knowing, loving, and serving God in this world so that we can be happy with Him in the next.

Yet again, the president uses his rhetoric to revise what should be regarded as fundamental tenets of the Faith. This sort of utopianism as our “highest calling” should be repugnant to any Christians, but Catholics especially. With enough sugar, though, even the most distasteful poison will go down.

We'll have one more installment of this, but I hope that this series is teasing out the meaning of Obama's rhetoric. Once you're passed the glamour and charisma, what he's saying is pretty scary.


Superb Jon said...

Obama has the most Catholic administration in USA history. Vatican Osservatore Romano editor Vian said on may 18th that Obama "in not a pro-abortion president." What does this prove? That the Vatican message on abortion has only been for politcal purposes. It was used to divide, to encourage Catholics to breed and to encourage non-Catholics to abort out of spite. THe Vatican likes the abortion status quo in the USA for this reason. THeir purpose is only conquest, not faith. Carolignian Brzezinski spawned Zia al Haq, Khomeini, and bin Laden - breaks up superpowers via Aztlan and Kosovo as per Joel Garreau's Nine Nations. Brzezinski, Buckley and Buchanan winked anti-Semitic votes for Obama, delivered USA to Pope's feudal basket of Bamana Republics. Michael Pfleger and Joe Biden prove Obama is the Pope's boy. Obama is half a Kearney from County Offaly in Ireland. Talal got Pontifical medal as Fatima mandates Catholic-Muslim union against Jews (Francis Johnson, Great Sign, 1979, p. 126), Catholic Roger Taney wrote Dred Scott decision. John Wilkes Booth, Tammany Hall and Joe McCarthy were Catholics. Now Catholic majority Supreme Court. Catholics Palmisano, Grasso, Damato, Langone, Dioguardi, Palmieri destroyed American industry. Subprime construction mobsters had hookers deliver mortgages to banks. McCain's Keeting started it all. They find American cars too advanced to use or their mechanics to fix. Their slovenly, anti-intellectual work ethic produces vacuous, casuistrous blather and a tangle of contradictory regulations. NYC top drop outs: Hispanic 32%, Black 25%, Italian 20%. NYC top illegals: Ecuadorean, Italian, Polish. Ate glis-glis but blamed plague on others, now lettuce coli. Their bigotry most encouraged terror yet they reap most security funds. Rabbi circumcises lower, Pope upper brain. Tort explosion by glib casuistry. Hollywood Joe Kennedy had Bing Crosby proselytise. Bazelya 1992 case proves PLO-IRA-KLA links.

Throwback said...

Well, that settles it. Glad we got that straight.

Turgonian said...

Come not nigh hither, put off the shoes from thy feet: for the place whereon thou standest is common ground.