Sunday, May 14, 2006

Oh, No.

Imagine my dismay when I learned that John McCain set foot on the campus of Liberty University to deliver a commencement address to some young Christian soldiers. But I suppose this is just what you have to do if you want to win over 40% (per NPR) of the Republican vote. You have to make nice with people you formerly described as "agents of intolerance".

Look at Falwell. What a smug old frog. Sort of looks like Scalia there in his robe. Very much the picture of an agent of intolerance.

Though this, from a Liberty press office release re: graduation and the the university's new church building, is unintentionally hilarious:

The church will move into its enormous new facility on Liberty Mountain on July 2, marking the 50th anniversary of the church and the ministry of its founder, the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

Liberty Mountain. Isn't that the amusement park with the Horseman of the Apocalypse rollercoaster and the Parting of the Red Sea log flume and where they show The Passion of the Christ in IMAX? Oh, wait, sorry.

And yet this, from a professor at the New School, where McCain will deliver another commencement address, and where students and faculty are protesting because of it, makes me want to roll my eyes. From the Times:

"Senator John McCain does not believe in a woman's right to control her own fertility," shouted Ann Snitow, a professor of literature and gender studies. "He has been opposed to Roe v. Wade for more than 20 years. He is a man who believes in female sexual slavery." Ms. Snitow added: "What would he have to do to not be invited? Would he have to say we should drop a nuclear bomb on Iran tomorrow?"

This too: Brittany Charlton, the vice chairwoman of the University Student Senate, said Mr. Kerrey's choice of speaker had left many graduates with unpalatable choices of boycotting commencement or attending and protesting.

"It is extremely distasteful and hypocritical to allow McCain, someone who does not value the ideals we have consistently been taught in our education, to speak at the ceremony that represents the culmination of our experience with this university," she said.

Peter Angelos, the owner of the Baltimore Orioles, delivered my commencement speech. Which I feel in some way is an even bigger betrayal of a student body. You think that little of us that you're just going to serve up some local capitalist tool? Some Knight of Columbus, some Rotary Club honcho? I'd rather have Cal Ripken. At least there would be bromides proffered on perseverence and hard work that you could imagine were delivered somehwere from personal experience and had some sort of ring of truth. Now, back to 2006--if Rick Santorum was invited? That's a guy who really seems to want to enslave women by curtailing their reproductive rights. Then I'd protest. But the point here, sorry, is that I didn't expect our graduation ceremony--a public event held in a convention center, with hundreds of people I knew nothing about even though we ate and slept and studied within feet of each other for four years--to square with my four years of study, which was private and personal and not anything I expected anyone but maybe a dozen friends to understand. University administrators, not unlike our elected officials, hardly act in the interest of the students (and citizens) they are supposed to serve.

Hey, isn't that Al Franken to McCain's right? Does Falwell know about this?