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viewpoint

Pence ‘an especially bleak choice’ for Commencement

| Thursday, March 23, 2017

I graduated from Notre Dame way back in the ’80s, and have been a proud alumnus ever since, even as my left-leaning tendencies have increased over the years. However, the “Com-Pence-ment” — ironically announced in the alumni newsletter next to an article about “Healing our divided nation” — has left me confused. I simply cannot square Fr. Jenkins praise of Vice President Pence’s personal moral conviction with what feels to me, at a very basic gut level, is an administration with no clear moral compass. It would be hard to imagine, for instance, Jesus praising the latest Congressional Budget Office scorecard.

Pence, Trump and others should absolutely be allowed and encouraged to speak their minds and promote their positions on our campus, but does it have to be Commencement? Commencement is an opportunity to give clear moral and ethical advice to students. It can be spiritually uplifting to everyone in the room, it can bring the campus together and it can elevate our institution in the eyes of the world by reinforcing our values. I’m afraid that the selection of Pence fails on all accounts, and is an especially bleak choice for many graduates this year.

On the positive side, maybe Mr. Pence will be better than my Commencement speaker, who was merely boring, and will inspire a new generation of graduates to become more politically active than those of us in the ’80s, who could only manage to protest the removal of Cap’n Crunch from the dining hall menu.

Congratulations on graduating. Looking forward to meeting some of you in the future.

John Kennedy
class of 1986
March 16

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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