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Unity, please

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, March 26, 2009

Frankly, Obama as a Commencement speaker has done little but divide Notre Dame. Whether or not you believe it is a scandal or an honor, the only effect I have seen is in the student body’s behavior. All I overhear, in conversations from the dining hall or on campus, are people’s strong views on how ignorant or disrespectful the other half of the student body is, based solely on this issue. I’ve heard scoffs, heated arguments between friends, and all manner of disrespectful behavior … towards fellow students.

We say we want dialogue, yet the judgments made by the stronger personalities in a group are preventing students who do not want to be labeled by their friends, even mentally, from speaking out. There are, of course, exceptions, and I applaud them. I might have a moderate to strong view on the issue. In fact, I do. But if I told you what it was and why I believed it, would it change your mind? No. You would either agree with me because I said something you already liked, or disagree with me and think me ignorant. Why? Simply because you place a lower priority on the things that are dear to me, and care deeply about things I find false or irrelevant. And as Joey Kuhn (“Just embrace it,” March 24) so astutely said, nothing is going to change about it.

This speech has implications for the University (you may disagree on what they are), but they will choose to handle them or not. Enough sentiment has been expressed on both sides for the administration to know how the student body feels. So if we really plan on acting like a unified or Christian institution we should probably stop calling each other ignorant, disrespectful and calloused.

But if there were no scandals or divisive issues, Viewpoint would be a lot less fun for everyone, I suppose.

Laura Berlage


McGlinn Hall

March 24