To the Daily:
The headline of Madeline O’Campo’s recent viewpoint doesn’t properly designate who is being honored at this spring’s commencement ceremony (It’s my graduation, not Obama’s, 2/16/2010). The headline should read, “It’s our graduation, not Obama’s.” Not that the headline doesn’t appropriately summarize O’Campo’s view — she seems to think her feelings trump those of her graduating classmates. In truth, we, the graduating seniors, are overwhelmingly in favor of Obama being the commencement speaker. Does it matter what half of the country thinks when the vast majority of us are in favor?
O’Campo’s viewpoint is filled with logical fallacies not befitting a Michigan graduate. Referring to Obama as a “polarizing figure” implies an act of polarization on Obama’s part. The truth of the matter is that Obama is a political figure in a highly polarized society, nothing more, nothing less. In today’s political climate, any politician or policy is seen as polarizing. Consider the debate over health insurance. Despite the fact that the majority of Americans are in favor of reform, a fervent minority is blocking such measures. The same can be said of any number of political debates. There is no consensus on any single political issue today.
Moreover, O’Campo supposes that Obama’s commencement speech will be, in fact, a standard political speech. I find absolutely no reason for her supposition in O’Campo’s viewpoint, so I find absolutely no reason to share this fears. From what I can gather (factual information rather than speculation), Obama will make a commencement speech. Many others have done so without venturing into the political. O’Campo suggests Obama will talk about, “jobs, manufacturing or Michigan’s economy.” Why would one assume such things? Obama is a politician, but he is also, by all accounts, a brilliant man. Are we to believe he is so stupid as to confuse a commencement speech with a stump speech?
Finally, O’Campo says, “(Obama’s) presence will turn the graduation ceremony into a political event.” O’Campo has beaten Obama to the punch. Obama has accepted an invitation to be the commencement speaker at our graduation, not make a State of the Union address. Why would O’Campo assume otherwise? Perhaps she is allowing her distaste for Obama to cloud her thinking. I don’t believe Obama is at fault here, but O’Campo certainly is.