Bush at Calvin: Wrapping Up

While we enjoyed the postponed Earth Day fair in Kalamazoo, the story that has dominated my blog entries of late came to its head and passed. I have yet to watch Bush’s speech in its entirety text | video, but most of those in attendance to whom I’ve spoken seem to agree it was uneventful. He began with some self-deprecating jokes about his own academic ineptitude, which some thought were in poor taste when celebrating graduates at an academically intensive institution. But it was not the crassly politicised speech that some of us had feared.

Protestors on the East Beltline got some television coverage locally, among them former Calvin faculty and staff. Calvin students, including Matt Ackerman, were scheduled to appear on NBC’s Today Show, and the event dominated the local press. Blog discussion includes this from Karl, a post last night by Jeff Veen, this from Ana, this one by James at metikos, and Nate offered his congratulations to graduates. The story unsurprisingly also made Christianity Today.

There is talk circulating that (college) President Byker (a staunch Republican) is furious about the press coverage that the protestors received (contrary to what he appears to be saying in this Grand Rapids press article), and the college’s admissions and development (fundraising) departments have talked of quite a number of emails from potential parents and financial donors who object to faculty protests — some suggesting that those faculty who chose to protest should “grow up” — though there have also been parents expressing their concern at the administration’s politicisation of commencement. It will be interesting to see what fallout the past few weeks’ events generate, or if any discomfort is quietly removed from sight.

On a personal note, perhaps the allegation that has irked me the most is that Christians who are called to respect those in authority (a claim whose application can be controversial, but for the sake of argument…) can’t marry respecting the office of President with protesting his appearance or policies. If the US President is really the figurehead of democracy, then can there be any greater respect paid to that office than to engage in vigorous civic debate and protest? Surely the greatest insult would be to quietly disengage?

And now to find something new to blog about…

UPDATE: Media Mouse have a summary of events too

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2 comments

  1. I did a drive by of the protestors and have added my thoughts as well.

  2. Bravo Calvin all-around. I think everyone was respectful, especially the protesting faculty and staff.

    I think Bush did well (he has some talented speech writers), and any fears that this would be a Republican stump speech were unfounded. The speech was the kind of pro-public service/community speech I would expect from any sitting president.

    I’m proud to be associated with Calvin. I hope the class with which the day was handled on both sides will encourage more interest in Calvin.