Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Is This the State of Things?

Tuesday's Utica (NY) Observer-Dispatch reports the moderate Republican congressman Sherwood Boehlert [the RINO's own representative] "has withdrawn as the commencement speaker at this Saturday's St. Elizabeth College of Nursing ceremony because abortion opponents planned protests over his support of women's abortion rights."

Sam Marchio, a spokesman for Boehlert, told the paper "The congressman decided to withdraw when he heard groups were planning to picket at the ceremony. The event should highlight the significant achievements of the students, not the political agenda of a few interest groups."

Boehlert will probably catch flak for giving in to pressure, and were this any other event than a college graduation I'd be unhappy with him as well. Normally I would say that he ought to speak anyway and not be afraid of protests. However, in this specific instance, I don't disagree with Boehlert's decision not to subject the graduates and their friends and families to the distraction that protesters would cause. The hospital agrees: spokesman Bob Stronach said Boehlert's action "shows the kind of character he has, to put the interest of the graduates, of these new nurses, first. We're very appreciative of the congressman. He's been a very strong supporter of education and especially of health-care education."

Protests have been organized by Dorothy Roback, chairwoman of Oneida County Right to Life. She told the paper "I don't think he should be there. We know what the church teaches, and we want our young people who are graduating to also know the teachings."

Is this what we've come to in this country? A political figure who supports abortion rights cannot give a commencement address at a nursing school graduation without eliciting protests that would undoubtedly mar a special and important day for the graduates and their guests? It is not as if Boehlert was going to give a political speech ... I think it quite unlikely that he would have so much as mentioned abortion rights in the address. But I guess we'll never know.

Sometimes you just have to shake your head and wonder.


At 11:56 AM, Blogger Heiuan said...

How sad that SOME people have the gall to try to ruin a moment of deep personal achievement for petty political BS.

This is a college graduation, NOT a political rally.

I'm in a vindictive mood today so I won't go any further.

My congratulations to the Congressman for respecting the rights of these hard-working students to have a wonderful graduation ceremony.

Blessed be the peacemakers.


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