George W. Bush to Speak at Calvin College Commencement

I’m speechless.

(official announcement)

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25 Responses to George W. Bush to Speak at Calvin College Commencement

  1. Steve says:

    I’ll save my extra ticket for you. :-)

  2. Aw, man! Why couldn’t I have graduated from Calvin THIS year? Errr…

  3. Sarah G says:

    Yeah. There’s someone auctioning off their extra tickets in KnightVision and won’t accept a bid lower than $50! There have been stories flying around campus about people who weren’t planning on walking or graduating this year (December grads from 04 and 05) who suddenly are now signing up to walk, and today’s the last day to sign up. And faculty who want to switch from the FAC to the fieldhouse (or vice versa). It was a pretty crazy day here yesterday…

  4. StealthKDDazzler says:

    I read the statement of Calvin’s Provost that the now-accepted invitation did not reflect Calvin’s political leanings one way or another, but I have to wonder if the college has issued such invitations to presidents on the other side of the political spectrum. If Calvin has issued such invitations, then I have no problem with the president’s appearance. There is, after all, a long history of presidential addresses at universities, and I’d argue that presidents have an obligation as civic leaders to make such appearances. This year Calvin will be in the good company of Yale and Notre Dame, where President Bush is also appearing. But somehow I doubt that Calvin has invited speakers on an equal opportunity basis. And Jim Wallis’ upcoming talk (May 5) doesn’t count; a graduation ceremony is entirely different than a speech at the chapel to hawk a book (and a yawn of a book, at that).
    Besides, isn’t GW preempting St. Nick (those in the know will know who I mean)?

  5. Even though the official announcement says that “President Bush has accepted the college’s invitation,” the rumor mill has it that Bush (via Karl Rove) was actually looking for a place to speak in Michigan and initiated the conversation about speaking at Calvin. If that’s the case—if Bush effectively asked Calvin if he could speak there—then it would be tough to criticize Calvin for not turning him down. Well, tougher anyway than criticizing Calvin for approaching Bush, especially after they already had another speaker lined up.

  6. hi, I just ran across this site, and thought I’d let you know about the website called Our Commencement Is Not Your Platform, which is in the process of discussing the event of Bush’s speaking. Check it out, join if you’re game, come help if you’re up to it! Take care.
    http://groups-beta.google.com/group/Our-Commencement-Is-Not-Your-Platform

  7. Raleigh, thanks a lot for the note and the link. I’ll be sure to check it out.
    StealthKDDazzler, apparently Bush will not be speaking at Yale and Notre Dame this year, but the Naval Academy instead.

  8. StealthKDDazzler says:

    Yes, I noticed that in a news article. Just goes to show you shouldn’t believe what you see on press releases and blogs — present company excepted, of course.

  9. StealthKDDazzler says:

    In response to Karl’s comment about the rumor mill above, I have a different view. I have a greater problem with the Bush commencement speech if the White House initiated a conversation with Calvin, since it would then be clear that Calvin was simply being used as an electoral pawn, that is, as an apparently “safe” place to strengthen support for the GOP in a state that can tip either direction in any given election.

  10. Linda (Calvin, '73) says:

    Back in 1972, Spiro Agnew (Nixon’s vice president) came to Calvin looking for a safe audience of adoring young people. Or so the rumors went, and we believed them. If memory serves, he didn’t find what he was looking for. If the rumors about what the Bush handlers think they’ll find at Calvin are true, I hope they’ll be equally disappointed to find that Calvin’s a much more complicated place than they believe.

  11. Justin says:

    Yeah Bush

  12. Jason Harrod says:

    Reminds me (kinda) of when Jimmy Carter came to Wheaton to speak. Of course, Carter wasn’t in office at the time, and is/was a pretty conservative Democrat. Still there were some upset folks at Wheaton that year.

  13. Sonja Wagenaar says:

    As many of you know, a significant number of students and alumni object to Bush’s appearance at Calvin’s commencement. A letter has been drafted and funds are being raised to purchase space in the GR Press for its display. Should you wish to support this effort, please email me for details: sonja_c_wagenaar@hotmail.com.

  14. william r. lenters says:

    David Hoekema said that he might boycott the event and spend an afternoon at a distant mall with placard in his hand, “Stop the War.” Right. He will be a good boy, be on the stage in full academic regalia, and meekly listen to Bush balderdash. Why? Because Calvin has lost its Kuyperian nerve when they failed to seat Smedes in the chair of ethics at the sem and when they couldn’t ante up when Nick Wolterstorff boogied on down to Yale. Quieter milder and political politeness rule the day at good old Calvin College.

  15. Melissa Schutte says:

    This is not the Calvin I remember. I am dismayed, disheartened, disgusted. This president is an extremely controversial figure (maybe not in GR but certainly elsewhere). He instigated an illegal war, he is bankrupting our government, destroying our environment . . . where is the outrage?! Bush and Karl Rove have played into the hands of evengelicals with their talk of Christianity. But focusing on being a “Christian” doesn’t necessarily mean that you are being “Christ-like” Calvin students should know this! All those who object to Bush’s appearance at Calvin need to stand up and make our voices heard! Let’s make a difference.

  16. NateKuiper says:

    It is unfortunate for the graduates that wanted to celebrate their achievement to have that day eclipsed by a political manuever of the White House.
    Casablanca has a number of appropriate quotes for the event like the scene where Rick wonders out loud:
    “Of all the colleges in all the towns in all the world, he walks into mine.”
    or Philip Marlowe proffers:
    “Let me do the talking, angel. I don’t know yet what I’m going to tell them. It’ll be pretty close to the truth.”
    There will be plenty of opinions as to why, should he have come or should he not have come. Who invited whom and what the motivation was . After it is all said and done Kasper Gutman speaks up:
    “Well, sir, what do you suggest? We stand here and shed tears and call each other names… or shall we go to Istanbul?”

  17. Bill Vanderhof says:

    Interesting concept the Casablanca connection with a back drop of war and espionage.
    Brigid O’Shaughnessy: Help me.
    Sam Spade: You won’t need much of anybody’s help. You’re good. Chiefly your eyes, I think, and that throb you get in your voice when you say things like ‘Believe Me. We had reason to think there were weapons of mass destruction.’
    \
    Brigid O’Shaughnessy: I deserve that. But the lie was in the way I said it, not at all in what I said. It’s my own fault if you can’t believe me now.
    Sam Spade: Ah, now you are dangerous.
    Does the danger come when we start to believe the lie? Or liar gets so believable?

  18. Henry Huis says:

    Is Bush being paid for this? I certainly hope not, especially if he invited himself. If he was invited and he is getting paid then shame on Calvin’s Admin for spending Michigan money that should stay in this economy at a time schools are in need of funding. Who foots the bill for all of this hoopla? Truth certainly is stranger than fiction.

  19. cheervarsity says:

    Hi all! I was at calvin last night, the night before commencement, and i got to go in the Fieldhouse and i stood right where president bush would be speaking and it was very cool!

  20. Rick Becker says:

    I heard Laura Ingraham talking to a couple CC faculty members about the boycott, and I was appalled by her treatment of them. I’m not Reformed myself, but I certainly respect the integrity of those boycotting the President’s appearance and their willingness to take it on the chin for what they believe in.
    Are the boycotters primarily objecting to the President’s theology or his foreign policy/warmongering or both?

  21. Peace Mom says:

    Rick, The reasons for the protest are many, but they essentially boil down to one point. Profs, staff and alums are appalled that the Bush administration is trying to connect itself with Christianity via his commencent appearance. Many with Calvin connections believe our Christian convictions bring us to pursue peace, social justice and truth-telling, and Bush is weak in those areas. As a alum, I’m offended that Bush is trying to manipulate Christian institutions this way.

  22. Jeff in Montreal says:

    In case you didn’t see the full transcript…
    Remarks By President Bush At Calvin College Commencement

  23. Dennis Holtrop says:

    I’m certainly thankful that they indicated where the audience laughed and applauded.  I’m not surprised that he hauled out his standard self-deprecation shtick in which he makes light of his own mediocrity.  But it’s unfortunate that those gathered at Calvin seem to have fallen for it (“laughter” AND “applause”).

  24. jack slater says:

    It’s also just plain stupid for our brilliant President to appear at a Christian school.  This invasion of his  and eventual occupation is seen as being religiously sanctioned by the good folks in the Muslim world.  This is just right in their face. It inflames all that tinder in that community which we (he) seems not to be aware of or care about.  Calvin has been cast most pointedly as  a co-conspirator in this horrible mess.  They better start praying for forgiveness right now.   c/o68   

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