Liberal activist Sally Steenland is soliciting donations to pay for a ten-thousand-dollar full-page ad she ran in the Grand Rapids Press on Friday. Steenland is a teacher in Washington D.C. and part-time consultant for a new think tank founded by former officials of the Clinton administration. She advises the leftist think tank on religious matters.
The ad Steenland purchased sports 823 names of Calvin College graduates, students, faculty, and others who were opposed to President Bush giving Saturday's commencement address to Calvin's seniors. Steenland and the gang complained that Bush over the past years of his presidency has violated many deeply held principles of Calvin College, coddled the rich at the expense of the poor, desecrated the environment, and misled the country into war.
Whether or not Bush is a coddler, desecrator, and misleader I'll leave to others to sort out. However, I must say it takes a big dollop of preening moral pridefulness for Bush's protestors to indict the president of violating the "many deeply held principles of Calvin College". Let me state the obvious. Steenland and company are not Calvin College. Calvin College is Calvin College, and Calvin College warmly and enthusiastically invited President Bush to give this year's commencement address. I'll leave it to Calvin College to know its "deeply held principles" better than a D.C. partisan activist and her supporters.
Therefore, my objection to Steenland's solicitation of funds to pay for the ad is that the ad is objectively false in its statement to the public. I do not doubt that she and her fellow signers of the ad sincerely believe that Bush has transgressed against THEIR deeply held principles, but their moral pride has run amok when they impute their righteousness to those for whom they do not speak. Indeed, their public preening of positions they believe are so obviously righteous that only a moral reprobate could dissent -- only that sort of certitude justifies pulling the hometown welcome mat out from under the President of the United States -- has blinded these preensters to their own arrogance.
After all, folks, whatever happened to the old-fashioned hospitality of welcoming the president of whatever political stripe to town to celebrate an important event in our community?