Monday, May 18, 2009

Standing In The Lions' Den

Standing in that most Catholic of American universities, Notre Dame, Barack Obama didn't hesitate to address his nation's bitter divide on abortion.

"No matter how much we may want to fudge it – indeed, while we know that the views of most Americans on the subject are complex and even contradictory – the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable," said Obama as he accepted an honorary law degree.

...Maybe we won't agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually – it has both moral and spiritual dimensions'," he said. He continued: "Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature."

Obama's comments reminded me of Pierre Trudeau's words during an interview at the time he began the trek to reproductive freedom by decriminalizing abortion. That was 40-years ago. He said at the time that he knew Canadian society was sharply divided on the issue and irreconcilable. He said he also knew that his government's initiative would please neither side and so, in the circumstances, it was probably the best that could be achieved in that society.

There's something about genuine leaders and real courage. A lot of the time you leave a lot of people angry, for a while.

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