What did I do during my spring vacation? Watched my son graduate from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., during a Saturday ceremony at which Speaker of the House and well-known public crier John Boehner received an honorary degree.
When I heard about Boehner's appearance, I said a prayer for a little eye precipitation -- and it was granted!
Boehner's degree sparked some controversy when dozens of professors signed a letter saying he didn't deserve a CUA degree because his political stands fell short of Catholic ideals about helping less fortunate people. See the clip below from The O'Reilly Factor to get Bill O'Reilly's not especially objective take on the issue.
Some members of the CUA graduating class disagreed with Bill O's view, wearing signs affixed to their graduation gowns reading "Where's the compassion, Speaker Boehner?" and the more succinct "COMPA$$ION" at the shindig, which took place on the steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. But I heard no booing when the degree was conferred upon Boehner -- although one guy in front of me gave Big John a thumbs-down.
Boehner, however, seemed lost in the moment, repeatedly wiping his face with a handkerchief he had at the ready. He did so several times more during the speech that followed, which took place in dry conditions following an hour or more of rain or drizzle. At first, I thought he might have a cold, but as the talk continued, it became more and more clear that he was struggling to keep his emotions at bay. He made direct reference to this battle during his summing-up of the conversation's themes: "humility, patience and faith... and always a few tears from me."
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These words come at about the ten-minute mark of the video below.