Jon Meacham, an Episcopalian, suggests that Barack Obama has found an Anglican solution to the controversy controversy over whether Roman Catholic schools and hospitals would be required to provide employees insurance plans that covered contraception.
The President understands ambiguity. “The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm,” Obama told graduates at Notre Dame in 2009. “The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem-cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son’s or daughter’s hardships can be relieved. The question then is, How do we work through these conflicts?”
The answer depends on the issue and the hour. The most successful politicians are often those who can find that via media, that middle way. The fact that Obama managed to do so — again, later than he should have, but there we are — is a reminder not of his weaknesses as a President but of his strengths as a politician.
Do you think Meacham’s analogy is well-drawn?