Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Pro-Life Deluge Begins

They're showing up. I saw my first pilgrim-protesters this morning, a group of teenagers and a couple of nuns on a street corner in Chinatown. I overheard my first reference between two people their office building for a smoke. ("March for Life?" one asked, and then I'd passed. No context.) Personally, today I plan to review the rules for political activity for federal employees. (I think they'll say I have to take my nametag off when I walk down to the Mall on my lunch break.)

I keep thinking back to something I heard last year when I did the same. As I walked toward the Mall, on sidewalks crowded with hundreds, thousands, of other pro-lifers, I heard an older man say to his wife, " . . . I mean, I'm against it, but I don't think you should dwell on it. Focusing on things like that is just living in the past." It was clearly abortion he was against, and clearly pro-lifers who were living in the past.

Over the past year, I've wondered, periodically, whether I should have said something to him. What would I have said, if I were of the talking-to-strangers type?

"Living in the past? It's not the past for the 3,500 women who will have an abortion today. It's not the past for the 3,500 children who won't have a future. And I have to ask, sir, since you said you were against it, why are you against it? Do you think it's the unjustified murder of innocents? Don't you agree, sir, that that's something of immense magnitude, something certainly worth 'dwelling on'?"

I've always been a bit wary of the March for Life. I wrote about this last year. What's the point, really? It seems like it makes pro-lifers feel good - as it did to me last year - but that's it. It doesn't change the way Congress votes. It doesn't change the way the White House makes policy. It doesn't change hearts or minds -- at least not when those of us who attend are too shy to talk to other people, even the people who might be sympathetic!

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