Several years ago, under the naive assumption that I would glean some particular insight or a different angle on the abortion debate, I walked over to the National Mall on the day of the #MarchForLife. It was an hour of my time on this earth that I will never get back.
I didn't want to be misleading about my intentions, so I proudly wore a @PPact button, and I wondered how exactly I would go about starting a productive conversation with anti-choice protestors. Turns out I didn't need to.
When I came up near the area in front of the stage, anti-choice protestors almost immediately walked over and engaged me with hostility. There was no effort to ask why I was there. I was not calmly asked why I support choice. No rational discussions. Just venom.
At no time did I feel physically threatened. It was more the visceral feeling that you've entered the peak of an escalated argument after missing whatever led up to it. I was screamed at several times. I was told I want to kill babies. I was called a murderer.
A group of high school kids and their chaperone walked up and started attempting to grill me with what I guess they thought were "gotcha" questions. I calmly attempted to walk through these with them. At one point, their chaperone said: "These are just high school students!"
And there were a lot of students. The vast majority of the crowd were young people bussed-in from outside D.C -- one young woman in this group suddenly and without warning broke down crying and yelled at me: "Just promise me if your child is getting aborted, you'll let me adopt!"
And so, I calmly told her that I knew of a number of adoption agencies that were looking for folks willing to be parents, and I was happy to give her that info. In return, she glared at me, and her chaperone repeated: "These are just high school kids!"
I talked to probably 20 or so people that day and by "talk", I mean that I listened to them while they harangued me with whatever anti-choice, reductive pablum you could find on signage at these protests. I didn't raise my voice. I didn't get angry. If anything, I was bewildered.
So, when @jeannemfl talks of wanting to make the "March for Life" a nonpartisan event, I have to wonder what she means by that. These folks didn't bring ideas to the table. It felt like they attended for the chance to drain themselves of whatever rage they were carrying. /thread
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