Redress of Grievances

The picket sign under the red, jumbled mass read something along the lines of,

"This was not a mistake.  THIS WAS MY GRANDSON!!!"

All I can do at that point in time is be grateful that Herr Meow does not read yet, as we’re assaulted by the signs we encounter during our –I thought– uneventful walk from Gallery Place Metro station to the National Building Museum.

I wish someone had given me a heads-up that by heading downtown I’d be flying head-on into tens of thousands of teenagers and their parents and nuns and um…. *thinks of polite word and decides that snarky aside serves the purpose better than, say, "weirdos"* who were gearing up for a Pro-Life mass at the Verizon Center.

_________

I think most of us agree that we’re for life, strictly speaking– that is to say, we don’t want to outright kill, and we don’t want to see a potential life sacrificed for selfish, convenient needs; and that we would like to see more responsible parenting. (For a very eloquent and to-the-point blog post on Roe Vs. Wade, go to OC Girl’s blog, please)

Then again, maybe we don’t all agree.  I’ll leave that open-ended in case anyone out there feels so moved.

However, I thought that something about the people today had to be said:

The first amendment to the Constitution specifically protects the people’s right "peaceably to assemble."

What I saw today was not un-peaceful.   But if it was peaceable, then why did I feel so nervous and freaked out as I passed by the throng.

________

Crowds, by their sheer size, are scary.  Seeing the two lonesome patrol cars barricading the 600 block of F street NW didn’t make me feel any more secure– as a matter of fact I wondered if they would be hurt were the crowd to get out of control.

No one was being verbally abusive.
No one was agitating the crowds.
No one was hurling insults –not even the possibly-insane man wheeling himself about holding a picket sign and cautioning people that murder would send us all to hell (unless you count aitch-ee-double-hockey-sticks as a curse word).

But there was that feeling of unease and discord.  Of hoping that someone might attack them so they might attack back.  And most of the people hanging out were so young– so incredibly young and almost forlorn-looking, I have to wonder if they fully understand what it is that they are supporting or opposing. 

I must simply challenge their fervor.  I didn’t believe in much –nor very strongly, if I did– when I was sixteen or seventeen.

The stares that random members gave to others who were just passers-by and not in attendance, were rife with contempt.  "Why are you not attending this rally?  What could be more important than this?"

(Answer: Playing with the Bob-ah-Builder helmets and wielding a pretend drill.)

I felt judged when I didn’t take the pamphlets.  I did take some and perused them (they were in support of Ron Paul, which struck me as peculiar since he’s the libertarian of the bunch, but hey).

_______

Do colossal masses and protesting do much?  I am not sure.

It’s hard to say where a self-affirming movement and a movement to convince others begins and ends. 

But nothing is ever accomplished with thinly-veiled hatred or contempt.

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This entry was published on January 22, 2008 at 9:02 pm and is filed under DC Dukkha. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Redress of Grievances

  1. Some people have nothing to be passionate about in their lives, and so they hook up with someone who looks passionate about something and pretend…
    There are those who just want to protest… Something, anything…
    I do have to say as for me, I am pro-life. Does pro-life have to mean anti-abortion though?
    Do they think that making abortions illegal would make them disappear? If only it were that easy…

  2. thanks for the shout out!
    back when i lived on the hill a couple of years ago, i dreaded this day, simply because i knew that there would be tons of protesters impeding my path to work and filling up the metro.
    5 years ago, on the 30th anniversary of roe v. wade, i was struck by how young the anti-choice protesters were (i will NOT call them pro-life). girls as young as 15 with posters walking with guys that young holding rosaries. i was sad at first before i realized, do they even know what they stand for? no, because they probably have no idea what life was like before roe. they have no idea that desperate women risked their lives in order to have an abortion.
    overturning roe doesn’t = an end to abortion. comprehensive sex ed and easy access to birth control will.

  3. This is a subject I rarely comment on because it holds a deep personal meaning for me. What I will say is that I agree with OCgirl. It is anti-choice not pro-life and education and birth control will eliminate 90% of the reasons for abortions. Unfortunately, there are still medical reasons for abortions which will not go away easily.

  4. We have some in Ottawa as well… a bunch of old people walking downtown every day, rain or shine (I mean, blizzard or shine), with their placards. I found it weird the first time I saw them but I guess I got used to it since I work nearby.
    That said, I have a pretty strong opinion against these people. I hate being like that… I like to think of myself as open-minded. But “anti-abortion” demonstrations make me sick.

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