- Trapped in the inevitability of what’s about to happen on Friday.
- Ashamed, thinking that I need to do more.
- Abandoned by those who are able to attend the March in Washington.
- Scared that I’ll be too scared to march in NYC.
- Governed by social anxiety of the magnitude I haven’t experienced in years.
- Proud to be escorting on Saturday morning.
- Grateful to have somewhere to be on Friday night, with like-minded, revolution-minded friends.
- Thrilled to be doing a play that actually fucking matters.
- Depressed and alone, on the couch, unable to work or think.
- Stuck in a spiral of news that makes my heart and head hurt.
So, obviously I care about this issue, but.
Check out this article from the L.A. Times. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-goldberg-planned-parenthood-killer-20151201-column.html
My response is this:
Your argument is chock-full of false equivalencies. “Batman” and “Zeitgeist” and video games are fictional forms of entertainment.
The pro-life rhetoric is NOT fictional. It is real (whether or not the facts are). That rhetoric is incredibly violent, and, if taken seriously, the logical conclusion for many people would be violence. Think about it this way. Here’s some of the rhetoric I hear on the sidewalks:
–“You’re a baby-killer”
–“Don’t kill me, mommy”
–“Don’t be an escort of death/deathscort”
–“You’re killing an innocent person”
–“Jesus will judge you, sinner”
Now consider Carly Fiorina’s disproven statement about the (totally irrelevant) videos released by David Daleiden: http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/05/politics/fact-check-carly-fiorina-anti-abortion-videos/
Let’s reframe the terms.
Imagine we turned these phrases around to talk about someone of a different race or ethnicity. Maybe a religion?
Hell. We don’t even have to change the terms. People are doing it for us:
“[Clinic doctor murderer Paul Hill’s conduct was justifiable defensive action. There are many examples where taking the life in defense of innocent human beings is legally justified and permissible under the law.”
–Troy Newman, who recently endorsed Ted Cruz
“And now we are called into this incredible Holocaust of our own in America.” –Mike Huckabee, presidential candidate
“During slavery, a lot of slave owners thought they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave, anything that they chose. And what if the abolitionists had said, ‘I don’t believe in slavery, but you guys do whatever you want’? Where would we be?” –Ben Carson, presidential candidate
“Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to Black lives than the KKK ever was.” –E.W. Jackson, former candidate for VA Lieutenant Governor
“If a woman has [the right to an abortion], why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t [usually] result in anyone’s death.” –Rep. Lawrence Lochman, ME state lawmaker
“Hillary Clinton… believes in the systematic murder of children in the womb to preserve their body parts.” –Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey
Tell me, folks: If you truly believed that what these politicians are saying is absolutely accurate, you would be furious. You might start a war– heck, we’ve started wars for less. When you compare the Holocaust and slavery (both of which we fought wars about) to abortion, you are inviting violent responses.
This isn’t fiction. Language has power, and the people misusing it have a lot of power too.
Violent rhetoric leads to violence. PERIOD.
ETA: This is really great info:
“Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf.”
Yesterday, I was a clinic escort at a women’s medical center here in New York City.
What’s a clinic escort?
A person who literally walks with a patient to the entrance of the clinic.
Why do we need them?
Because protestors use their right to “free speech” to hold up horrific signs, yell vicious lies, slander others, and get right up into the faces of women and men who are just trying to get healthcare while telling them that they are “murderers.”
My experience is best laid out by this woman, who escorts at the clinic I worked at yesterday:
But here’s some of what I experienced:
Honestly, it was just deeply strange. I’ve seen this kind of stuff in documentaries and I guess maybe on the street, but it was a whole other thing to stand there for four hours with these people. When I told A about it, he couldn’t believe that what they were doing was legal. Emotionally, I felt just fine, since I was so sure that these people were in the wrong. The whole time, though, I really felt for the women and men coming into the clinic– they are forced to walk down a sidewalk crowded with people holding enormous, gruesome signs and swarming around them. No one wants that. It’s not fair, and it’s not right.
A few things that didn’t surprise me:
- The crazy fundamentalist rhetoric. They brought slavery in within about ten minutes; the Holocaust came about five minutes later.
- All of the escorts were women. The main leader was an older woman, around your age, who the protesters loved to call a communist. The rest of us were in our mid to late twenties. All of us were white, and all of us were really passionate.
And many things that did surprise me:
- They got SO CLOSE to the patients. Literally, right up next to them, touching, arm to arm. We literally had to push ourselves in between the protestors and the patient, which involved a bit of very forceful “Excuse me” on our part.
- How much they just YELLED. I was exhausted just ignoring them.
- How many there were. There were about six escorts and at least twenty five protestors from just ONE church, not including the catholic church of about twelve people that spent an hour across the street singing and praying.
- It was “peaceful,” I guess, but the language they used was so inflammatory, even when no patients were coming in or out. I was called more horrible things yesterday than in the rest of my life combined. Some favorites: “deathscort” “accomplice to murder” “wicked,” and those were just some of the most obviously hurtful.
- The longtime escorts were totally familiar with most of the protestors; they come every week from one church. We weren’t permitted to use anyone’s name (even first names) while outside the clinic, because the protestors have tracked down and harassed escorts at their work and home.
- How locked down the facility was. I have never seen a doctor’s office… heck, any office… with that much security. There’s a security guard outside, two inside. The walls of the waiting room are soundproofed so the patients can’t hear the screaming outside. You have to be buzzed in TWICE by a nurse in order to even get to the waiting room. It’s a fortress.
And what’s most sad about that is that the clinic is beautiful. It’s brand newand is growing every day. We were able to take a quick tour. The OB/GYN and pre-natal area was lovely and filled with light. Whenever we saw a patient with a nurse, they were both smiling or laughing (what a contrast to outside). We didn’t get to see the surgical area, though we did peek into the recovery room. It was so lovely and bright. The head OB/GYN nurse talked to us for a while in the conference room, telling us what the clinic does. There was a lot of information, but basically it’s just a great place for women to get HEALTHCARE. Imagine that. They even have special programs to help women who don’t have papers.
One of the Pastor’s daughters brought her husband and their TWO YEAR OLD CHILD. She held this child as she stood in our faces, telling us that we were murderers. They pushed the baby in a stroller all around the block where the protestors were, huge 4×4′ posters of “aborted” “fetuses”. It was horrific.
Honestly, one of the things the protestors said was true: “One side is the side of darkness, and the other is the side of light.” And know which one I’m on.