A-Marching We Will Go!

The pro-life struggle includes moments of celebration

This time I kept my sign. Heck, I could have been the model for it. On one side there’s a silhouette of a “senior” wearing what looks like my cap. His cane is like one we keep handy at home. On the other side, there’s a Gospel truth: Toda Vida tiene dignidad. It’s been so since Creation. The sign is from the annual OneLife LA march. The event joins in spirit the major pro-life marches in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

In Los Angeles the march has its own feel. We begin with a youth rally and close with a family-style picnic. In the course of the day, we visit the information tables of groups and agencies that support the commitment to be pro-life for the whole of life. Representing the American Solidarity Party, I had the chance to introduce this new political vision to people who welcome its message. Among them were Bishop Ochoa, an auxiliary in the largest archdiocese in the country, and a group of students from Thomas Aquinas College, maybe its best liberal arts college.

Next day, out of a sense of duty, I checked the Los Angeles Times. Would it have any coverage of the OneLife event? Nope, not a line. It did cover the Women’s March, though. That march, the same day as ours, had less participation than the year before. There’d been in-fighting among its organizers. Still, one point they could support was “the decriminalizing of sex work.” How cruel an irony in a city plagued by human trafficking.

Now, for me, there’s more than a sign that’s a “take-away” from my latest march. Three points merit emphasis.

First, an important part of the pro-life struggle is people knowing that families and music and the flavor of a fiesta are welcome. The struggle will continue, and it will be daunting. But we can also enjoy moments of celebration.

Second, and it’s a sobering point, our attendance this year was disappointing. There were roughly 15,000 of us, about half of last year’s turn out. People wear down and wear out. There’s the abuse scandal, too, that dispirits many of us.

Third, whatever one thinks about the POTUS, his time in office is limited, and perhaps more limited than the election cycle suggests. And whatever one thinks about the POTUS, he has made significant pro-life contributions. When his presidency ends, we have every reason to expect an indiscriminate and ill-informed backlash against pro-life people. We had best do what we can to anticipate it and get ready to respond.

By the way, there was one other sign at our march that I want to mention. It was handmade. It featured an arrow pointing down to the person carrying it. In the center of the sign, above the arrow, was an identification: Former Planned Parenthood Employee. At the top of the sign there was a question: What am I doing now? On the left side was part of the answer: a picture of praying hands. On the right side was the rest of the answer: Speaking Up!

Yes, let’s all of us go marching on!

Jim Hanink is an independent scholar, albeit more independent than scholarly!

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