Last time we had protesters here in Issaquah, I didn’t really mind having them across the street. They didn’t approach our patients or yell hateful epithets like so many protesters do outside other clinics. They smiled and waved. Their signs were not ugly or hateful. Mostly, they chatted on cell phones, read or napped.
In all, I figure more than 1,000 hours were wasted -- roughly half–a-dozen people, there for eight hours a day, for 27 days. I can think of quite a few other ways that those hours could have been better spent.
· raising money to help low-income, single parents
· providing childcare for those who can’t afford it
· snuggling babies born addicted to drugs
· spending time with kids that don’t have a loving, caring adult in their lives
· foster parenting
· adopting a child with special needs
· lobbying for health insurance for everybody
· taking a group of kids outside to learn about the environment and get exercise
· being a reading buddy at a local elementary school
· mentoring at-risk kids
And that’s just off the top of my head.
It takes real commitment and diligence to sit on the sidewalk for 27 days, rain or shine. Think of all we could accomplish if their efforts went toward something we can all agree on -- healthy kids, families, women, and teens.
This really stuck in my head, because it connects to something that has bothered me for a long time.
How many people demanding that unwanted babies be put up for adoption have actually adopted kids? Or are they so caught up in their "children are like flowers, you can't have too many" mindset that they're popping out puppies of their own instead of taking the needy ones from the shelter? How many vocal anti-choicers do you know who have a half-dozen of their own kids, even if it means leaving orphaned or abandoned ones in the system? The next time they tell you they love kids remember this: they love their own. Everybody else's kids are everybody else's problem.
Here's my advice to those people, if they really want to practice what they preach (literally).
If you think that every child has a right to life, start demonstrating that you have some compassion for them after they're born. Start voting in ways that support motherhood and affirm the value of children. I suggest getting involved with MomsRising.org, an activist group dedicated to seeing that problems mothers and their kids face are solved.
Issues they care about:
· Ensuring paid maternity leave for women in America (just like evil socialist moms are given in Europe) so that women can support their kids instead of losing their jobs. In fact, why not paternity leave as well? Don't fathers have family responsibilities as well?
· Affordable childcare, so that families don't get caught in the "can't afford childcare because I don't have a job, can't get a job because I can't get childcare" cycle.
· Healthcare for kids is a priority for moms, so why shouldn't they do something about it? According to MomsRising, "Having a child is now the single best predictor that a woman will go bankrupt. In fact, this year, more children will live through their parents’ bankruptcy than their parents’ divorce. The causes for so much financial distress among parents are complex, but one fact stands out: Fully half of these families filed for bankruptcy in the wake of a medical problem." And no, "the market" doesn't fix that.
Are "family values" a big deal to you?