I hope there is never another March for Life. I hope this is the year we win the war against abortion. But just in case it’s not, if you’ve never been to the March, plan to go next year. Start saving now if you have to, but go.
This year was my first March. I suffered. Everyone suffers. You rush around, you freeze, you’re exhausted. You sort of hate it. But you also totally love it. And you leave there three times as inspired to end abortion as you were when you arrived.
When I say you sort of hate it, what I mean is: Washington, D.C. is incredibly cold. The “coat” I was wearing – what we call a coat in Texas and is almost always too warm for Mississippi – is more like a light jacket on the East Coast. My coat got owned. And I got owned with it.
My friend Destiny and I are from Texas. We think that because we can survive months of 100-plus-degree weather, we can survive the cold. We were barely right. After over five hours in 20-ish degrees – and snow – we were walking under the same mindless force that makes zombies walk, whatever that is. I felt like a reanimated corpse in cowboy boots. I was so cold, and my toes hurt so bad, that I was offering people money to set me on fire and cut my feet off. If someone had appeared with a wheelbarrow, I would have gotten in it without a hint of embarrassment.
It was 50 degrees a few days before the March, and the temperature is back up there again already. Interesting, isn’t it? I am a nutso Christian who thinks there is a such thing as the Devil, and I imagine him like Sauron blowing a blizzard at the Fellowship of the Ring as they were trying to take the Caradhras Pass. (Author’s note to editor: go back and put a NERD WARNING before this sentence.)
But now that I am dry and warm in Mississippi and didn’t die from hypothermia, I think maybe it’s a good thing that the March is difficult. Maybe it’s supposed to be difficult. When things are harder to do, they mean more, and this kind of means everything.
I came away from my first March convinced that it is incredibly important – but maybe not for the reason we think.
This past Thursday, morning, I was waiting for a shuttle to take me from my hotel to the Metro, so I could walk to the Live Action office and meet some of my peeps. As I stood in the lobby, CNN could not stop talking about a football player with an imaginary girlfriend. When I got in the shuttle, the driver had it on the radio.
Friday, after we survived the March and made it back to the hotel, we turned on the TV. We kept flipping from channel to channel. One by one, the networks mentioned the March. One by one, they talked about it for less than ten seconds, showed a tight video of a small portion of the crowd, and referred to the “thousands” marching on the Mall to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Roe.
There were between 400,000 and 650,000 people marching. That’s a lot of people. But it wouldn’t matter if there were two million people if the media didn’t report it. And they don’t report it.
Sunday, as I was coming home, I decided to do a little experiment. I asked my cab driver on the way to the airport if he knew about the March. “Something on the Mall?” he said. I said, “Yeah! Do you know what it was for?”
“No, what was it for?” he asked me.
“It was a pro-life demonstration.”
“About half a million people, maybe more.”
“Wow!” he said. “That’s a lot of people!”
This is a guy who drives a cab in the city. I asked him if the city was congested that week, and he said “Yes, ever since the Inauguration.” So I guess that was on the radio.
I repeated this conversation with three other people on airplanes between D.C. and Mississippi. None of them had heard of the March.
The purpose of the March is to demonstrate, to protest, to show our lawmakers and the public who we are and what we believe and that we are many and we aren’t going away. But an impressive media blackout enables them to at least pretend to ignore us.
But here’s why we should keep marching: because the March edifies pro-lifers. I know it does, because it did me. It is inspiring. It reminds you why you’re fighting. It puts you in touch with remarkable people who make you want to do more. It reminds you of the tragedy of abortion and the joy of saving lives.
Also: the crowd keeps getting bigger.
We keep growing, we keep not going away, and even though the media won’t do its job, and a lot of the public doesn’t know we exist, I promise you Planned Parenthood and their buddies on Capitol Hill are very aware of our numbers and the fact that we flood D.C. every year. I promise we make them nervous. If they’re smart, they’re nervous. And they’re smart.
Something else you should know about the March for Life: amidst all the cold, and the being exhausted, and the rushing and the airplanes and the living off energy bars, you also have a lot of fun.
At times you feel guilty having fun. I mean, you’re there because millions of children have died. You’re there because a tragedy is destroying the country. Are you supposed to be, like, partying?
Well, I think of the alternative, in which we all sit around in shrouds, weeping and lamenting. Would that be better for the movement? Would it attract people to our cause? “Hi, join us, we cry a lot!” We are pro-lifers, not anti-deathers. We want to preserve life because it is great. We celebrate life even as we mourn its loss.
I am back at the keyboard galvanized to do more this year. I hope you are, too, whether you were at the March or not. And in the tragic event that we have to march again next year, I hope I see you there.