It was Oct, 1992 and Bill Clinton was campaigning to be president. He was wrapping up a bus tour and his final stop was in Gainesville, Florida. I lived 15 minutes away and my law studies class was going on a field trip to hear him speak.
I thought I was living the life of a good Christian example. I was a leader in my church youth group, I didn’t drink or cuss, and I was politically conservative. And because of all of this, I thought I was morally superior. So I did the only thing I knew to do: I protested against what I believed was the most important thing in his political agenda: his pro-choice stance.
I stood with some other like minded classmates and held a sign that said:
A girl can get an abortion
but has to get parental permission
to take an aspirin at school.
I thought I knew what I stood for–what I believed in. Looking back, though, I realize I was a brainwashed fool. It was definitely not one of my finer moments.
Fast forward 30 years:
- I no longer go to church and youth groups creep me out.
- I drink and say what I want.
- I am about as socially left as possible.
I KNOW I am not morally superior and I know it is time for me to keep my male mouth shut and let others take up the conversation. Cis, white, men have run their mouths long enough and continue to do harm.
This week, I attended two pro-choice rallies.
I held signs and waved to people as they honked in support. I blocked counter-protestors while they screamed in my face that I needed to repent. I marched downtown and listened to different speakers. I don’t know if my actions make a difference in the grand scheme. For that, everyone needs to vote and be politically active. But today I did it to be present. To show support to the girls and women that this does affect. I did it to support my wife, a midwife who serves women on a daily basis. I did it for my daughter–she should not have to live in fear of men’s laws on her body.
And I did it for myself–in order to atone and pay penance for my misled youth. I do not like the person I was and I despise the environment that led me to be that way.
But there is solace in knowing that every day I’m further from the person I was and closer to being the person I am.
While we were at today’s protest, a 13 year old was arrested for using a megaphone. It was a disgusting show of force of the Lakeland Police Department. They isolated one female minor, manhandled her, and took her to the police department. She was released, but has a court date and will incur legal fees. Happy 4th of July!
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