Planned Parenthood on Point Street in Providence, RI has weathered many anti-abortion protests. This April 23rd #ProtestPP organized nationwide actions and a diverse group of Rhode Islanders came out to counter-protest.
Demonstrators pro and anti lined the sidewalks. I chose a pink sign for drivers speeding by, ‘I Stand With Planned Parenthood’. The antis had their own signs in the same color and typeface, ‘Stop Planned Harvesthood’. Although the allegations against Planned Parenthood were unfounded and the makers of the ‘sting’ video are facing charges true believers are not letting go. You can’t argue with faith.
As I stood by the curb, a procession approached- a tall man with white hair and a woman wearing a bandanna adorned with marijuana leaves. They were carrying banners with the Virgin of Guadalupe and the man was blowing loud blasts on a long curly rams’s horn. I recognized them from Facebook. “Are you the Church of the Holy Herb?” I asked. Yes, and they were here to add their voice to the anti-abortion side. Strange bedfellows.
Although it was hard to hear the antis on the other side of the busy street they did their inevitable co-opting of the Civil Rights struggle, singing ‘This Little Light of Mine’. I doubt they know that Dr.King was given the Margaret Sanger award by Planned Parenthood in 1966.
An anti-abortion protester had a body camera on his shirt. He said it was in case he was “assaulted again”.
A woman was carrying a sign that said, ‘I regret my abortion’. A consequence of making choices is the risk of choices you regret. Tell me about it. I would support her right to join in a moral debate but not to try to make abortion illegal for all women.
A man was carrying a sign that said, ‘Hillary Kills Babies’. You really don’t get used to words like ‘baby killer’. As a mother, as a nurse, as a woman who advocates for the rights of women and children, especially those with disabilities, it is painful to be labeled as a supporter of baby killing. This whole bizarre performance was happening within blocks of Women&Infants Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital where lives are saved every day. The Catholic Church in RI has some good people and charities, but their leadership reliably supports politicians who undermine vital services for women and infants because they are PRO LIFE.
As I left the demonstration for a darkened room and some Motrin I saw the woman from the Church of the Holy Herb nose to nose with one of the prolifers shouting about sperms and eggs. You guys deserve each other, I thought (no offense to The Herb).
That afternoon, Hillary Clinton was scheduled to speak in Central Falls, a miniature city famous for Viola Davis.
I wanted to see for myself what crowds Hillary could draw. My Facebook friends were posting pictures of hordes for Bernie and dismal empty function rooms for Hillary.
The line outside Central Falls High School 45 minutes before door opening was long but I figured I had a shot, they said that 1,200 would get in. Major politicians, like rock stars, are always late, and I had nothing much to do except look at the crumbling Victorian house across the street fantasizing how I would renovate it if I won the lottery. There were a lot of people in line wearing union t-shirts and we had some friendly words, but I was facing an hour at least just standing there. Some nice looking young men were handing out tracts. I eagerly accepted the reading material.
16 page glossy 8×10 4 color doesn’t grow on trees, and headlines like ‘Fugitive Pope’,’Sodom and Gomorrah’ and ‘Brace Yourselves’ did not disappoint. Apparently the Vatican, the CIA, the IRS, Nazis and The Illuminati are working in close coordination. I’d love to know how they manage that when Progressives de-friend each other over who to vote for in November. Anyway, Tony Alamo or his disciples are still finding money to print these tracts in 2016, despite the fact the the Reverend himself is said to be a grifter. and serving time for sexual abuse of children.
Who were these guys, and why are they in Central Falls?
Having been dragged sideways in my teens through a Pentecostal church I respect the power of the non-rational. Great ideals can bring out the best and the worst in us. The anti-abortion protesters at Planned Parenthood really believe they are defending children. They claim the righteousness of Martin Luther King, not knowing he was a pragmatist who had to minister to real people in the world we live in. As his power increased the moral complexity of decisions he had to make increased as well.
My friends who support Bernie have many valid points to make for why he is the best candidate and legitimate criticisms of Hillary Clinton. But some of them have casually re-posted junk from Right Wing sources whose only goal is to divide and conquer.
I don’t have to be psychic to predict that the same people who claim the Pope is chugging beers with The Illuminati will declare that Hillary is the Whore of Babylon. It’s only a crackpot few who will state it in those terms, but there is a Christian majority in this country that will hear the dog whistles. And they just ‘wont trust’ Hillary.
The Providence Journal said Hillary got about 1,000 supporters though the gymnasium with a capacity of 1,200 was packed like sardines (I was there). Bernie got 7.000 at Roger Williams Park the next day, to the credit of his message and hard-working and dedicated supporters.
I am hoping that the Democratic Party will offer a unified and powerful message to voters in November. It’s a certainty that the non-rational will have a strong voice in this election. It’s not only hearts, it’s brains we will have to win.