The clock has struck midnight and my van is about to turn into a pumpkin, but I can’t quite leave this public place where I’ve come to work; not yet. As I pack up my papers and books, I watch the slow turning of night into the much-anticipated Election Day 2008. It’s the big one, the one many have awaited, and like everyone else in this country I’ve got a lot on my mind; namely, the gift of life, a subject I’ve come to be even more passionate about since being blessed by parenthood.
I read an editorial in this Sunday’s Forum by Merry Helm that I think merits a second glance: http://www.in-forum.com/articles/printer.cfm?id=220495 The article addresses this important issue of life, making a distinction between what the writer sees as pro-life versus pro-birth convictions. In her mind, many of the folks, or at least lawmakers, who claim they are pro-life seem only concerned about a child’s development in the womb and subsequent journey through the birth canal, but at that point, she suggests, the person ceases to matter (at least to many Republicans, in her mind). Helm presents an important challenge to those of us who claim to put life first. Do we focus on the beginning of life to a fault, forgetting about other life steps along the journey? I think it’s important that those of us who consider ourselves prolife listen to stories such as hers and do some serious soul-searching. How much are we willing to offer of ourselves to make the world a better place? Are we willing to go all the way with our pro-life convictions, from conception to natural death and everything in between?
Though I found myself agreeing with much of what Helm says, I do have to defend those she labels pro-birth. In a society that makes the massacre of tiny babies legally permissable, the need to pull the pendulum back over to something more life-giving is imperative. Without life, all discussions cease, for there are no voices with which to argue and no arguments to be made. Without life there is nothing but darkness and death. And that is why prolife folks are so passionate about giving all unborn souls a chance to live. But I also agree that even while we are trying so desperately to pull that pendulum back over to something more life-giving versus life-taking, we must challenge ourselves to treat those who have made mistakes or not had the same advantages that we might have with love. We would hope for no different if we were the ones facing a daunting situation, would we not? Is there a way to reconcile these things and come together on all the important issues affecting life?
So am I Democrat or Republican? I’ll say this much: I’ve been both at different times in my life. And in a few hours, I will vote in a certain direction based on my collective life experiences thus far and the convictions that have resulted. I’ve grown to believe that neither major party has all the answers on how to fix our wounded world. I also believe that no matter who wins tomorrow, the world will continue to revolve, at least for a while, and we all will continue to be challenged greatly on these and all issues that affect our lives and those of our children and (hopefully someday) grandchildren.
As you head to the polls and await the results, peace be with you…