I don’t have much time to blog today, as Obama’s acceptance speech at Invesco Field (combined with the fiasco of the change of venue) is sucking all of the oxygen out of the atmosphere. It was actually hard just to find time on a computer. So I’ll focus this post on one little quirky aspect of every Democratic Convention I’ve been to so far (every one since 1992): abortion protestors.
In case you haven’t realized, the abortion protesters are really serious about what they do. They aren’t violent at least, so they tend to get a response of bemused indifference from the police instead of active hostility. This allows them to demonstrate a lot closer to the convention venues, so they’re typically the only protestors convention-goers ever see (along with all of the pro-Democratic protestors like Code Pink, anyway). The more violent demonstraters, like the anarchists, are typically relegated to having clashes with hundreds of riot-clad police blocks away, so you really only see them on television.
The abortion protester’s favorite tactic is to wave around large banners of partial-birth abortions. That their images don’t really have much relevance to the vast majority of abortions doesn’t faze them; they’re going for the extreme example. So as a result you get to see all sorts of fun pictures of mutilated fetuses on your way into and out of the convention. It’s kind of cruel to force the little kids who are going with their parents to see this kind of stuff, but I guess that’s the First Amendment for you.
Unfortunately, I think their tactic has backfired on me. I’ve seen these images so much that they don’t even viscerally affect me anymore (and a visceral reaction is all they have going for them). They only have so many pictures of mutilated fetuses to work with, and I’ve seen them all. So I’ve resorted to making sarcastic comments when I go past these people, like “Yummy!” or “Thank God that one was aborted, look at how ugly it is!” Consider it a counter-trolling of sorts.
In the end, none of the photographs these protesters have shoved in front of my face have changed my views on abortion at all. I’m still pro-choice, and that belief is not based on any visceral reaction, but rather a long and considered internal debate. And keep in mind, photographs of any number of surgical procedures are pretty much guaranteed to be visceral. I’m sure a photograph of a full face transplant surgery in progress is a lot more disturbing than any of their abortion photographs, but it wouldn’t serve as evidence to convince anyone to ban the procedure.
To their convention-goers’ credit, they are responding to the protesters well, which is to say they’re completely ignoring them. Trying to engage people this far gone in a debate is a non-starter, so it’s best not to even bother. That’s why my brief remarks to them are flippant at best, and I never stop moving as I deliver them. Plus, nearly all of their arguments are prejudiced on religion anyway, so when they try to “convince” me they completely miss the mark. We don’t even share the same worldview.
And on one last note, it’s interesting to see how the abortion protesters have recognized the power of language. They distort their language to their own aims, no matter how inaccurate it is. Thus every month-old embryo isn’t referred to as an embryo, but as a “baby” or “child”, which is of course thoroughly inaccurate.