I was going to write a piece on one of the responses I received for my opinion piece “Lack of Credibility”, but it seems it was not located in my backpack as I had thought. Instead, I ended up pulling out a newspaper all the way back from May 2nd of this year (I really need to reorganize my bag). The paper contained a pro-life letter to the editor with the long winded title “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”:
Many, in this column, have debated on the morality of abortion. This conversation is extremely necessary and those who take part in it are tenacious and brave. But, I am not here to write my opinion, even though some of you already know where I stand on this topic. Many of us have very strong viewpoints of abortion. Some see it as an option, others see it as evil. What do you believe? Some are confused. With all these opinions and statistics, it can get overwhelming. Sometimes we just wish we could push this subject away and pretend it’s not important. But, it is important. Some just want to stay out of the argument—to stay neutral, stay safe. But that doesn’t mean it’s right. By staying on the fence, we’re taking the easy way out.
Believe it or not, we need to have an opinion. Why? Because either such a simple human right is being manipulated or attacked, or there really are thousands of innocent children being murdered by scared and frightened women. Either way, our people are being deeply hurt and it’s our job to protect them. Because if we don’t…no one will.
So I implore you, have an opinion. But don’t get it from your friends or family. Go to the source. For me, that source is the source of morality—the Bible. Look up statistics. Listen to debates. Learn how abortions are done. What about us who do have an opinion? Us who know what we want to fight for? Us who deeply believe that abortion is evil? Or us who think that the picketing pro-lifers are idiots? What about us?
Let me ask you one question. Where are you? Our American people are suffering. A wave or a kind smile to the sign-holders, though appreciated, is not going to hold up another sign up. You can do more than pinning cute pro-life quotes on your Pinterest boards! Your voices need to be heard. Your voice is the voice you’ve been given to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. Let them hear it. Stop staying silent. If you really believe in something, then do something about it. Because all evil needs to succeed is for good people to do nothing.
Please, stop waiting. Stop just believing. Stop sitting on the fence. Stop trying to stay safe. Do something. Live outside yourself. Live to fight for those that need you.
Alisa Aish, Black River Falls
The beginning of the letter actually did have a couple good points about those that chose to remain silent or not pick sides on topics that are important. At first, she seemed to be encouraging those people to form a strong opinion on abortion and take a stand regardless of what side they decided to support.
Halfway through the letter, it becomes obvious this was not encouraging people to take part in the abortion debate, but rather a rallying cry for people to get actively involved on the anti-abortion side of the debate. In the process, she negates her own statement that she wasn’t writing to express her own opinion on where she stands on the subject. For example, the way she describes those that already have an opinion on abortion and are active in the debate indicates a subtle favoritism towards one side: “Us who deeply believe that abortion is evil? Or us who think that the picketing pro-lifers are idiots?” A number of pro-choice beliefs could have been brought up—women should have the right to choose abortion (and parenting or adoption for that matter), that abortion is a reproductive right, that abortion should be safe and legal, or women should have bodily autonomy. Instead of describing what the pro-choice side stands for, she chose to highlight what that side thinks of the other. There’s no clarification as to why pro-choice supporters find such pro-life protesting idiotic. Granted, we (pro-choice supporters) do find pro-life protesting to be idiotic, especially when they picket women’s clinics that don’t provide abortion services, but our feelings on it go much deeper than mere annoyance. Women have been stalked, harassed, threatened, bullied, lied to, mislead, and given false information by pro-life protesters. Without this context combined with a lack of a description for the beliefs of the pro-choice side, the writer has very subtly implied that one side (pro-choice) wrongfully has an issue with the other side (pro-life) for combating a great evil (abortion).
The end of the letter encourages pro-life supporters to do more than offer a wave or smile to picketers or post pro-life quotes on social media, but gives no such encouragement for pro-choice supporters. After reading this rallying cry for more pro-life involvement, the first section of the letter appears less neutral on encouraging those to form an opinion on the important subject of abortion. When she states that those that take part of the abortion debate are tenacious and brave, what she really means that those that take a stance against abortion are tenacious and brave. When she says “So I implore you, have an opinion”, she’s really hoping the reader will form a pro-life opinion just like the one she claims she’s not here to write about.
Its more subtle and polite than the pro-life opinion pieces I’m used to reading where abortion is called murder and condemned outright. As the old saying goes, “You get more flies with honey than vinegar”.