If you, like me, missed out on the March for Women's Lives in Washington last weekend, fret not; The Washington Post was there, and thank goodness. Without its style section coverage, a babe in the woods, particularly from a conservative "red" state of mind, might have gotten the idea that this massive demonstration for abortion rights (sorry, "women's lives") was a shameless outpouring of a raging movement that trivializes life itself.
Au contraire. The Washington Post declared the march was an "impressive and congenial" gathering that "felt both urgent and singularly focused on its cause." Sure, there were descriptions to be gleaned from other media of marchers whose babies sported pro-abortion stickers on their rompers, of uterus-replicas hoisted high over marchers' heads, and the seemingly endless stream of placards and banners that variously called for both George W. Bush's political abortion come November ("Abort Bush in the First Term," "Stop Unwanted Presidencies"), and his physical abortion, retroactively ("If Only Barbara Bush Had a Choice").
While this sounds like something out of Planned Parenthood meets Dante's Inferno, according to the Post account, there was nothing ugly, psychotic or even, to use today's term of choice, mean-spirited, about any such expressions of support for "women's lives." As the newspaper put it, "The vibe of the day-long rally was at once good-humored and yet deadly serious."
This is really good to know. Otherwise, it might have been easy to mistake the unprintable obscenities of the day as having been, well, obscene, and the banalities of the speakers as having been, well, banal. "The march is about the totality of women's lives," said abortion rights activist Kate Michelman, expressing a thought so very deadly serious -- clearly, not banal -- that it's hard to imagine why the rally wasn't called the March for the Totality of Women's Lives.
"Leggo my Eggo" was a favorite march slogan, according to the Post, but gag not; this was surely a display of Post-style good humor. So, no doubt, was "Keep Bush out of my pants," a slogan reported elsewhere. "There was also a poster of an animated uterus with eyes and boxing gloves on each ovary, looking for a fight," the newspaper noted.
A fight -- for what? Anyway you define the terms of the abortion debate, this "animated uterus" was not fighting for life. Also at the march was a "spoken-word poet," who, according to the Post, "riffed on the Con-stitution, the coun-try, coun-ter-revolutions -- except in each of those c-words," the newspaper urged, "please insert the naughty c-word. (The one we're not supposed to say in print.)" It continued, "Now, you're speaking the language of the modern movement."
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