As I have previously mentioned in this blog, my son's school is right next to a Planned Parenthood facility, which means protestors are prone to make cameo appearances. It had been a good two weeks since any protestors appeared in front of the school, and I was happy about that. I'm all for principled, peaceful protests, but I don't like the creepy abortion pictures, and frankly neither does my son. Plus I don't like explaining life's issues five minutes before I have to drop him off for school. It just isn't a good way for him to start his day of learning.
Today, there was a protestor without the creepy pictures, but she still managed to be slightly disruptive in her own way. She had one big sign which said, "Stop Abortion Now!", but then she took it a step further and used colored chalk to write messages on the very sidewalk the parents and kids had to take en route to school. Some of the sidewalk messages were, "Babies Being Killed This Way", "Baby Murders Over Here", "Have A Good Day Baby Killers". Some of the kids just kept walking and didn't read the messages. Some kids could read, and read the messages out loud then asked their parents what that meant, other kids (like my son Nyles) couldn't read all the words, but the bright colors were intriguing so he asked me what it said, why it was written on the sidewalk and who wrote it.
The woman who wrote the message was sitting on the grass in front of Planned Parenthood making yet another sign, and I pointed her out to Nyles. He asked me why she wrote on the sidewalk, and I told him she had a message she wanted every one to see. I didn't tell him what the words said, and I damn sure wasn't about to fit an abortion/anti-abortion discussion into the 50-foot walk we had into the school. Luckily for me, as soon as he got closer to his school, all Nyles wanted to discuss was his new haircut and his even newer lunchbox. Crisis averted.
But some of the other parents I saw as I left the school and walked back towards the car were not quite as lucky. I heard kids ages 5-12 ask what abortion was, what Planned Parenthood does, and why protesters are always in front of the building. To properly set this scene from the parents perspective, imagine that it is Monday morning at 8am, you're already thinking about work-related matters, you may or may not have a hangover from the drinking you did during Sunday brunch or Sunday football, and it is taking every ounce of your remaining strength just to walk your kid to school and be on your merry way. And then all those plans fall by the wayside because one lone anti-abortion protestor decided that today is the day to write messages in colorful chalk all over the damn sidewalk. Your kid is asking questions and getting stressed out, and you can't exactly ignore their questions because that isn't great parenting, but you can't pull your kid aside and give them the straight talk you'd like to give, because the start of school casts a pall over all of that. It is a jacked up position to be in, and every parent I saw--regardless of their politics--looked like they wanted to strangle this girl with the garden hose that was in the grass next to her. Thanks to this girl, my four year old will be an expert in both sides of the abortion argument very early on in the game. Thanks protestor lady.
By the way, am I even allowed to use the word "abortion" that many times in a blog post? I feel like I've set off some Beetlejuice-type alarms here.