I attended the March for Life in Washington, DC on January 19, as I have pretty much every year for quite a long time – since my oldest kids were in strollers, and that's a long time. The theme is the same every year, of course – but there are always variations in the details, like the location of the pre-parade rally, who the speakers are, the weather (of course), various participating groups, and the overall “vibe”. And maybe it's just me, but it seems like the crowd is getting younger every year – countless groups of high school and college students from all over the country, as well as families, church groups, and pro-life organizations of all sorts. There are senior citizens (ahem!) in attendance, but this notion – popularized by the mainstream media – that the only people who show up at these marches are ancient geezers who can barely walk, and who are the last holdouts for a lost cause, is just not borne out. The overwhelming impression is one of youth – excited, energized, loud and raucous at times... happy they're there and sincere in their beliefs. They are, if you will, the anti-snowflakes of our time.
So I am carried along on, or in, a sea of humanity – and I always like to turn around and look back, when halfway up Capitol Hill, to see how far back the parade stretches. This year, even though I was nowhere near the front of the parade, when I turned around I couldn't see the end of it as it stretched back along Constitution Avenue; that was inspiring.
Part of the overall “vibe” for any given March is – has to be – the reality of who is president. When a Democrat is in the White House, it seems like we're truly marching through enemy territory; when a Republican is in the White House, less so – but there is still the awareness that we are marching through the heart of the “deep state”, which is populated largely by liberals and leftists of various stripes, and who can hardly be expected to be sympathetic to our cause. It's always interesting to see, as we go past what I call the “whited sepulchers” along Constitution Avenue – i.e., offices of the federal government – how many people are looking out the windows. There weren't that many this year, but there were more people than usual standing on top of various buildings – thanks in part to the benign weather. (And no, they weren't all “security personnel” although some were in evidence.)
The speakers this year included the vice president and the president, via satellite (from just a couple of blocks away) – and the contrast with Democratic administrations could not be greater, since the latter prefer to hunker down and sulk, and ignore what's going on under their very noses. So they get to experience a “hostile environment” once in a while as well.
Among many other highlights:
- The TFP contingent with their long red banners, brass band, and bagpipe corps
- A guy dressed in a skin-tight blue “super hero” costume with two antennae
- An Orthodox group singing liturgical hymns as they marched (I made it a point to stick as close to them as possible since I love that music)
- A handful of Shriners, which I found intriguing
- Two eagles circling overhead as Rep. Paul Ryan spoke (wonder if he noticed)
- The Mall and Capitol grounds were nearly entirely accessible, unlike previous years when there were all sorts of barriers and the feeling was like being cattle in the Chicago stockyards. It would be interesting to know who changed the policy and why.
So – as usual, I'm glad I made the effort to attend, and I intend to keep showing up for as many more years as possible.