by Sean Fitzpatrick
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.” Those who choose repose receive release from the mandates of truth—but it is only temporary. Truth cannot be rejected forever. Those who choose truth, on the other hand, have no rest—and so they march. They march ever onward. The March for Life is a march for truth: a march that refuses to enter into the repose of denial; a march that peacefully protests the legal murder of millions of babies in the United States of America; and a march that commemorates those lives snuffed out before seeing the light of day. The March for Life in Washington D.C. is, perhaps first and foremost, a funeral march—and deep inside the hearts of those who have chosen the repose labeled “choice,” the truth stirs “like a babe buried alive,” as G. K. Chesterton sings in his ballad.
By taking a stand for the so-called unalienable right to life, the March for Life is also a memorial for the unborn dead and an outreach to those who have chosen death over life, for they are victims as well. To offer an example from the classical catalogue, when Jocasta and Laius learned of the hard fate that awaited their infant son, they acted. They drove a large nail through his tender ankles and, fastening a leather strap to both ends of the spike, hung their baby in a windy tree to die on Mount Cithaeron. But Oedipus survived and, with shame and shock, his parents were destroyed by the doom they wished to dodge.
“Murder, though it have no tongue, will speak,” Hamlet said, siding with Chanticleer. In the modern world, it is easy for a baby to die. It is difficult to die to oneself. Today, such horrors are not the supposed subject of mythology. They are reality, playing out the timeless tragedy of the Theban king and queen time and time again, for truth—and justice—can never die. His Truth is marching on, despite the blameless blood staining hazardous-waste dumpsters behind hospitals. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. This refrain is the marching hymn for Catholics today, and thus the March for Life remembers the holy souls of aborted babies together with the haunted souls of their mothers, whose searing pain is depicted in T. S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland:”
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Sean Fitzpatrick is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and the Headmaster of Gregory the Great Academy. He lives in Scranton, PA with his wife and family of four.