Friday, March 1, 2013

Tween protestors should not follow parents’ politics

Anti-abortion beliefs a personal decision

By Anna Sieber, Columnist
There was an anti-abortion protest for the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling in Washington, D.C. Jan. 22. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the Capitol.

I was there for a J-term class and saw a huge number of these protesters waving signs proclaiming, "abolish abortion" and "this is the pro-life generation."

I think everyone has the right to assemble or petition the government, but where I have a problem is when there are children involved.

Yes, children. There were so many children there.

These are human beings — minors — who do not yet have the right to vote.

These kids are likely aged 14 at the most, virgins and maybe have not gone through the sex education courses taught in high school. Likely not all of the girls have begun their menstrual cycles. And they are still years away from being able to vote.

Yet they are projecting a view, classifying themselves as the pro-life generation. This is not simply an opinion, but a stance they are shouting at our elected officials.

I am not saying that those who cannot vote cannot get involved in politics. They can certainly work on campaigns and volunteer.

But protesting is another matter entirely. Protesting is a way of asserting your opinion on representatives. In the case of abortion, the issue is moral.

To be frank, I do not trust these tweens’ values. They screamed and shouted and could not adhere to typical polite metro-riding etiquette. They were a swarm that menaced the metro system — unable to stay on their feet without flopping all over the place, unable to maintain a respectful volume when shouting immature things at one another, not being mindful of how their Pro-Life Generation signs poked passengers in the face. They are projecting adult opinions when they cannot even act like respectable adults for a 30-second elevator ride in the U.S. Capitol Building.

This is our future: politically active individuals who do not know what they think.

I had to wonder whose beliefs they were projecting. Certainly, it was not their own. Like I said, they were around 12-years-old and do not know what they think.

Granted, many adults who vote or protest are neither informed nor well-mannered in public places. But those people are voters. They still have a constitutional right to participate in the democratic process. Children cannot vote.

On the trip, one of the things that really stuck with me was something an associate from Cassidy & Associates, a big lobbying firm, said: everyone has the right to petition the government and the right to assemble.

Yes, those are rights given to citizens in the First Amendment. But seeing these kids protesting, I have to wonder how far that right extended, and whether it should be extended to 12-year-olds.

Anna Sieber is a first year student at Pacific Lutheran University. She likes to write—which is why you’re reading this.