[Rally remarks before the 2017 Mass. March for Life.]
My name is David Franks, chairman of the board for Mass. Citizens for Life. Thank you all for coming on this beautiful day.
I want to introduce MCFL’s newest educational initiative, a first-in-the-nation pro-life social doctrine certificate program.
It is a liberal arts approach to exploring the basic principles of political life, such as the common good and the dignity of the human person, in order to rebuild social consciousness from the pro-life perspective.
The program’s reading list includes Night by Elie Wiesel, The Person and the Common Good by Jacques Maritain, the “Treatise on Law” from the Summa theologiae of Thomas Aquinas, and The Waste Land and Ash Wednesday by T. S. Eliot.
This is a critical time in American history. We the people are divided. The American proposition to the world has become obscured—the proposition that government exists to secure the God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The future of our Republic depends on becoming reacquainted with the basic principles of political life.
One word for the most basic political principle is solidarity.
When Abraham Lincoln was a young man, he floated a flatboat down the Mississippi to New Orleans, where he saw slavery, naked and raw. Coming upon a street auction, trading in human flesh, Lincoln had the gut reaction of a (little-“r”) republican, who knows that government is here to secure the rights of every single human being—or it is nothing good at all:
“By God, boys, let’s get away from this. If ever I get a chance to hit that thing, I’ll hit it hard.”
That is the true American sensibility. It’s the pro-life sensibility: we see the unborn threatened with private execution; we see the elderly and the medically dependent herded towards various forms of euthanasia.
And through the democratic process, we are committed to hitting that thing hard.
Because solidarity is our song.
And solidarity means a revolution of spirit, a limitless expansion of heart and mind, to know more and to love more, world without end: this is what we were all made for. A communion that excludes no human being, no matter how powerless.
We are one body of humanity. We are one body of Americans, all refugees from the ideologies claiming that the state gives rights to man.
The Irish among us will appreciate my recalling the Emancipator, Daniel O'Connell, who understood that an essential moment in politics is free public speech and assembly. It is but one moment, yet it is an essential one, and becoming more salient in an age of unremitting retrenchment into private worlds.
When we come together in such public spaces for the sake of the powerless, we are standing in their place, we are being their representatives, and that’s the beginning of (little-“r”) republicanism. Political representation begins with witness for the powerless others.
Solidarity is our song. Sing its strains above these proud towers; sing gently into each heart that hates us for hitting the pro-abortion power; sing on and on, in greatness of heart and mind until every fellow-citizen, until every human, has joined the chorus; sing until we are one though we are many, one in our care of the vulnerable.
Sing, brothers and sisters; sing from that gilded dome to the leafy Berkshires till there be one commonwealth of love.