I Have a Say

Father John Hollowell, a young priest of the archdiocese of Indianapolis, has started a second blog called "I Have a Say".  He is responding to Planned Parenthood's campaign for pro-contraceptive videos by appealing for people to write posts on how they have a say, because they have been given life.

I was reading the posts on his blog, and decided that I would see what I could come up with.  My addition to the collection is below.  Not my best piece of writing, as it was rather whipped up in a hurry, but not the worst piece either.

I Will Have My Say

            I have a say.  What do those words even mean?  They mean that I, a young Catholic woman, have the right and the ability to be a significant factor in my country.  I can say what I wish, and I possess the right as a human being to have my voice heard among millions of my fellow citizens.  I…have…a…say.

Who am I?  I’m a 19-year-old woman, a college student, formerly homeschooled, a musician, a writer, a lover of books.  More importantly as far as my character is concerned, I am a Catholic.  I was blessed to have good Catholic parents, both converts, both devout.  I have two older sisters, both of whom I look up to and love; one is a Carmelite nun.  Right now, I attend Christendom College, a deeply Catholic school.  I have hopes and dreams for the future.  That is who I am as an individual.

But what am I as a person?  I am a “rational animal”, according to Aristotle; I am “made in the image and likeness of God” according to the Faith.  I am a human being; as such I have the rational powers, beyond the animals; I can think, reason, feel emotion; I possess a soul.  It only takes logical thought, no deep insights by the Holy Spirit, to come to the knowledge of the facts about humanity.  Each person is unique, each person is important, each person has natural rights and is governed by natural law.  I am included in that.  As a human being, I have the natural right and duty to be a good citizen of the country in which I live.

As a citizen of the United States of America, I have the right to freedom of speech.  That means I can say whatever I please – with the expectation that I have a role in the government and the functioning of my country.  As a good citizen, it is my duty to take the appropriate means to accomplish whatever serves the greater good of my country.  In voting, I vote for the good of my country and my fellow citizens.  In my conversations with others, I promote the morals and good habits which are for their good and therefore, by extension, for my country.  I use respectful, legitimate methods for letting my opinion be known so that those who make the laws of my country can properly assess the views of all citizens.

I have a say!  And I will die for that right!  Look to the Communist countries of the last century, to those living under the Third Reich, to the men and women in the Reign of Terror, to all who have been denied the right to hold conflicting opinions from their government.  They were killed, thousands were slaughtered even, for one treasonous word, one act outside of the established norms.  In every case there were brave men and women who refused to let their words be beaten down, who faced execution and laughed, that they might have a say!  Martyrs throughout the centuries died for what they believed!  Are we ready and willing to do the same?  America’s first revolutionaries would be ashamed of us if we could not stand up for our beliefs – they faced powder and shot for the right we hold.  I challenge my fellow youth: whether it means taunts, teasing, or outright persecution, whether it means ostracism or death, let us always remember that we have a say!  Let us say what we have to say with strength, vigor, and courage!

Have you ever wondered whether we might have had a cure for cancer now, whether we could have been lead to world peace, whether we might not have had grand technological breakthroughs, in the last forty years?  Too bad, we will never know if any of the lives that are ended minute by minute would have been a great hero.

Cecile, I have a say – and I say that you do not rule my thoughts and words.  I will have my say.  I have been given life – I did not gain it myself.  It was a gift from two loving, generous, self-sacrificing parents.  I was given my life in love, and I believe I have the duty to help those who are being denied my gift.

I stand for life, for all the lives that have been abruptly ended by sterile knives, for all those infants who face a death worse than any we can.  At least we will die having lived.  They must die in ignorance of why their lives are ending; no knowledge of the sun and sky, no friends, alone in the dark.

They are silent.  In my own small way I speak for them.  I have a say.