Classes began this week at the colleges and universities of Seattle and with it, the battle for the hearts and minds of disoriented freshman
Classes began this week at the colleges and universities of Seattle and with it, the battle for the hearts and minds of disoriented freshman looking for an ideology to espouse. The 2007-2008 season kicked off with a classic favorite of the ideologically hyperbolic: abortion.
“This is praying to end abortion,” UW political science major Liz Nelson, 21, says. Nelson joined the Student 4 Life her freshman year and has been working with local Christian groups to grow the organization’s presence ever since.
Outside the Catholic Newman Center, the NARAL Pro-Choice Washington had gathered with their slightly more crunchy supporters to wave coat hangers – reminders of back alley abortions past.
Angela Staiger, 20, a women studies major, brought freshman Chloe Williams, 18, along saying: “We protest together a lot.”
With both sides firing out emails garnering support (NARAL coordinator Sasha Cousineau said they were now planning to also show up at Planned Parenthood during the vigil) the ideological warfare has just begun. Here’s a tally of where things stand now:
Best hateful way of describing the other side: This one goes to the conservative front hands down. The sign waving activists outside called the anti-abortion faction fascists, an ambiguous term that most freshmen can’t define. Inside the chapel at the Newman Center, the abortion rights supporters were called murderers – no ambiguity there.
Extreme Left: 0, Extreme Right: 1
Most fun: The lefties have this one in the bag. While their opposition was sitting inside on wicker chairs being told life begins at conception, they were outside yelling into blow horns and cheering while cars honked in support.
Extreme Left: 1, Extreme Right: 1
Best food: Ever the deal maker when drawing in 18-year-olds who have eaten nothing but Kraft Easy Mac and hot pot coffee since striking out on their own last weekend. The prayer vigil keepers had sandwiches; outside they didn’t have Power Bars.
Extreme Left: 1, Extreme Right: 2
Best chant: I always forget the words to the Hail Mary, and based on some of the mumbling, some of the anti-abortionists do too. Outside, it was easy to catch on if you didn’t already know the words: “Racists, sexists, anti-gay – Christian fascists go away!”
Extreme Left: 2, Extreme Right: 2
And to affirm this highly-scientific analysis, both sides drew about 100 people. We’ll see how the scales tip once the LaRouche kids find their footing during the first week of classes.
And for everyone else just looking for a way to get access to birth control without having to deal with either side, there’s another Planned Parenthood at 2001 E Madison, near Seattle University.