Ken Blackwell is Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment, and Robert Morrison is Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at Family Research Council. This article appeared on Townhall.com, January 23, 2014.
President Obama has invoked Dr. King's powerful phrase-the fierce urgency of now-as a spur to get his troops in line for the takeover of health care. They achieved their purposes to the extent that they rammed through Congress a monster of a bill-around the corner, over the walls, and parachuting down the chimney, if necessary, as an entranced Speaker Nancy Pelosi gushingly told us. They knew they had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make it happen. And they did.
What Dr. King's "fierce urgency of now" referred to was the centuries-long deferred promise of American life, that all of God's children could live together in peace and justice, that freedom would ring from the red hills of Georgia to the California redwoods. Dr. King cried out in the voice of the prophet. And the nation heeded. It was then that the great Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed. This was the greatest advance for equal justice under law since the victorious Union ratified the Civil War era amendments to the Constitution.
We can embrace a fierce urgency of now, too. We have a cause every bit as compelling as that of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi. Where they want to shackle every American to the government, we want our people to be free. Where they want to force every American to participate in the slaughter of innocents, we believe every one deserves a birth day.
We, especially those of us who are pro-life, have disciplined ourselves to run the marathon. We have embraced incremental measures for the protection of innocent lives.
All of these incremental steps have helped. All were worthy of our full support.
There is a difference, however, between incremental and incrementalism. We need to realize that there is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come. We can gird ourselves for the long haul, but we should never dismiss the possibility of a sudden breakthrough moment.
Ronald Reagan was the most famous pro-lifer ever to sit in the White House. He spoke of the tragedy of abortion in his State of the Union Addresses. He spoke of the unborn in his Inaugural Addresses. He published a pro-life book and promoted the Silent Scream video. He issued regulations that have been approved by the Supreme Court to force Planned Barrenhood to physically separate its abortion facilities from its family banning activities.
President Reagan's Title X regulation would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. But Bill Clinton rejected them and his Republican predecessor and successor neglected them.
Reagan felt that "fierce urgency of now." Reagan's success with the Communists was dramatic. George W. Bush praised him in an eloquent eulogy: "He said 'tear down this wall;' he didn't say 'knock the top three bricks off it.'" In the event, it became easier to bring down the Berlin Wall than it was to arrange weekend visits around it.
The ending of slavery was similarly dramatic and dynamic. Few Americans in 1861 could have dreamed that white Union soldiers, many of whom held racist views about Negroes at the outbreak of the war, would become some of the strongest champions of Emancipation. Not only did these white Union soldiers recognize the military and economic advantage that slavery gave to the rebels, but they began to see in their uniformed black brothers a bond forged in the fire and smoke of battle.
FOX News contributor Juan Williams sees in President Obama's New Yorker interview a sense of defeat. If the dream of ObamaCare has not yet gone up in smoke, it is smoldering, smoking, failing to flourish. Every day brings more disenchantment, more disappointment to the Obama supporters. We thought he was the Messiah, moans Barbara Walters. And Chris Matthews seems to have lost that tingle going up and down his leg.
This is the time. This is our Fierce Urgency of Now. ObamaCare will not only cripple the U.S. economy-even as it is an anchor holding the recovery in place-but it will also commit the Government of the United States to the proposition that killing is caring.
We can never accept that derangement of our Founding ideals. The right to life is inalienable, given us by our Creator. What was wrong in slavery and segregation is what is wrong in abortion. To deny an entire class of human beings their yearning to breathe fee is forever wrong, a great wrong.
So the fight to repeal ObamaCare is the fight for life. And the right to life can never be restored in this country as long as ObamaCare holds sway. On that principle, let us unite.