By Jonathon Van Maren
A well-known cynic’s observation has it that everyone wants to save the world but, nobody wants to pick up the trash. Especially in our world of social media, this is true. Small acts of kindness, inches of progress, and ordinary miracles are generally not good fodder for followers or potential viral content. To attract attention, in other words, we must make extraordinarily bold claims.
But it is usually in the micro, not in the macro, that genuine hope and encouragement can be found in a world gone mad. I’m often asked how I can stay optimistic as someone who works in the Canadian pro-life movement. After all, the most pro-abortion prime minister in Canada’s history has won three successive elections, pro-life groups are consistently under attack, and there is no pro-life legislation in the docket with any hope of success.
The national political situation, in other words, looks grim. That is not to say there is no good news at all—I could certainly list some small victories. But in the macro, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada couldn’t be happier, while Trudeau has specifically targeted pro-life groups (including the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, where I work, by name). How can pro-lifers stay encouraged enough to keep going?
For those of us who work at CCBR, the answer is simple. Every day we put boots on the ground across the country and do pro-life outreach, hearts and minds are changed. That’s not an exaggeration. Every time. People who were pro-abortion become pro-life; people likely to have an abortion change their minds. I have pictures of babies who were scheduled to be killed on my phone. Street by street, doorstep by doorstep, mailbox by mailbox, we are bringing the truth about abortion to Canadians—and watching their views change as they view the victims.
It is true that success doesn’t always scale. People who become pro-life may remain unchanged in their political choices, for example. Trudeau may cling to power. Changing the culture is a herculean task. But when I get asked how I stay optimistic, the answer is simple. I don’t know how to change the minds of 38 million people—but I do know where to start: one at a time. And that, my friends, is happening every day.