By Dave Andrusko
Once each year I ask readers to send me ideas what they would say if they only had a couple of minutes to make the case for life. In a second I will ask again but first a few words about what inspired this request.
Simply put it was an article I once read at “Inside Higher Education” headlined “Snapshot Dissertation.” I had an intuition what the subject matter might be about and sure enough, so it was. Here’s why it speaks to us and why we should answer.
Duke University had what reporter Colleen Flaherty describes as an initiative to “forge connections between academics and other community members.” It’s called Scholars and Publics and the hope (as I understand it) is to find a common language by which the scholarly community and the rest of us can “talk.” While it started in the sciences, the intent was to spread across all disciplines.
One component is for graduate students to be able to encapsulate their dissertations in a 30-60-second video. I don’t think this is a variation of the idea that if you can’t explain something orally, you don’t really understand it, although it could be.
The objective, we read, is to “teach [students] to imagine explaining what they’re learning to their parents or grandparents,” according to Huntington Willard, director of Duke University’s Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, in an e-mail interview with Flaherty.
The application to us is obvious, is it not? We can explain the case for life at an academic level that only professors of philosophers could grasp. Or we can make our argument in language that is pure emotion which may or may resonate with people. Or we can use pro-life “jargon” whose meaning is self-evident (to us) but leaves those outside the “community” scratching their heads.
Or we could mesh head and heart, intuition and insight—what I’m asking for from you.
Obviously I am not asking for videos. What I am asking is for our readers to write down the equivalent of what could be said out loud in one or two minutes (three if you have an additional point that must be made).
What would you say to someone who is not hostile or belligerent (that’s a whole other topic) but simply has never engaged the abortion issue directly?
Many of you may have already done so—had conversations with the “mushy middle—but perhaps you may not have. But what would you say? Or, if you have, what did you say?
What do you think you could offer in such a limited time span that might get the person thinking about the core issues?
I could offer categories, but that would defeat the whole purpose. I’d like to read what you would say—or have said—that could gently pry open a mind that is stuck.
Send your thoughts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.