Seven years ago, I was given the opportunity to attend the Wisconsin Right to Life Education Fund Dinner. It was held at a cozy venue a few miles West of Milwaukee. By my best estimation, there were 500 people at the event. I can’t even recall who the keynote speaker was. At the time, I was a new-comer to the pro-life movement and just starting my discovery of the Catholic Faith. At the silent auction, I won a Baltimore Catechism that, after reading, inspired me to attend RCIA – yes, the same RCIA program Adam described in a previous article – and the rest is history.
I got married and moved to North Dakota to complete my undergraduate degree. We joined a very active and brazenly pro-life Parish. It was a very uplifting experience that helped counter the harsh, bitter winters of North Dakota!
This January, we moved back to Wisconsin after four years of being away from family and friends. Once again, we were given the opportunity to attend the 2014 Wisconsin Right to Life Education Fund Dinner held on May 1st. It is an understatement to say I was excited! The venue was in Milwaukee at the Wisconsin Center (known to me as the old “Midwest Express Center”), and the attendance totaled 1,500. In seven years, the dinner has tripled in size. Those in attendance included Governor Walker, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and many state representatives and senators among the pro-life movement supporters and donors.
Local talk-radio host Charlie Sykes emceed and Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch gave a short speech about their pro-life efforts, including Sonya’s Law, a law that requires an ultrasound be performed 24 hours before an abortion, of which whose namesake was also in attendance. Governor Walker also shared his favorite baby picture, a sonogram, as he described why he is pro-life. Shortly after that, Milwaukee Archbishop Listecki blessed the dinner and Barbara L. Lyons (Executive Director, WRTL) gave a unique and futuristic presentation about the “pro-life revolution” that couldn’t happen without the support of those in attendance.
Next came the keynote speaker, Dr. Benjamin Carson. Anyone reading this who is not familiar with Ben Carson, just do a quick Wikipedia search; I would do him a disservice describing his feats and accomplishments here. If you wonder why you might not have heard of him, it’s because he is a successful, pro-life, conservative, pediatric neurosurgeon who happens to come from a poverty stricken, single-parent, African-American family from Detroit.
The way Dr. Carson speaks is very special. Although he is very soft spoken, the audience savored every carefully chosen word. The best way to describe the content of his speech is as a non-political, politically-incorrect, common sense approach to being pro-life and defending the movement. He described numerous experiences as a pediatric neurosurgeon that reaffirmed his support of the pro-life movement. He talked of the “Word Wars” used by politicians and the media to separate, divide, and conquer the conflicting ideals of the people in the United States. He noted that the reason those wars are so successful is because people aren’t educated enough to truly digest the information presented to them. To combat this, he suggests that everyone read a hard subject (biology, chemistry, history, mathematics, medicine, engineering, etc.) thirty minutes each day for an entire year. Doing this, Dr. Carson explains, will teach you how to digest and question the information that our media laden world throws at us each day. Finally, at the end of his speech, Dr. Carson told the audience to expect the release of a common sense alternative to Obamacare in the next month or so!
If you are on twitter, follow Dr. Carson @RealBenCarson. His feed is one of my favorites. Also, on May 20th Dr. Carson’s newest book One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future will be released. It’s on my list.
The growth that Wisconsin Right to Life has experienced in the last seven years is truly phenomenal. It was very heartening to see a nice mix of ages at the dinner this year! I believe the movement has a long way to go, and I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to attend the Wisconsin Right to Life Education Fund Dinner to make every effort. Michelle Malkin will be the keynote speaker for 2015.