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Madison Anti-Abortion Advovate Gives Lesson For Us All

February 25, 2014

While watching the Madison City Council on Tuesday night–(hey, what else can a fellow do in the midst of yet another polar vortex?)–something quite extraordinary happened that made me proud to live in this city.

The city council was considering an ordinance to limit protestors at abortion clinics from creating issues that need not occur.  The ordinance would limit a protestor coming within 8 feet of a person, and also not allow for signs if on a public way or sidewalk within the 160-foot-protective zone.

As noted before on this blog I favor the ordinance.  But that is not why I post about this matter tonight.

During the public portion of the hearing before the council Chris Lee took to the podium.  Still wearing a winter jacket he made a very straight-forward argument for the position he took.  He opposed the proposed ordinance.  And yet that is not why I post about this tonight.

The reason I post about Chris Lee and applaud him is for what he said before he made the bulk of his statement.

Lee mentioned that the proposal had 14 sponsors and that in a 20-member council that meant roughly 2/3rds were in agreement when only a simple majority was needed.  The writing was on the wall, and yet he felt compelled to offer his views and participate in democracy.

That simple act of coming out on a mighty frigid Madison night to speak for his convictions at a government meeting speaks to the best part of this city.    More people, on a wide variety of issues, should attend council meetings and invest their time and reasoning on the agenda items.  There is no need for us to agree with any position on any issue in order to see the value in adding more dialogue to the democratic process.

By watching Lee in my warm comfy living room it dawned on me again how much we can learn from others, and be encouraged even when we come from opposite ends of the spectrum.  Democracy is at its best when we participate even when the odds are against us at winning.

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