Friday, January 29, 2010

Me & MLK, we got a thing goin' on, & we both know it's strong, but Planned Parenthood of Delaware just thinks it's wrong



I friended Planned Parenthood of Delaware on Facebook because I was trying to get in touch with one of its staff members to see if we could open a line of communication between myself and other pro-lifers who protest peaceably outside their clinic in Wilmington on a weekly basis.

I accomplished my mission, but meanwhile, I started reading their Facebook Status Updates. A few days ago, this was one such update:

Planned Parenthood of Delaware wrote: This month we honor great words from a great man, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now -- seeing as I am involved in the same kind of social activism that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was involved (challenging the injustices in our society's legal status quo), I responded with some lines from his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," pointing out the similarities between his activism and my own. Within hours, my response had been deleted.
So I followed with another comment in the PP Facebook discussion, as follows:
Rae wrote: Ack! Someone deleted my quotes from MLK Jr's Letter from Birmingham Jail. The irony is precious. Marx dreamed of power of the press in the hands of the people. So how do you use it? To silence the voice of one witnessing to social justice! Very uncool! If you stand for truth, then you should not fear its questioning. If you stand for something else (corporate shilling perhaps), then you show an ignobility that is beneath you.

To their credit, they did not unfriend me. But then the following response appeared:
Yesterday at 1:27am • Planned Parenthood of Delaware wrote: Rae, this is a
moderated board. We have the right to block users, and delete comments when
we feel it is appropriate. If this is not acceptable to you, you have the
right, and ability to create your own Facebook forum.

To which I reply, taking the discussion to my own forum as per PP's suggestion,
where I WILL NOT stifle any pro-choice folks who want to participate:

3 hours ago • Rae Stabosz wrote: I have been writing on electronic bulletins boards since 1979, and I certainly understand and appreciate the motivation of a moderated board. That being said, there is also a certain standard governing how one exercises the power of moderation in a public forum. In those forums in which I exercise such power (and there are several), I allow open disagreement with and discussion of topics I initiate, as long as the rules of civil discourse are followed. I don't allow ad hominem attacks, obscenities directed against persons, and if I sniff a troll I'll delete them from a mile away. Since I'm not a troll, and do engage in civil discourse, I always hope for the same when I comment on a moderated board.

And in a discussion of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his social activism, I think my remarks were particularly relevant. Just because you represent "The Man" on this particular issue - ie., you represent the status quo, while I represent the committed social justice activist battling an unjust status quo -- shouldn't blind you to what the Reverend King himself would do. If you want to honor a great man, but then fall back on your "right" to block the kind of public discourse he strove to promote, you are not really honoring his legacy.

Just something you should think about.


You know, there are folks there at PP I really personally enjoy interacting with, even as antagonists. But I cannot tell you how weary I am of pro-choice folks simply not wanting to engage in a discussion of the important topic of where a pregnant woman's rights end and her unborn offspring's rights begin.

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