I pity the one-trick pony. For all he knows, the trick he does is the finest in the world, and he does it with all his might. That’s why I write, on his behalf, in his defense. Even if he knew more than one trick, ponies don’t write LTEs.
In “To Be Pro-Life, Be Pro-Climate”, author Kyle Rosenthal writes: “I am not necessarily telling pro-life individuals to stop advocating against abortion, but why not first tackle a larger and more easily preventable life issue?”
First, I want to point out that the first part of the sentence contradicts the second.
Second, I want to make it clear that I am here neither to rebut each of Rosenthal’s points nor to debate whether climate change or abortion is a more urgent life issue. For fear of belittling either, I will not construct a hierarchy of life issues. Human lives, because they have infinite worth, are not subject to the same calculations as other things; no calculus can tell you which life issue is more pressing.
Third, I will share a reflection on gifts. Every person has a unique set of gifts. Perhaps every person is a gift. The fact is that no one, in the entire universe and wholeness of time, will ever be you. A unique genetic makeup, yes, but also a unique set of abilities, shaped by more than genetics: No one will love the way that you were created to love. No one can occupy the narrow window of space and time that you have been granted, and no one will ever do with a lifetime what you will do with yours. So, what will you do?
Whatever you choose, you are the only one who will do it in your particular way. There is a diversity in the gifts of the human family that lends itself wonderfully to the diversity of its struggles. Every person carries humankind’s sorrows, but no person carries them alone. The delusion that one must solve every problem leads to despair. Instead, we are given a share of sorrows, a set of gifts, and a calling in the giving of the gifts. What is it that sets your heart on fire? Follow it.
If everyone were to have the same set of passions, the world would suffer. If I were to take Rosenthal’s proposal and apply it to another cause, (the fight against racism, homophobia, sexism, you name it), one of the many important facets of human advocacy would be lost, and the brilliance of the whole reduced. To label any movement as a one-trick pony leads down a path in which all forms of advocacy go extinct, leaving…one species of one-trick pony.
We need one-trick ponies, a richly diverse population of them. This does not excuse anti-abortion activists from recycling. But to insist that we all squeeze into the “right” vocation is a mistake.
It often seems a dark world, but when it is lit by the gifts of 7.7 billion people, hope can be found. One-trick ponies, unite!
Boston College, MCAS ’21