OHIO VOTES FOR LIFE RALLY
OHIO RIGHT TO LIFE
Bicentennial Park, Columbus, Ohio
September 24, 2004
INTRODUCTION: JOHN WILLKE
We had another star from Cincinnati who was going to be here—Joe Deters, our Treasurer of the State of Ohio—but Joe was held up by some very important personal business and he offers his regrets for not being here. So, the next person you’re going to meet is Derrick Seaver. Now Derrick is a rather unusual young man, and I emphasize young among all these old gooks (?) up here. Derrick was the youngest member ever elected to the Ohio House. He was 18 years old. He ran again as a senior citizen at the age 20 and won a second term. I think he’s gonna to run again. Yeah, in fact, I hear he’s gonna get married. He’s a pro-life Democrat. And as you all know, there are some very real solid pro-life Democrats--just not at the very top--and none of them with the name of Kerry, but…. He’s from a…. I was born in Mercer County, so I have a… he’s from Shelby, Champagne, and Auglaize. . So in any case, another thing that he did last year was introduce a resolution to the US Congress to support a human life amendment. And so, I give you Derrick Seaver. (applause)
Thank you very much. And I can tell you right now that I definitely have the hardest job of anybody in here having to follow the two speakers that came before me. Mr. Petro and Mr. Blackwell are both tremendous pro-life leaders of the state, and I think they deserve another round of applause. (applause)This is going to be difficult having to follow what just came before me, but I just appreciate the opportunity to be here today and to share the day with you all while here today.
Again, I represent three counties in Northwestern Ohio. I represent most of Auglaize County, all of Shelby, and all of Champagne County, and I see a few local faces that are down here today, and I appreciate you making the trip down and coming down to be part of this. And as was mentioned, I am a little bit unique in this panel of speakers today. I am a little bit younger than the other speakers that you’re gonna be seeing up now at the extreme age of 22. By now I’m running for re-election again, and in light of that, I do want to thank the members of the organization of the future who are out here today there’s many many members out here today working. They put on an excellent skit, and they’re doing a great job presenting young values in Ohio and the young pro-life movement throughout the state. applause) And I am also, I believe, the only Democrat that you'’re going to hear from today. And because of that I have a (applause) … I didn’t expect to get that, I’ll tell you that (applause) But I am the only Democrat, and because of that I'm going to bring you what may be a unique perspective. But despite those differences there are two things that I am absolutely going to share and stand with the other speakers on. And the first thing that I stand with the other speakers on 100% is that I am 100% pro-life and I want to defend the sanctity of human life. (applause woo-woo, whistles)
There are many many reasons for that. Obviously the values I was raised with, my religious background, but they couldn’t be stated any better, and I’m not gonna attempt to say them any better than what Secretary of State Ken Blackwell just stated when he talked about basically the non-negotiable facts of American life. And that is, we as Americans have to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You have to protect life to make that happen, And just think for a second what has happened since the Roe v Wade decision, and also what the media puts their spotlight on. We have been through some terrible events in recent years. Clearly the events in Iraq, which have now claimed the lives of over 1000 US soldiers and has injured many more. The events of September 11, which killed more than 3000 American citizens. These were terrible events which deserve media coverage; which deserve our attention.. . But since Roe v Wade 33 million unborn Americans have been killed and the media doesn’t talk about that. They don’t bring these issues up. They have to be raised from people like us, and that is why I stand as a pro-life member of the Ohio legislature to try to raise those issues and to bring back the culture of life that existed before Roe v Wade. (applause)
The other area that I’m in complete agreement with the other speakers coming up here today is…. I am… I am a Democrat, but I am 100% committed to the reelection of President George W. Bush this November (big applause). I want to talk a little bit about why that is, and talk about some of the things that I’ve see in my House District.
I have the pleasure of representing a district in the Statehouse that’s about 60% Republican when it comes to voter registration. The Democrats in that district are generally more conservative Democrats than what you find in our party’s leadership. And, when I went door-to-door, and I can’t begin to tell you how many thousands of voters in our district, how many different Democratic events I’ve been to, and how many different events I’ve been to in general. And the one thing I got tired of hearing more than anything else, was the phrase, “I used to be a Democrat, but…” And you could fill in the blank. But I can tell you that the #1 issue that was given by the constituents of the 78th House District was “I used to be a Democrat but then when Roe v Wade happened... And then the party leadership changed, and they are not a party supporting the right of innocent life anymore, and I can’t stand with that party.” And Democrats need to be strong enough to stand up and send a message. And I’ll tell you what. That’s the positive (applause). That’s the positive (applause) that I hear this from Democrats because these same Democrats do support candidates and have supported candidates like myself and other local Democrats who are support pro-life.
But then John Kerry stands up to run. And what’s disappointing to me in the negative right now is that a lot of these same Democrats that claim to be more conservative, that claim to want to change the party are not standing up… and I drive down the streets and I see Kerry/Edwards signs in their yards, and I see them standing up for John Kerry. And it’s time for the Democratic Party to send this clear message: if you want to be pro-life and you say you’re a pro-life personally, you’d better be ready to stand up and defend the right to life in public and in your public life. (applause) If you want to say… if you want to say that you’re a party that wants to give voice to the voiceless at the ballot box, you’d better be getting ready to give voice to the voiceless when it comes time for the cause of life. And if you want a party that says you're gonna defend the weakest among us and defend the indefensible, then you’d better be ready to stand up and say I am gonna defend the unborn children of this country. Our party can’t claim that unless we change our direction on the cause of life in this country. And the message that we can send is this November at the ballot box, I call on Democrats to join with me, vote for President Bush, and send a message that we are not gonna support any candidate you send down the pike. It’s time to change the message of the Democratic Party. (applause)
And I think that Democrats of the past, and some of the Democrats of the present would agree with me. You heard it from Sen. Miller at the Republican convention when he stood up. What I heard the media called that hate and anger. All I heard out of Senator Zell Miller was pride and passion. He has the pride in his party and the passion to want to take it back. And that’s what you’re gonna hear from other Democrats. And Democrats of the past would agree with him.
What would President John F. Kennedy say today if he had to see what his brother Ted does in the US Congress every day? Remember what he said about the issue of abortion even previous to Roe v Wade. President John F. Kennedy said that if the rights of one innocent human life were harmed the rights of all mankind are harmed. Now that’s the kind of Democrat we need back today and the kind of message we need to send. (applause)
And I’m gonna (applause) I’m gonna close my comments…. I’m gonna close my comments today with one of my favorite stories from history that also involves President Kennedy. It involves President Kennedy when he was still senator from Massachusetts and hewas campaigning for president in the state of West Virginia. And he was walking through a schoolhouse in West Virginia, and a child came up to him and he said, President Kennedy,” I’m supposed to thank you for my mom and dad.” And President Kennedy said, “Well I appreciate that, but what are you thanking me for” And he held up a sack lunch, and he said” I’m supposed to thank you because you voted in Congress to allow me to get this lunch. My mom and dad couldn’t afford it. And I want to thank you for making that vote and taking that stand.” And President Kennedy looked at him and he said, “Well, I appreciate that, and tell your parents that I appreciate that. But why are you still holding half your lunch? ”Well I have siblings at home and I have to eat half my lunch and I have to bring the other half home so that they can eat it when I get home because we don't have the money to afford that either.” And President Kennedy stood up after talking to the child and, he turned around and he said, “You know, this is a great great country, but it can always be better."
And I really feel that that’s the idealism of the pro-life movement in this country. We enjoy a lot of great things in America. It’s a great country with a lot of great opportunity, but it can always be better. And it will be better when the cause of life wins and we return the country to the days before Roe v Wade and we prevail in this struggle. And that’s the idealism that we bring forward, and I’m proud to stand with you and try to advance that cause.
Thank you very much!
Well, Derrick, I think you could teach public speaking along with other things. You can see why his wife said yes when he proposed.