Dr. Seuss’ books are a lot of fun to read. My favorite is `Horton Hears a Who’. The cartoon of this classic is superb. What is particularly striking about this story is how it accurately portrays the prolife struggle to protect the unborn. Within the storyline we see a friendly elephant, named Horton, make a profound discovery. He picks a flower and is about to discard it when he hears a voice emanating from it. No, the flower is not talking, but there exists life upon it that is. A tiny person called a `Who' lives on the flower. The Who is too small to be seen by the unaided eye. In fact, there is an entire city of Whos inhabiting the flower. They are defenseless and if discarded would likely perish. Horton is amazed that such tiny beings inhabit the flower and shares his discovery and its implications with his friends. He wishes to protect the Whos. This is a profound finding: one that signifies a parting from the previous status quo of his society, to a new obligation to protect the previously unknown Whos. It makes the viewer wonder how many other flowers have Who cities: With Who fathers, Who mothers, and Who children inhabiting them. And how many Whos had been unknowingly eradicated by ignorance.
As could be expected, nobody believes in Horton. They need proof to substantiate his claims. The flower contains the proof, what lacks is a means to reveal it and a will to listen. Enter the kangaroo, the primary antagonist. The kangaroo endeavors to silence Horton and suppress his assertion. The kangaroo desires to destroy the flower, and to continue living as it has always lived; perhaps it wishes to make bouquets without the moral implications, that its actions might be responsible for the death of a Who. Furthermore, the kangaroo wants Horton exiled, imprisoned by isolation. A mob is organized and the bullies attempt to force their will on Horton and the Whos. Amidst the struggle the kangaroo’s kid hears a Who. He likewise calls attention to it, reinforcing Horton’s claim. Others listen and also hear it. When confronted with the truth, everyone agrees that life exists on the flower. And that life, even unseen, must be respected and protected.
If only reality would emulate art. There are many of us that likewise have heard a Who. Yet the bullies have succeeded in silencing our Hortons and marginalizing us. People are ignorant of the truth and feel empowered to make choices they don’t understand. And when we attempt to elucidate, the kangaroo bullies paint us as fanatics and silence us: undermining our credibility with lies. They misdirect away from the elephant in the middle of the living room. We are shoved from the public forum and laws are enacted against us. Many Hortons have been incarcerated for speaking the truth. Yet the Whos remain and can be seen in many ways, and the evidence speaks if you are willing to listen: whether it be via an ultrasound image, a gentle kick inside a mother’s tummy, or the genetics class you studied in school. Before a baby is born, it is a Who, not an it. We need more Hortons in this world. We need people who will not ignore the plight of unseen life, people who realize that a Who’s size does not determine their value. Whos are not inconsequential, and just because we have the power to abort them, does not give us the right. Please listen. Horton hears a Who, do you?