If you've read any of my other posts, you know I’m a big believer in transparency from organizations and think that those in the position of influence should inform parents about the risks of circumcision.
Lately, I've seen some things in the intactivist movement that make me question the motives and goals of advocates. What makes the biggest impact? Who is it we really need to reach? What is the MOST effective way to reach people? Are there people with big voices that we need to have on our side and what’s the best way to get their attention?
Let’s take Dr Sears. He’s usually dubbed the father of AP and has published more than a few books on parenting. Many people look to him for advice, his voice is HEARD and his message is gentle in nature.
I had the great honor of meeting Dr Sears when I was in Hawaii, at the New Baby Expo. He personally took time away from his booth to visit DrMomma.org and Intact Hawaii’s booth on circumcision and intact information. While he was there he looked over our information, all smiles. He thanked us for being there and even signed the photo we had showcasing the information he has on his website regarding circumcision. He was helpful, he was approving, and he was appreciative of our message and presence.
It was a positively amazing moment that I cherish and nothing about it made me think that he was anything other than wholeheartedly on board with our purpose. He even made sure to give us his contact information to help DrMomma.org put literature in Ronald McDonald Houses.
Targeting him as if he’s doing a disservice to parents, or not doing enough to further this particular cause, pressuring him to revise, expand or otherwise take a bigger stance on this topic is insulting to this gentle child-advocate and all of the good that he does. His site and his publications have helped parents, on other subjects and even on this particular one. He’s not silent on circumcision. He just doesn't speak the way some people want him to and suddenly that makes him a target for their efforts and censure.
You don’t tear down those that support you. If someone has the same message, same concerns, same goal, don’t berate them for speaking in a manner that you think isn't “strong” enough. It takes all sorts of people and all sorts of methods to reach out and educate. Some people speak in a softer voice or are gentle by nature. Pressuring them to be aggressive or change the manner in which they advocate because that’s what works for YOU is divisive and alienates those who would stand beside you.
I’m all for rallying people, all for pointing at those who have failed in their duty to parents, all for educating, supporting, demonstrating, protesting. Pick your battles and choose your targets wisely. Don’t aim at those who stand beside you and blast them for not being “enough.” There are so many other people out there who you could be talking to that are NOT on your side. Dr Sears IS reaching people, he’s on OUR side. Let’s not start pointing at people who are on our side and claim they’re just not doing enough. Stop the “friendly fire.” Advocate with integrity.