I once had a friend who called me “Lorax,” a play on my name and the fact that I stuck up for the little guy: In this case, copywriters. My friend and I worked epically long hours; we even won an award for the best catalog copy in America…only to be told by our department manager, “Anyone can write.” Yep. I spent thousands of dollars and years of skill-building to be little more than a monkey with a typewriter. Someone had to stand up for us.

And I guess that’s become my ministry: Speaking up for those who are not heard or cannot speak. For example, I live in a Dog Town; that is, a town that loves its pups and thinks very little of those of the feline persuasion. I like dogs, too. But I love and care for stray cats because there are so few of us who will. (And I mean truly care for, not hoard. Hoarders are collectors, not caretakers.) I’ve never met a dog-hater, but cat-haters are a dime a dozen. So I speak for the cats.

I also speak for those who tend to be left out, short-changed, under-represented — women. I ask the Church to listen to us and let us lead. I demand equable wages. I represent, in my small, computer-bound way, a majority that, alas, is still treated like a minority.

This puts me on the surprising end of certain controversies. For instance, I don’t like the fact that human beings seem to be more important before they’re born than after. Where are all the Right To Lifers when it comes to children of color who need homes? Where are they when it comes to preventing violence against women? What responsibility does the Catholic Church take for its stance on birth control? What do all those cardinals and bishops think when they see women dying in childbirth or children starving to death because of their exhortations?

I am the Lorax. I would like to live quietly inside my tree, but I can’t. Not when I look around me. There are too many who need me to speak.

* The Lorax, a Dr. Seuss character, was a wizened little creature who spoke against the exploitation and destruction of nature.

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