Back in the days before Dobbs v. Jackson, before a SCOTUS straight out of “A Handmaid’s Tale” declared that the Constitution covered many unwritten, intrinsic freedoms, just not THAT one, your average MAGA politician had it made. They could truthfully say that their hands were tied, that Roe was the law of the land and there was nothing they could do about it.
Indeed, they preferred to say nothing at all because there was really nothing to say. Secretly, many of them, possibly even most of them, were glad about Roe.
Then came the stunning revelation of the leaked memo in May and the overt overturning of Roe v. Wade in late June. Suddenly, every Republican from the middle of the road to the radical MAGA extremists had no choice but to nail their colours to the mast, so to speak. Most of them came out with radical positions because the angriest, most vocal part of their constituency demanded that they do so.
Thus, in an orgy of counterfeit virtue signalling, Republicans became what they really didn’t want to become, “pro life” activists. It’s a position they had to take, because failure to do so would provoke their ostensibly angriest members, the evangelicals.
As a former evangelical in my late teens and twenties, I can attest that the pro life movement was one of the most intrinsically anemic of all. Very few evangelicals really gave a crap about it, but to fail to pay lip service to it isolated you as a monster. So you had to speak up and you had to do so with the appearance of genuine, white knuckled anger. Or else.
But in our deepest parts we weren’t all that exercised. Our true lack of commitment was in evidence because the topic seldom came up spontaneously.
Thus was conceived, so to speak, one of the most misbegotten movements in human history. If ever there was a human thought that should have been aborted at conception, the “pro-life” movement is it. It was largely the brainchild of oddball evangelist Francis Schaeffer, and it has become the one ostensibly “moral” position that Republicans have clung to — largely against their wills — ever since.
After all, can anybody really believe that blank-eyed sociopathic monsters like Ted Cruz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Kevin McCarthy, Greg Abbott or Ron DeSantis, just to name a few deplorables at random, really give a crap about a bunch of undifferentiated protoplasm? Of course they don’t. They just pretend to. They pretend to because somebody decided that the Christian God that they also don’t believe in thinks it’s an all-important topic, never mind that the God in question, thanks to spontaneous miscarriages, is the biggest abortionist in human history.
So we’re in all in this stupid, colossal mess few but the most glassy-eyed fanatics care about. We are once again squeezed by a minority of idiots, just as we are with the “second amendment people.” It would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic. To paraphrase Churchill, never was so much trouble owed by so many to so few.
It’s important you all understand this going into the 2022 election. The “pro-life” movement is much weaker than it appears, and the anger that the repeal of Roe has created is real and seething. This is our time to strike. This is our time to win.
There are eight million stories in the naked city of phony, MAGA virtual-signalling. This has been one of them. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.