They'd really rather you didn't
They're sort of on your side but not *that* on your side
It would be nice to turn away from Roe as a topic and if you can’t bear to read this I’ll understand. But there’s something (not the only thing) about what’s happening I think is under-examined.
As you may have seen, after some people stood on the sidewalk and yelled at Brett Kavanaugh’s house, rightwingers spread the (unsourced and certainly bullshit) story that Sam Alito and his family had been put in a secure location for their own protection. Prominent liberals like Paul Begala tsk tsked and tut tutted and Senate Democrats and Republicans rushed out a bill to protect these family members from the made-up threat.
The Washington Post dudgeoned up like six Peggy Noonans. “Demonstrations against even what many might regard as illegitimate rulings must respect the rights of others,” they milquetoasted. “And they must be lawful.” The Post didn’t even pretend to offer evidence that the protests had violated anyone’s rights or been unlawful.
It’s pretty wild to see how easily leaders from both sides of the aisle accepted this fraudulent crisis at face value when the engineers of the assault on our rights were the alleged targets. At the same time, when you talk about the very real danger the draft Dobbs decision poses to not only the right to abortion but also other unenumerated rights such as gay marriage and contraception — as can be clearly read in Alito’s opinion — not to mention the dead certainty that Republicans will use the decision to try and ban abortion outright nationwide, the toffs don’t seem nearly as exercised.
Part of the reason, I think, is because conservatives are loudly declaring that they won’t do any such thing, and the Very Serious Democrats cannot bring themselves to suggest they’re lying.
Yes, after the Trump years and the attack on the Capitol, no one should believe conservatives about anything, let alone that they would exercise restraint in their hour of victory. When unaccountably respected theocon David French — who has repeatedly condemned not only gay marriage as “incompatible with Christianity” and “dangerous for religious liberty and free speech,” but also the Griswold decision that asserts the right to contraception — has the balls to assure us that when Roe goes Obergefell is safe, you and I know we’re in Little Red Riding Hood territory; when National Review author Andrew C. McCarthy tells us Mitch McConnell didn’t really mean what he said about maybe making abortion a crime from sea to shining sea, and his colleague Kevin Williamson — who has expressed the desire for women who have abortions to be executed (later saying he merely wanted them imprisoned) — tells us not to trouble our little baby-killing heads over it, we see the same thing.
But the VSDs don’t seem to see it that way. Matt Yglesias, for example, is phlegmatic about the loss of Roe — no skin off his nose, right — and thinks maybe the Republicans will try to pass a national ban, but “Democrats should be able to beat abortion banners in elections in most states and force Republicans to abandon that goal.” Or maybe not — win some lose some! At The Atlantic Elizabeth Bruenig is less concerned with the right to abortion than with the fate of “parenthood” in Our Divided Nation, not because conservatives think of parenthood (as they do everything else) as power rather than responsibility, but because liberals aren’t having enough babies and especially they’re not talking about them enough, which seems to suggest to her that they’re not interested in them — she worries that “maybe a swing set peeking over the backyard fence will become as sure a sign of a household’s partisan allegiance as a Blue Lives Matter flag…”
While I sort of get why Senators feel the need to be collegial even when their colleagues are destroying democracy, it doesn’t necessarily follow that pundits have to do the same. Maybe it’s just an advanced example of the Comity Disease with which all these people are afflicted, causing them to elevate a general resemblance to old Theodore White and Allen Drury books as the highest value of national politics.
But I worry the real problem is that none of these worthies actually thinks of abortion and the bodily autonomy it reflects as a right. The Republicans, high or low, obviously don’t. As to the highly-placed mainstream liberal Democrats — well, some of them obviously do, mostly women, but a lot of them already seem to have given up and to wish everyone else would too. They appear to think of the right to abortion as not a right at all, in the sense of something with which we are endowed that cannot be taken away, but something more like an earmark or a new hydroelectric dam, something that can factor into negotiations even after it’s lost — maybe especially after it’s lost, because then their voters will have been stung and made resentful by that loss, and so, the wheeler-dealers may think, they can prod their voters with that loss in their fresh sore place the way Republicans prodded their voters with Roe all these years before they finally stuffed too many lunatics into the Supreme Court to keep the grift going.
After all, it’s all just politics, right?
It almost seems as if they don’t know how pissed we really are about this. Then again, maybe they do and that’s why the Senate passed that bill.