The activist classes, which inflicts itself on the body politick into the faces of our politicians… Sure become irritating. And then I stare at the coverage on Abortion in media. So it is I read a NY Times article, bilked as analysis, which effectively states the antiabortion movement came into being responding to Roe v Wade simply out of restlessness and need for cover after losing politically on Segregation. This makes for a fine and inflammatory op-ed piece if that is what it wanted to be, but instead it is labelled news coverage.

Randomly, after seeing somewhere an inconsequential circa early 1980s joke about the ERA, I take a quick Google search of “era” for no real reason… Well, a sputtering of revived news interest passed a few years’ back, and there is likely to be a few references from this past week. And. A news article pops up on the current advocacy of the Amendment, and its odd history of the laggard 38th state of Virginia coming in long past the expiration for ratification, which resulted in some ad hoc arguments “we got it in! It passed!” — and in the news item I am tossed the following:

2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the amendment. That was significant because 38 states must individually ratify amendments for them to be added to the US Constitution.

But, then, something happened.

The Archivist of the United States, who certifies the validity of amendments, agreed with a Department of Justice opinion during the Trump administration. It said the deadline to pass the Equal Rights Amendment was in 1982, making Virginia’s ratification almost 40 years too late.

Nevertheless, Virginia persisted.

Cute. It is a reference to a comment made by Senator Mitch Mcconnell when Senator Elizabeth Warren went beyond her time limit once, or was deemed out of order in jabbing colleagues — one or the other or both, I do not quite recall. It also struck me at the time as being something of a home court subjective umpire call — sure, she may have the point that McConnell woulda let a Republican fudge the rules, but so it goes. So, in description of the problem, came the words “Nonetheless, she persisted”. This became a political rallying cry, insta-merchandise. In a straight news account, it has no place… Especially considering that its implications are on the wrong side of a cut and dry issue — beyond the subjectively enforced call that lead to the phrase ” nonetheless, she persisted” : the allowed time expired before the 38th state of Virginia ratified. Not that that matters anyway, as for that to count we would have to ignore and not count the states that rescinded its ratification.

In the end, Roe was probably as politically contrived a decision as its detractors say it is. But it also has the benefit of meeting, then and now, right about where if one dips into public opinion polling, what public opinion was then and is now on Abortion: more interest in the state of the fetus at the end of pregnancy than at the start. This has had the effect over the past fifty years of giving a battering ram for restrictions stateside as the pro choice contingent tried in vain to close off the Overton Window to open it on to great deliberations on Equity, and then get greeted as they stared at the people they threw off the table of acceptable opinion acting into no win identity related leftist hand-wringing. Yeah, good luck with that.

I see a YouTube video. Some “pro-life” figure answers a question from the crowd on speaking to non religious people. She goes on about being on the “right side” of science, ask a biologist — any biologist — and they describe life beginning at conception. She makes a statement along the lines of “Just that simple”. And it is here, even as I scoff at glib sloganeering and editorializing at ” only basis for your opposition is religion and theology!” onto the claim of ” — and therein comes my desire to shout “Abortion is murder!” And “there is no God!” at Christian protesters in front of a clinic — but you run into the problem that… No, you don’t particularly care about the life of a being who has and had never had consciousness, and so suddenly I want you to go ahead and drag Aquinas -ish theological u heroin kings here even if it gets dragged over to metaphors for more scientific concepts… Ensoulment… “Quickening” … Like, find that point when the damned life means anything….

… Naturally the process gets contrived in a hurry, with forced very involved need to get the fetal heart beating and bodily twitching meaningfully as early as possible. And therein lies dishonesty in the matter.

Nany Pelosi. Comments. Something about the good old days of Republicans, and Republicans cared or concerned the!selves with climate change (the days of Representative Dingell, right?) and as an add on

I want the Republican party to take back the party, take it back to where you were when you cared about a woman’s right to choose, you cared about the environment.”

To the audience’s resounding claps, the House Speaker added: “Hey, here I am,¬†Nancy Pelosi, saying this country needs a strong Republican party, and we do, not a cult, but a strong Republican party.”

1972. Richard Nixon. The slogan against his opponent, George McGovern, was that he was the candidate of the three As — Acid, Abortion, Amnesty. 1974. Bob Dole. Facing a tough re-election bid under the shadows of Watergate. Finds an issue to bludgeon his opponent — Abortion. And maybe George Bush falls into a middle to get dragged to this equation (as against Jesse Jackson, Al Gore, Dennis Kucinich… Today, Henry Cuellar and ) — though his few years with it as public stance was an outlier in the family politics as father and son’s career line up against Nancy Pelosi’s vision of a halcyon past.

Beyond which, she is not using the right framing for the moment. Noting the big horror of President Clinton’s line on “safe, legal, rare” — a framing which allowed him to win — say — Ohio and neighboring states and whose dumping in 2012 pre figures the Dems losing, say, Ohio and neighboring states in 2016. (As well making the Republican arguing on Fox News against Geraldo Rivera and getting tarred by the Huffington post … Basically correct. It was the change he was alluding to in rhetorical stategies.) Here I am less interested in arguments of whether this changing is morally or intellectually correct than in attendant claims about parties moving right and populated moving right and blind spots that pop up as one gauges the political landscape in self a righteous fury. It does become a political game — find the right phrasing to talk right past and disregard opposition. Maybe if we just do that, it will go away– instead of my experience where I just shrug and smile thinking “All right. You’ve insulted me. Fine. Put away, and move on from there.”

Leave a Reply