Larry Donnelly, the NUIG law professor who is RTÉ’s expert on American issues, was on Today with Claire Byrne to talk about the abortion debate, which he said had “tortured” American society.
but he did not “torture” American society. And in truth there is no “debate” either.
Indeed, far from “torturing” America, every poll indicates that there is a large majority in favor of the situation that existed under Roe v Wade, and against overturning that precedent set by a U.S. Supreme Court dominated by Catholic extremists.
The number is around 65% in favor of Roe, a remarkably solid majority. It’s almost two to one — which, in a polarized society, oddly makes abortion one of the few issues on which Americans have broadly agreed for some time.
The “torture” comes from the tireless forces of the religious right, who have spent nearly 50 years obsessively pressing every button that would allow them to impose their god on America – to defy the wishes of the majority.
Finally, the famous degenerate Trump gave them the only majority they needed – on the crowded field.
So let’s look at this not as a ‘debate’, but as a power grab by an unrelenting elite – one that has emboldened an army of kindred spirits in America and in this country too, thousands of whom were celebrating last Saturday on the streets of Dublin . Raised on the improbability of it all.
No, this is not a “debate”. Larry Donnelly mentioned that he preferred this issue to be decided in the political realm rather than in the courts.
I would also have mentioned that one of the two major political parties in the United States is abandoning democracy in a significant sense – another salient factor there.
But it’s not about whether you are “for” or “against” abortion. Indeed, we should know very well in this country that it is not really about abortion anyway.
When we were “tortured” in our own way in the 1980s, one day it might be about abortion, and the next it would be about divorce, or contraception, or homosexuality, or anything that really repelled our old friend. “Catholic Teaching”.
Now, the United States Supreme Court seems emboldened to pursue some of these avenues as well, as long as it has the power.
And that’s what the “debate” is really about – the determination of ruthless people to impose what are essentially their religious beliefs on a pluralistic democracy. So there is nothing to debate here; they just need to be stopped.
There could be cause for debate – in the truest sense of the word – if the pro-choice stance somehow compelled anti-choice people to do something they don’t want to do. But this is not the case, they are in fact free to resort to abortion itself, which some of them no doubt do.
In contrast, their insistence on removing the right to abortion, and enshrining it in law, is a form of coercion that supposedly disappeared from the pages of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Anti-choice activists are entitled to have whatever opinions they want, and their opinions can be respected – up to a point. They go far beyond this point with their terrible urge to make us all live in some kind of theocracy.
If they want the western world to be more like Iran, maybe they should just go there and stay there. Otherwise, they must be told that theirs is just one belief system among many, even in Ireland where they dominated the culture.
The overthrow of Roe v Wade is such an enormity triumph for the far right, it probably hasn’t sunk yet. This should provoke an agonizing reassessment from those relaxed enough about the running of our National Maternity Hospital – there are undertones of the liberal complacency here that allowed the American right to rig their Supreme Court.
It now seems laughable for anyone to suggest that the abortion issue is behind us, given that the anti-choice movement will happily scramble for decades to get a result – and now they know for sure that they can achieve this.
Perhaps a comparison can be made with our republican movement, which still does not elect its own leader democratically, but which seems destined to become the government of Ireland very soon.
You wouldn’t have predicted this a few decades ago. Although, like the anti-choice movement, our nationalists have this tunnel vision – this fierce commitment to a cause that most people don’t really mind.
Things change, things fall apart. If, after Roe, anyone still thinks that the anti-choice movement has given up on our little national motherhood, they are seriously mistaken.
The Handmaid’s Tale, written in 1985, may be set in a dystopian future. But that is the “near” future.
Pretty much now, in fact.
Johnson has always been a delinquent
Some of the essence of the Tories’ deception was captured in a tweet from journalist Andrew Neil: “I have always resisted comparisons between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. Not this evening.”
Neil is a rich and famous broadcaster. Yet it wasn’t until ‘Boris’ refused to step down from his untenable post that Neil finally stopped ‘resisting’ what is an all-too-obvious comparison. What kind of hacking is this?
Indeed, a slew of responses to Neil leaned toward the acronym FRO, as young netizens might say: F*** Right Off.
Of the many similarities between Trump and Johnson—these two clever narcissists, pathological liars, shameless delinquents—perhaps the most significant was their compulsive violation of the unwritten rules of behavior that said, “You just don’t that.
They had their own rule: “Just try to stop me.
They even had a mutual friend in Ghislaine Maxwell.
But Andrew Neil “withstood the comparisons” – and he wasn’t the only one. The conservative tribe came out last week to make a similar case. That at one point Johnson might have been okay, but ultimately last week he wasn’t okay.
Our government too, in what will be seen as a disastrous day in Irish history, decided in October 2019 that Boris Johnson was a fit person with whom to strike a deal on Northern Ireland.
There was no excuse then either, for any grown man or woman to view Johnson as anything other than an incorrigible limiter. If we had made that elementary call, we might even have saved ourselves and everyone else from his dreadful Brexit.
Instead, Leo Varadkar and his advisers released ‘Boris’ to fight and win an election against Jeremy Corbyn – a candidate so ineligible he could have been beaten to No 10 by Boris Becker.
We also think of other rich and famous broadcasters like Piers Morgan, who eventually turned against Johnson and Trump – as if he had expected better from them. Sorry mate, this one was nailed from the start.
In politics and in the media, many people have done well for a long time, choosing to view Johnson as “a bit of a character” and nothing worse.
With their late conversions, they can indeed FRO.
Think of a word that rhymes with “intelligently”
The continuing media coverage on Downing Street was this odd mix of bright and barking mad.
Your Sky News reporters talk endlessly – and yet, in the middle of a massive spiel, they’ll cut themselves off and do this thing where they shout a stupid question at a passing politician.
“ARE YOU GOING TO RESIGN PRIME MINISTER IMMEDIATELY!!?” they will scream across the street, expecting no response and getting none.
Sky’s never less than excellent Sophy Ridge was chatting with reporter Sam Coates when Sam interrupted with a roar.
“IS IT A SAD DAY, JAMES TIP!!?”
There’s something almost poignant about that. “Is it a sad day, James Cleverly?” could be the first line of a poem. A poem that, fortunately, no one will write.