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Like every social media user on the face of the earth, sometimes I see something posted by someone else that makes me roll my eyes so hard I give myself a headache.
On the morning of July Fourth, I hopped on my Facebook account and saw a post from a woman with whom I went to high school. “The rain and thunder seems appropriate today,” wrote the woman. “Happy Independence Day to all the straight, white men out there — enjoy your day!”
The sharing of ridiculous takes like this has been happening a lot in the two weeks since the Supreme Court decided to send the question of how to regulate abortion back to the states.
Last week, I wrote about how the abortion debate lacks nuance and how the timing of the invective couldn’t be worse with new policymaking inevitably set to happen now that states have a clearer picture of their legal purview. I stressed how both sides of the debate were guilty of using rhetoric that doesn’t always reflect a firm understanding of reality and devoted much of my column to highlighting that fine line between abortion restrictions and treatments that have nothing to do with elective abortion, including care for failed pregnancies and other conditions completely unrelated to procreation.
It’s my own side of the political aisle — those evil conservatives — that tends to favor more stringent abortion restrictions. In the interest of putting sound policy over party loyalty, sometimes I take my own side to task when sensibilities interfere with sense. The feedback I received from readers mostly echoed a thirst for pragmatism in the debate. “Under certain circumstances, I understand why an abortion [is] performed,” a pro-life reader told me. Said another: “I consider myself pro-choice but agree late-term abortions should not be allowed in most cases.”
The problem with common sense, though, is that it’s quiet. It doesn’t make waves. It doesn’t elicit an emotional response. Hysteria is what gets the most attention, and with the Dobbs decision, the hysteria machine is in overdrive. For example:
Oscar-winning actress Jessica Chastain posted a picture of herself in full makeup with a perfectly blown out hairstyle under expertly crafted lighting captioned, “Happy ‘Independence’ Day from me and my reproductive rights” while extending a double-fisted middle finger to the camera. I’m unclear as to which of her reproductive rights Chastain feels are in jeopardy. Not only does she live in a state with some of the most vaguely-worded restrictions on abortion, she also lives in a city that devotes taxpayer funding to pay for those obtained by women who possess far less than the many millions of dollars Chastain has at her disposal.
Activist filmmaker Michael Moore was in prime Michael Moore form when he took to his website with an official Independence Day declaration in which he stated that he would officially not shut up about politics ever, because supposedly that’s way different from how he is now.
In Tuscon, Arizona, the Democratic Party of the state’s second-most populated county, Pima County, was forced to apologize after it used its social media feeds to promote a protest organized by the Tuscon Women’s March. The invitation, which was designed by a protest organizer, read “F-ck the 4th” and angered some of the party’s own candidates, who apparently don’t think that offending voters is a very effective campaign solution.
Locally, protests have at times reflected similar vulgarity. A Gazette reader wrote our editorial inbox questioning the appropriateness of a Gazette photo showing two kids aged 12 and 13 at a pro-abortion rally in Iowa City. The 13-year-old was carrying a sign that read, “If abortion is murder then an oral sex is cannibalism.” While I submit that the role of our photographers is to capture the scene without passing judgment on it, I also find the 13-year-old’s message pretty indefensible.
The above is only a small sample of the absurdity. In the spirit of objectivity, I wish I could insist that both sides of the ideological spectrum are equally inflamed. I can’t. It’s not totally one-sided — our editorial inbox also received a letter from someone in a small rural county in the Appalachian Mountains that who probably intended to send it to a more local publication. “If Americans would just stop being adulterers and fornicators, we wouldn’t even have an abortion issue,” the letter read in part.
But notwithstanding that particular type of useless garbage, most of the delirium can be attributed to the pro-abortion leftists who have taken to the streets (and their social media accounts) to convey their anger. Some of them have big plans: those who wished to sign up for the national Women’s March protest scheduled for yesterday in Washington, D.C. were required to check off a box declaring that they are “interested in risking arrest” in order to sign up on their website. Sounds like a fun way to express rage.
And that’s exactly what it is — an expression of rage. Does rage result in the policy that they demand? Probably not. Does rage earn any support in state legislative chambers? Not enough, and not where it really counts, which is in the more than three fifths of those state legislatures around the country controlled by Republicans. Does rage result in new votes to defeat those majorities? Most whose anger over the Dobbs decision fuels their desire to vote were already reliable Democrat voters, and abortion is far from the most pressing issue for swing voters, according to a Monmouth poll conducted mostly in the wake of the Dobbs decision.
Policy isn’t even a part of the current conversation. Their message can be summed up in two words: Screw you. (That’s the sanitized version, at least.) It’s not a winning slogan. The most effective political change isn’t made by screaming in the streets or carrying obscenity-laced signs. I can’t help but wonder if any of these angry activists understand that. And if they don’t, I doubt the words of a smirking opinion writer will help them see the light.
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