Barrett and the zombie tots of the apocalypse

The Indiana jurist’s nomination is the devil’s bargain that Trump’s evangelicals have sold their souls for. But if the court overturns Roe, an indignant public may have the final say.

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Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of her confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifying, sort of, before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of her pre-ordained confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C.

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As the Republican majority in the Senate huzzahs Amy Coney Barrett onto the United States Supreme Court — which is their right — I hope you’ll forgive me for ignoring the hearing completely. This machine grinds onward whether I jam my hand into the gears or not. Why sweat the details? Better to keep my fingers.

This isn’t a sideshow, but the main event, the core of the devil’s bargain Christian extremist America struck with Donald Trump five years ago: rescue our imaginary babies and we’ll forgive you everything else, every flailing, foaming, lying, malicious, pandemic-botching, country-betraying minute.

Elections have consequences, the GOP sneers, two weeks before an election. Point taken. Thank you for the reminder.

Opinion bug


Though I wish I could go back in time to replay this week for all those indifferent, what-does-my-vote matter? sorts. It matters because of this.

Hidebound, my-way-or-the-highway religion tries to steamroll the country back to its idea of goodness, via gigantic concern for proto-babies the size of kidney beans and no concern at all for actual baby-sized babies, newborns yanked from the arms of their mothers at the border. Heck, their parents’ paperwork isn’t in order. What choice have we?

This is like the worst zombie movie ever: “Baby Crusaders of the Apocalypse,” as the Republicans conjure up an army of hacked apart fetuses, which assemble themselves and, eyes glowing, jerkily march on Jerusalem, to liberate the Holy Land from the clutches of Saracen feminists.

Madness. So why am I so inexplicably unruffled? Maybe just numb? No shame there. After four years of this ridiculous circus, with the tiny Trump administration clown car disgorging an endless stream of henchmen and haters, felons and fanatics, what’s one more? I just can’t focus on Amy Coney Barrett.

C’mon in Amy, grab a seltzer bottle and a flappy paddle and get at it. The more the merrier. You won’t be the worst justice on the court, not while Clarence Thomas is around.

Sometimes, as a parlor game, I try to imagine what the Right is thinking. They can’t hope that Roe gets overturned and women will simply shrug, sigh, slip on their white gloves and go back to taking Valium and flipping through the Simplicity Pattern Book. Maybe they do.

I imagine the opposite: indignation unleashed, furious Americans, accustomed to freedom, rattling the rafters of our already shuddering society and finally getting the laws in place that should have been there all along, rather than relying on the rickety jalopy of Roe to carry us where we’re going.

Other countries have gone through this. We could look to the Republic of Ireland for a hint at what might transpire here (if Americans, you know, were the sort of people to look at other countries). Abortion was banned in the constitution of that deeply Catholic nation. There were 25 legal abortions in Ireland in 2016, and Irish women of means were grateful they could finally slip over to England for their abortions, after a wildly divisive case in the early 1990s involving “Girl X,” a 14-year-old who became pregnant after being raped by a family friend. The Irish courts basically tried to put the girl in jail for nine months to force her to bear the child, one of the many gruesome realities that we are shuffling toward.

Most people don’t want that. In May 2018, Ireland had a referendum — after being given a push by the European Union, which tagged banning abortion the human rights violation it certainly is — and guess what? Some 70% of the Irish population wanted to make their own decisions regarding whether to carry a child, thank you very much.

Turns out, people like freedom. One reason we’ve gotten to this sad point in our history, is that most Americans are busily going about their own lives, not tunneling under the lives of others.

One of the boggling mysteries of the past four years is how lightly freedom is held by 41% of the American population, who would see free elections, a free press, science, truth, you name it, battered and beaten in the service of their theoretical tots.

I’m not as broken up as others about this court business because we are never going back.

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