Bill Clinton, the beau ideal of Democratic women, once promised to make abortion “safe, legal and rare,” which sounded pretty good to the ladies of the left. Except, of course, for the little ladies waiting their turn to slide down a birth canal.
But that was a long time ago, not only in a different century but in a different cosmos. Bubba has moved on with the rest of us, and flinches when someone imagines that he still thinks abortion should be rare. For the feminist red-hots, abortion has become a rite of passage. The only thing wrong with abortion is that you have to get a man involved to need an abortion in the first place.
Denise McAllister, a frequent Fox News guest, public speaker and contributor to PJ Media (so named for those who commentate in their pajamas), offered the observation the other day that feminists and other abortion advocates regard abortion as an easy solution to irresponsible sexual adventuring. She has been threatened with death by strangulation or rape and forcible abortion, presumably to show her the good times she has been missing.
“At the root of #abortion hysteria,” she had tweeted, “is women’s unhinged desire for irresponsible sex. Sex is their god. Abortion is their sacrament. It’s abhorrent as women have flung themselves from the heights of being the world’s civilizing force to the muck and mire of dehumanizing depravity.” Some of her literary critics have accused her of harboring 19th-century values and mores, but Grandma Grundy never wrote with muscle like that.
Mrs. McAllister says her tormentors threatened her on social media and there “are threats outside of Twitter, stating they know where I live. Threats of rape and strangling. I spoke to police, and I am on home watch. My children are very frightened.”
Well they might be. Threats of physical violence may be as American as apple pie, but in earlier times they could usually be dismissed as the bloviation of blowhards content to blow hard without leaving the comfort of the sofa and close access to a cooling sixpack. But these are not earlier times, and Trump Derangement Syndrome, which was at first mere threats of imaginative mutilation and mayhem, may be turning to consideration of the real thing.
Kathy Griffin, said to be a comedienne, raised threats early in the Trump era when she appeared holding aloft a realistic bloodied plaster of paris head of the president, like Salome with the actual head of John the Baptist. She — Kathy Griffin, not Salome — frightened the president’s young son, who thought it was real. Her act invited the curiosity of the Secret Service, which, like Queen Victoria, is not easily amused.
What was real, Mzz Griffin complained later, was a blacklist of comedy clubs that decided her wit and humor was not sharp enough to make it worth their while to book her act, even without the bloody head. She lost her annual New Year’s Eve gig on Times Square. “I’m not booked on any talk shows, either,” she complained.
Celebrities, not always the brightest bulbs on the gay white way, have not learned much. Carol Cook the singer emerged from a Broadway theater the other night to ask an inquiring paparazzi, “Where is John Wilkes Booth now that you need him?” The Secret Service made another routine inquiry. Miss King, 91, is not likely to leap from a theater balcony after dispatching a president, but the Secret Service must be alert to the possibility that you never know.
Trump Derangement Syndrome has encouraged others to threaten to take matters in hand to save the republic, beginning with saving America from Brett Kavanaugh by any means necessary. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a refined lady who knows better but who is trying to redeem her bona fides with a prickly California constituency, says she has new evidence of Kavanaugh perfidy and threatens to blow up the confirmation proceedings. She didn’t say what it was but reliable sources say she has evidence that Judge Kavanaugh pressed his case a little too enthusiastically with a certain person of the female persuasion — when they were in high school.
This might be just the bombshell to put the accusations against Harvey Weinstein and Les Moonves in the shade. But the senator better have powerful goods to persuade the public to believe that a high-school boy, trying to restrain the ardor and hormones that high-school boys are famous for, could be randy enough to chase girls.
But strange things go on in the human imagination and these are very strange times. Forty-five years after Roe v. Wade feminist red-hots have made a medical procedure their highest rite of yearning. Judge Kavanaugh beware.
• Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.