I think the big mistake that a lot of commentators made during this campaign, including myself, was thinking that logic, ideas or even beliefs mattered. What dominated were feelings. Really strong feelings.
Now there is a particular brand of reactionary conservative idiot that things that the world is going to hell in a handcart because modern youth is obsessed with their own feelings, but my belief is that the human experience has ALWAYS been about feelings.
I wasn’t around for the previous referendum on this subject, but from what I can gather the predominant feelings were fear and guilt.
This time round the feelings were much more positive. Solidarity, hope, independence, taking back control. All the smiley female faces of the Yes campaign weren’t some media management tactic. Women were talking, men were listening. Not just pretty young women in the flush of youth, but older women -mothers and grandmothers, making a cathartic grab for something they’ve been denied. Deeply buried shame and regret was being transformed into a positive hope for the future.
I was wrong to think there would be no jubilation. There was. They’re not jubilant about abortions, they’re jubilant about gaining freedom.
What we the feelings on the No side? I don’t know. They tried to look positive, but that wasn’t credible. Every feeling that mattered is right there in the word No.
The No’s who are still arguing the toss about arbitrary limits and slaughter of the innocents ought to recognise that their message just didn’t connect this time round. Those feelings of guilt and shame are from last century Ireland. That Ireland is dead.
Positivity has won out. I empathize sincerely with those who think that abortion is murder, and that this positivity is disgusting. But again, nobody wants an abortion, they just want the choice when they feel they have no other. The negativity that you feel won’t help your cause, because this Yes is a rejection of negativity.