Of my many privileges, missing the experience of the Repeal campaign is possibly my most noxious. I will often have a wistful reminisce about that heady time. Then, I’ll catch myself and administer a firm admonishment. Win or lose last year, exactly zero percent of my body was on the line. That bears repeating, zero percent of my body, my freedom, my rights, was at stake. I can miss it because the price of failure would not have been paid by me.
But I miss it. I miss the commitment. I miss the focus. I miss the gravity of what I was engaged in. And I miss the people. Oh, how I miss the people. I was fortunate enough to have been there when Kerry for Choice was formed. I got to attend the first meeting. And a great many subsequent meetings. I was there when it, temporarily, morphed into Kerry Together for Yes. I was there for the campaign. I was there for the count. I’ve been there watching Paula recover from the ordeal of that campaign. But I miss it.
I have never been so involved in something so momentous. Not even close. Never given so much and been rewarded so lavishly. It was important. So much at stake. The consequence of failure so cruel (but not for me). I miss it. I long for those months.
I asked Paula if she could imagine a future campaign that would demand so much of her, that she’d willingly pay the price? She couldn’t.
We tried imagining an issue that would have my body and my rights at stake. The best we could come up with is some dystopian regression where the death penalty is somehow back on the agenda. But the path to that nightmare would have seen the erosion of so many other rights that we’d both probably be in prison and thus unable to campaign.
The right the die may at some point gain enough traction that knocking on doors is required. I hope that happens. That I could get behind. It is a particular concern as I can’t help thinking myself more than halfway there at this point.
The environment concerns me. Of course it does. But there’s a part of me that’s so fascinated by our species’ under-reaction, I’m curious to see how we behave when we realise it’s too late to do anything.
The Repeal campaign presented one with a binary choice, repeal or don’t repeal. Yes or no. We knocked on as many doors and spoke to as many people as we could to explain this choice. To convince them of the necessity. It wasn’t complicated. Made easier by the religious conviction of the anti-choice side that the only way was, never.
Day after day, door after door, estate after estate. It was simple. It was all consuming. And whatever happened I’d be ok. I miss it. So much noxious privilege. The most important thing I’ve ever done and likely will ever do, but it was a free hit for me. So much noxious privilege that even combined with Paula’s intellect and imagination, we can’t envisage a realistic scenario where I’d have to knock on doors begging for control of my own body.
I’m not stupid enough to want to experience what women endured last year. Or stupid enough to want to endure what the LGBTQ+ community was put through three years before. But I do want something to care about to the extent I cared last year. One would think, in this increasingly stupid world where our species insists on self-immolation, l could find something to invest in. I can’t. I have a secret hope, it’s that I’m still recovering from last year’s effort. But I doubt it. You see my body wasn’t at stake.
I think I’ll eventually become involved in climate activism. Weirdly, a lot of the anti-choicers in Kerry don’t agree with the scientific fact of climate change. Which is good for me because I hate learning new names. But again, even if I somehow rekindle my energy of last year, I still won’t have skin in the game. I’m 45 and don’t have children. Noxious privilege to the very end.