Part II: Honor and self-constraint can stave off tyranny.
The Audacity Of Amy
They hate her ‘cause they ain’t her.
All Hail Justice Barrett!
Here she is: Mrs. America. Amy Coney Barrett rode into D.C. a few weeks ago like a Valkyrie galloping forth to vanquish foes in her Honda Odyssey minivan. Impervious to the slings and arrows of sputtering Democrats, immune to the dastardly virus someone snuck into her Rose Garden event, she smiled, presented her lovely parade of children, and introduced herself to the country.
Paparazzi video of Amy Coney Barrett caught her leaving her home in South Bend, Indiana the morning of the official announcement. I watched in awe as she shepherded her brood into her minivan, all dressed up, hair combed, dressed to kill. I won’t tell you what I look like when rushing to make a flight, or to get anywhere on time with my somewhat smaller number of kids, but let’s just say it’s barely a notch above bathrobe, cold cream, and curlers.
In her opening remarks on Day 1 of the hearing she reminded us that “I would be the first mother of school-age children to serve on the Court.” Not only would she be the first minivan-driving mom to serve, she would be the only woman on the current Court with ANY children at all. Sotomayor and Kagan, perhaps unsurprisingly, have a total of zero children between them. This matters! As I wrote in an earlier piece, having “kin in the game” when it comes to making big decisions is absolutely crucial.
Amy’s angriest feminist interlocutors this week, Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, have a grand total of one offspring combined. But as Amy points out in her remarks, making judicial decisions through the lens of a parent whose own child may be affected by the ruling is the best way to make sure justice is served, for both sides. “I ask myself how would I view the decision if one of my children was the party I was ruling against: Even though I would not like the result, would I understand that the decision was fairly reasoned and grounded in the law? That is the standard I set for myself in every case, and it is the standard I will follow as long as I am a judge on any court.”
Take that, Mamala Harris!
A Supreme Triggering
Seven kids, devout Catholic, trim figure, good bones, attractive husband: that alone is enough to send waves of nausea through the hysterical witch hunters in Washington. The reaction to ACB has been predictable and tiresome. Suddenly, working women like Amy really should not be having children, there’s no way she can have it all, because children require a loving present mother at all times! Amy Coney Barrett obviously neglects her children and has too many of them. She and her husband are probably locking them in closets and feeding them water out of rusty pails.
It’s pretty neat how Amy is already turning RGB-loving feminists into Phyllis Schlafly-style reactionaries. Some lady journalist named Vanessa Grigoriadis (mother of one) tweeted this on September 26th:
“I guess one of the things I don’t understand about Amy Comey [sic] Barrett is how a potential Supreme Court justice can also be a loving, present mom to seven kids? Is this like the Kardashians stuffing nannies in the closet and pretending they’ve drawn their own baths for their kids.”
Get that? Not only are you not allowed to “have it all” anymore, you are not allowed to have more children then Ms. Grigoriadis decides is allowed! Hey Vanessa, what happened to the “quality affordable daycare” you guys are always saying is so great? Can a woman be a loving, present mother even to one measly kid if she’s forced to stick it in daycare from seven in the morning to eight at night from the tender age of six weeks? What about those poor kids? Are they suffering from their mothers not being present? Are they experiencing any adverse long-term effects by being tended by low-wage workers too busy staging toddler fight clubs between TikTok breaks to pay attention to them?
Amy said that she and her husband split the work, and a team of “fearless babysitters” and family helps. Seems much healthier than the daycare option to me, even if there were 27 kids in the family and not just seven.
Handmaids From Hell
I admit, I had my doubts, but we finally made it to October. This year that means three things: shops start putting up Christmas decorations, parents start breaking it to kids that trick-or-treating is canceled, and the “it’s wine o’clock somewhere” Cat Ladies of America get their scarlet Handmaid’s Tale cosplay gowns out of storage.
These dresses made their first appearance at the Kavanaugh witch trials. They are copies of costumes from an unwatchable show about a feminist dystopia where young women are sex slaves and baby machines for infertile Stepford wives and their domineering husbands. These unhappy womxn will don their red dresses at Mrs. Barrett’s confirmation hearings to chant, march, and demand “a woman’s right to choose.”
Whenever I see these sad sacks in their red oversized muumuus, crying, beating their fists against the Supreme Court’s doors, I always wonder why they’re so darn adamant that girls have unlimited access to abortion. If abortion access is the key to human happiness, then why are all the Handmaids so depressed? Just look what all those abortions have done to them!
To paraphrase a line from an old movie: I’d rather not have what they’re having.
Barrett is famously associated with a religious organization called People of Praise that referred to women as “handmaids” in some context, which makes the crazy Handmaids even crazier, and proves how profoundly illiterate they are. I won’t insult you by explaining what the phrase “handmaid of the Lord” refers to in the Bible and to devout Catholics, but trust me when I say, Margaret Atwood had nothing to do with it.
Amy Coney Barrett is one of the most empowered women in America, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t need a menopausal gender studies professor in a polyester clown gown to lecture her on her oppression.
ACB Reigns Supreme
I’m not that much younger than ACB, and I have a large-ish family, but I can’t help feeling deep shame when I read her resume. I knew a few girls like Amy Coney in high school and at college, but not that many, and not well. This was because they were in the library studying for some future high-flying profession while I was “studying” to be a dilettante writer, maybe even the next Dorothy Parker, I would think, while standing in line at the keg. See? I paid my dues, too!
The Amy Coneys of the world inspire great awe and not a little terror in me because they were able to focus on a few clear goals right away. Early in life, probably in preschool, they figured what they wanted to do, worked super hard, and…actually achieved all their goals.
Imagine—achieving a goal. The mind reels. She is an Achiever! Like me, she was an English major, but as she said in her opening remarks, “Although I considered graduate studies in English, I decided my passion for words was better suited to deciphering statutes than novels.”
Despite my massive (not) Twitter following, you might be surprised to know I am an underachiever. Yes, I somehow scrounged my way to graduation at a (formerly) impressive college, but I mostly wasted the next few years “writing” while I “worked” at various harebrained and mostly fake jobs. Just think what I could have achieved if I’d had an ounce of Amy’s executive function. Heck, maybe I’d even be on the Supreme Court.
But even me, with my lazy work habits and inferior time management skills and inability to become a morning person no matter how many times I got up at 5 a.m. to greet a wide-awake baby, managed to produce a lot of kids in a short time. I nursed them and tenderly cared for them, at least until they were old enough to be yelled at. I even put on shoes sometimes and yes, worked. The Amy question before us therefore is not ‘how did she have all those kids when she had a career?’ The question is, ‘why do so many people think big families are completely out of reach, especially for working parents?’
The secret is: they’re not! Those kids are there for the taking, with a little luck, some good babysitters, and a bit of natural, zesty biological exuberance. Even lazy people can do it! Amy reminds me of some fortunate Catholic women I know who seem to gain more poise and some extra confidence in their stride with each new baby they add to the Christmas card tableau.
I’ll go even further. The madness and mess of one baby or two babies becomes much more ordered when you expand into the threes, fours, and beyond. Simply because it must! You have no choice. Two toddlers are agents of chaos. A toddler, two elementary school kids, and a teenager or two is way easier. You have helpers, and you start feeling less like a charwoman hunched over piles of steaming laundry and spilled cheerios, and more like a calm general calling in airstrikes. You can even do it in heels!
There is, in my observation, a singular purpose and pride a mother to a large family has, and it increases with each baby until her gleaming maternal armor shimmers in the sun, leaving the rest of us cowards to tremble and quake before such a rare and disarming openness to life.
I suspect Amy was the type of girl who did all her extra credit work in Kindergarten and asked the teacher for more, and then volunteered to sharpen pencils during recess.
Now imagine those precocious time-management skills being honed in the blistering forge of seven different extracurricular schedules to coordinate. Your logistical skills sharpen. The house runs like clockwork, because it has to. Maybe you find yourself with some free time on your hands—so you adopt another child, or hell with it, move to D.C. and grab the gnarliest judge gig on Earth. Why not?
And she’ll still find time to organize seven Halloween costumes.
My point is this: having lots of children is one reason why Amy is so good at everything else she does.
Didn’t work for me, but hey—nobody’s perfect.
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.